Archive for the 'Music' Category


The Rat Pack – Naming Names

The Rat Pack

The names by which we know the members of the Rat Pack are all familiar, but for the most part those are not the names the guys began with in life.  For example, Dean Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti and briefly used the name Dino Martini when he started out.

Joey Bishop was born Joseph Abraham Gottlieb, and Peter Lawford came into the world as Peter Sydney Ernest Aylen.

Sammy and Frank however, used their real names, although early on, a bandleader suggested a name for Frank that might have changed the course of the chairman’s career.   It was a name that Frank said would have kept him singing in lounges and small venues for the rest of his life as you’ll probably agree when you hear it.

One of Frank’s favorite composers and a close friend, Jimmy Van Heusen started out life as Chester Babcock and was probably well-advised to change that one.

Possibly Frank’s closest friend, restaurant owner Jilly Rizzo was born with the first name Ermenigildo that definitely warranted shortening.

It’s believed that Frank’s dad, Marty Sinatra tried boxing and briefly took the name Marty O’Brien because for some reason boxers with Irish names were the thing at that time.

By the way, Frank Sinatra Jr. is not technically a “junior” because his middle name Wayne is different from his father’s middle name which is Albert.

The Rat Pack itself would have been remembered by a different name if Frank had his way.  According to The Rat Pack Authority, Frank didn’t like the Rat Pack title, and preferred to call the group The Summit, after the high profile U.S./Soviet summit conferences of the time.

And oh yes. . .The name suggested for a young Frank Sinatra was “Frankie Satin”.  Hearing that, it’s a good thing Frank said no thanks.

For more stories on Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, visit this Frank Sinatra tribute resource.


The Rat Pack & Their Early Jobs

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. are known primarily for their singing, dancing and acting abilities.  But each worked at other jobs in their early lives, with the exception of Sammy, who was an entertainer through his entire life, from the time he was a little boy. 

Frank, born in Hoboken New Jersey as Francis Albert Sinatra, once delivered copies of the Jersey Observer newspaper, worked as a riveter at a local shipyard, and even waited tables at a New Jersey restaurant, also singing there, in the job that led to his being discovered for his vocal talent.  He never served in the military due to a perforated ear drum.

Dean, born in Steubenville Ohio as Dino Paul Crocetti, once delivered bootleg liquor, worked in a steel mill, and was a blackjack dealer and roulette stickman at local underground casinos.  Plus, he had a short boxing career under the name “Kid Crochet”.  He was drafted into the army in 1944 and served for a year in Akron Ohio.

Sammy, born in Harlem as Samuel George Davis Jr., never knew any kind of work other than performing on stage, starting with his father at the age of five.  He also served in the army, but even there he was assigned duty involving his awesome skills as an entertainer.  If he ever tried another occupation, it might have been photography, which was a passion of his.  He was said to always carry a camera, and even had a book of photographs printed, with his favorite subjects being his fellow performers, like Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, Jerry Lewis, and of course, his Rat Pack pals, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. 

This article printed in association with a  Rat Pack Impersonators Tribute site.



The Lady Is A Tramp – A Rat Pack Song

In 1937, a musical called Babes In Arms featured a song that would become a staple for Frank Sinatra, not to mention Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. and the Rat Pack.  The song was The Lady is a Tramp, by the Broadway songwriting team of Rodgers and Hart.  It was recorded by Lena Horne in 1948, and she performed it in a film about the two famous songwriters, called Words and Music.

In the 1957 film Pal Joey, Frank Sinatra serenades Rita Hayworth with the song, and soon afterwards, it became a regular part of Frank’s nightclub and concert shows.  Though it started out with a mellow arrangement with a piano lead-in, in later years the song got a new treatment with a bold horn introduction, and became one of the most exciting numbers in the Sinatra show. 

Sammy also liked singing the song and performed it regularly during his concert appearances.  And Dean did it too, but his version was a comical parody in which he sings the gentleman is a tramp, as part of the opening of his time on stage.

Throughout the years, The Lady is a Tramp was also associated with Ella Fitzgerald, who sang the song many times, including as a duet with  Frank on one of his TV specials.  And it was recorded by the Supremes in an album of Rodgers and Hart songs.  Most recently, it was heard sung by two of the main characters on an episode of the TV series Glee.  And there were recordings of The Lady is a Tramp by the group Yes, They Might Be Giants, and even Alice Cooper.  But it will always be most associated with Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. 

To see Frank’s performance of The Lady is a Tramp in Pal Joey, visit Rat Pack Remembered at YouTube, and to see Frank’s duet of the song with Ella Fitzgerald, visit the Frank Sinatra Tribute, also at YouTube.


Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Each Christmas, you’re bound to hear Rat Pack star Dean Martin’s recording of Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.  It gets a lot of seasonal play and has been featured in commercials.

Written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne in 1945, the song was first recorded by Vaughn Monroe that year, and reached number one on Billboard’s music chart in 1946.  More recently, the Vaughn Monroe recording was used in the first two Die Hard movies.

Dean Martin’s version is featured on his many Christmas albums including Christmas With Dino, My Christmas Album, My Kind Of Christmas, The Dean Martin Christmas Album and Season’s Greetings from Dean Martin, plus Christmas With The Rat Pack.  Although it’s one of the most popular songs every holiday season, Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow never actually mentions Christmas. 

The song can be heard in the Dean Martin style at Christmas-time during Rat Pack shows performed by Las Vegas Rat Pack Impersonators.