Frank Sinatra’s audiences were paid to clap – not that they needed it

Frank Sinatra has established himself as one of the most prominent artists of the 20th century. He produced countless hits, won an Oscar and led a group of influential artists. The musician’s success was impressive, but it was not always guaranteed. At the start of his career, Sinatra’s publicist wanted to ensure his fame. He auditioned and paid fans to keep the crowd excited.

Frank Sinatra | Donaldson Collection / Getty Images

Frank Sinatra rose to prominence in the 1940s

Born in 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey, Sinatra decided he wanted to become a singer because of his childhood idol, Bing Crosby. His mother encouraged him to seek other career paths, but Sinatra was determined. Eventually his mother helped him integrate into a local singing group and they began to travel the country under the name Hoboken Four.

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Soon Sinatra sought a solo career and began playing with Tommy Dorsey’s big band. According to Rolling Stone, Sinatra modeled her microphone and breathing techniques on Dorsey’s trombone playing with impressive effect.

“It gave the melody a smooth, uninterrupted quality,” he said later, “and that’s what made me sound different.”

His publicist tried to build excitement around the up-and-coming singer

In the 1940s, Sinatra rose to prominence as a soloist. His unique voice and rich baritone made him the idol of teenagers. His publicist, George Evans, however, did not want to risk poor performance. To ensure the concerts were successful, Evans auditioned teenage girls to test how loud they could scream. According to PBS News Hour, he paid them $ 5 to attend concerts and scream loud enough to get the rest of the crowd excited.

Ultimately, however, there was probably no need to fabricate a crowd reaction in this way. Sinatra’s star was rising, something that became incredibly evident at the Paramount Theater in New York in 1942. The 5,000 spectators were blown away by her performance.

His publicist recalled hiring “girls to scream when he rolled a note in a sexy way.” But we don’t need to have it, ”he said, according to The Guardian. “The dozen girls we hired to scream and pass out did exactly what we told them. But hundreds more we didn’t hire shouted even louder. It was wild, crazy, completely out of control.

The cheers reached such a decibel that some people attending the concert feared the theater might collapse. Suddenly, Sinatramania was in full swing, and that didn’t require hiring fans.

Frank Sinatra has made a comeback after career slump

Despite being mega-star in the early 1940s, Sinatra’s career declined sharply by the end of the decade. Musical styles had evolved and Sinatra did not want to adapt. He has also been the subject of public criticism for alleged mob connections and extramarital affairs. The plunge didn’t last long, however.

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In 1953, Sinatra won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor From here to eternity. He also revitalized his singing career with the album Young at heart. Musical trends strayed from his style, but he maintained a successful career for the rest of his life.

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