Top 10 Things That Make Sinatra Cool

On July 19 1972 Sinatra burst into the House Crime Committee and denounced it for conducting a character assassination.

Frank Sinatra... "Old Blue Eyes".... won a dozen Grammy Awards, three Academy Awards, and recorded 297 singles, most so well known we needn't name them here.

Frank had a temper, sure, but who among us doesn't? Besides it was total B.S. what they did because of some liar nicknamed "The Animal."

On July 19 1972 Sinatra burst into the House Crime Committee and, while the flashbulbs popped, denounced its members for conducting a character assassination.

"I am not a second-class citizen – let's make that clear," the singer angrily shouted in his opening statement. How do you repair the damage that has been done to my reputation by a second-class punk?"

The punk he referred to was Joe "The Animal" Barboza, who set a new low for an ex-wiseguy: He dealt drugs, fenced stolen securities (to his own former Patriarca crime family, no less) and even murdered a man over a soured drug deal. For that he was sentenced to five years in prison.

To get out of his sentence he tried to pass on "information" about Sinatra being organized crime's puppet.

"The Animal" was even called before a House committee investigating organized crime in 1972, where he testified that Sinatra was a front man for Raymond Patriarca, the true owner of the Sands casino in Las Vegas and Foutainbleau hotel in Miami.

This led to the 1972 appearance.

Sinatra had been asked to show up to explain why he had invested $55,000 in the Mafia-controlled Berkshire Downs racetrack.

The Crime Committee had threatened to subpoena Sinatra to appear and was also interested in the Rat Pack leader's response to Barboza's allegations that the singer had business dealings with Raymond Patriarca, whom the Crime Committee had named a "New England organised crime figure."

But the committee was dissolved shortly after it was revealed that Barboza's claims were based on rumors and hearsay.

WITSEC refused Barboza when he was released from prison after serving that sentence. Federal agents recommended he leave California.

Instead he moved to San Francisco and using the name of Joseph Donait, shook down drug dealers in a quite ingenious way.

"I'm Joe Barboza, the mobster you've read about in all the newspapers," he'd say. "You better pay me or else."

Barboza.... "The Animal"....

February, 1976, Donait stopped beside his car, parked on a San Francisco street. In broad daylight, he stood and searched his pockets for his keys when a van pulled up and a shotgun blast blew his brains out. Joseph "J.R." Russo, former consiglieri of the Patriarca family, is believed to have pulled the job off -- or at least got the credit.

Russo, born in east Boston in 1931, was a flashy, John Gotti-style gangster. He had impeccable mob credentials, due in large measure to the recognition he was given after he shotgunned Barboza.

Russo's role was immortalized thanks to an FBI wiretap that recorded Ilario "Larry Baione" Zannino, Patriarca's muscle and chief gambling lieutenant, describing Russo as "a genius with a carbine." Zannino (June 15, 1920 – February 27, 1996) at his prime was considered among the highest-ranking crime figures in the Patriarca family's Boston faction.


So in recognition of how cool Sinatra is, we present a countdown of the key factors  that elevated the young crooner into an iconic superstar, the likes of which we will never see (or hear) again.

10. The FBI was obsessed with him. The FBI watched Sinatra for almost 50 years, beginning in the 1940s, and amassed some 2,403 pages of records on him, now declassified.

9. He was a founding member of the 1960s Rat Pack. The Rat Pack -- Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop -- never referred to themselves by that name, instead calling themselves the Summit or the Clan. But the press loved the moniker, and the Rat Pack stuck.

8. He shared a famous woman with Woody Allen. From 1966 to 1968, Sinatra was married to actress Mia Farrow, who was thirty years his junior.

7. He learned music by ear. Sinatra never learned to read music. Let's see any of this generation's so-called singers make that claim!

6. He founded Reprise Records. The Sinatra nickname, "Chairman of the Board," was born in 1960, the year he founded Reprise, which Sinatra sold to Warner Bros.

5. He made the Empire State Building glow blue. This was done to mark Sinatra's 80th birthday in 1995.

4. He was friends with President John F. Kennedy. Sinatra and the Rat Pack played a big role in Kennedy's 1960 campaign, for which the theme song was "High Hopes," sung by Sinatra, who'd recorded a special track with lyrics about Kennedy worked in.

3. He performed for Anwar Sadat in front of the Egyptian pyramids. Talk about a collection of legends!

2. He was a civil rights activist. In 1961, Sinatra played a benefit show for Martin Luther King, Jr. at Carnegie Hall (one of many benefits Sinatra did for King), and led a massive artist boycott on hotels and casinos in Nevada that refused to admit black patrons and performers.


1. He was Frank f---ing Sinatra.