Frank Sinatra weighed over 13 pounds at his birth on December 12, 1915. And while his physical size normalized during his lifetime, his mythical status has never stopped growing. Although more associated with The Sands and the silver screen, Sinatra did make a memorable appearance at Lincoln Center in October 1979, performing a 12-song set for the Sinatra at the Met benefit for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Robert Merrill and Beverly Sills joined him for Frank Loesser’s "Guys and Dolls," which Sinatra jokingly referred to as “a very new opera.”

Sinatra’s link to the New York Philharmonic dates back to pre-Lincoln Center days. In August 1943, the 27-year-old “radio singing star had a youth triumph at the Lewisohn Stadium concert” (New York Times) performing for 7,000 bobby-soxers with the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra conducted by famed Hollywood composer Max Steiner. 

Sinatra’s voice has also rung out at both the New York State Theater (now the David H. Koch Theater) and the Metropolitan Opera House as recorded music when American Ballet Theatre performed the Twyla Tharp dances “Nine Sinatra Songs” and “Sinatra Suite,” originally choreographed in the early 80s for Mikhail Baryshnikov. 

In this playlist, Sinatra: Voice for a Century director Lonny Price offers a snapshot of Sinatra and the golden age of American song he presided over—from his beginnings in the 30s as a big band heartthrob to the icon status he solidified with “New York, New York” in the late 70s.

Listen to the full playlist (plus our hidden tracks) on Spotify.