Whenever I mention my Frankie Laine association to someone for the first time, two questions always come up: “Why are you interested in Frankie Laine and his music?” and “How did you meet Frankie?”
I suppose the first question relates to my age. I was born a decade after Frankie had recorded “That’s My Desire” in 1946. That record became Frankie’s first to sell a million copies in 1947. Furthermore, Frankie was already internationally famous by 1954, the year my parents were married.
Why did I become interested in Frankie Laine and his music? I can sum it up in one word—emotion. Frankie, now retired, is an expressive person. As a true “song stylist,” Frankie shaped and phrased the words in a melody, thus creating a style that was all his own. Indeed, all Frankie Laine fans treasure Frankie’s great ability as a vocalist. However, as far as I am concerned, the allure of Frankie Laine goes beyond his musical voice. I think Frankie’s immense emotion and profound appreciation for what he sang, regardless of whether it was a jazzy, up-tempo song or a slow ballad (or any other type of song), were what always captivated me.
This book answers the second question detailing the story associated with the first time I met Frankie Laine. Nonetheless, when I met Frankie in 1985, our time together was notable in an unexpected way. I experienced another aspect of Frankie Laine, which had absolutely nothing to do with music—his kindness. Although I had read stories about what a nice person Frankie always was, I witnessed, firsthand, how much he truly cherishes his fans.
Primarily, I had two goals in writing this book. First, I needed to assemble all my wonderful Frankie Laine adventures and put them down on paper in an organized fashion before my memories of the events faded. Therefore, I searched through numerous videotapes, audiotapes, newspaper articles, letters, photographs, and e-mail notes within my prized Laine library. Of course, I also relied on my personal recollections. Second, I aspired to relate to readers how an ordinary person (me), by sheer determination and action, had succeeded in his initial quest—I did meet Frankie Laine. Additionally, I developed a friendship with this amazing, famous singer.
Each person has a special dream. Some dreams do come true.
—Craig Cronbaugh, 2005