The most recommended books on Frank Sinatra

Who picked these books? Meet our 16 experts.

16 authors created a book list connected to Frank Sinatra, and here are their favorite Frank Sinatra books.
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Book cover of American Happiness and Discontents: The Unruly Torrent, 2008-2020

Luis Martínez-Fernández Author Of When the World Turned Upside Down: Politics, Culture, and the Unimaginable Events of 2019-2022

From my list on today's biggest domestic and global challenges.

Who am I?

By ten years old, I had lived in four countries and endured the repercussions of revolution, exile, military coup d’état, and emigration. That explains my life-long passion for history. I pursued a Ph.D. in Latin American history to make sense of the forces that shaped my and my family’s lives. My seven previous books explored diverse topics in Caribbean history within its broader Atlantic context. Momentous domestic and global events, starting with the COVID-19 pandemic and an explosion of racial and political violence in the U.S. pushed me to broaden my scholarly attention and become a Creators Syndicate’s weekly columnist, and publish a collection of columns with the title When the World Turned Upside Down. 

Luis' book list on today's biggest domestic and global challenges

Luis Martínez-Fernández Why did Luis love this book?

American readers and news watchers are deeply segregated: those on the left reading and watching news produced by liberals, and those on the right consuming words and images from conservative authors and broadcasts. And then there is Washington Post columnist George Will, a conservative, who reads voraciously across the political spectrum and offers commentary that reasonable Americans must recognize as honest and insightful. American Happiness and Its Discontents is a collection of thoroughly researched, thought-provoking, exquisitely-written columns written by Will from 2008 to 2020. He offers insightful commentary on a wide range of political, social, and cultural topics and tackles subjects deemed taboo by the left such as the wave of nonsense that has flooded higher education. 

By George F. Will,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Happiness and Discontents as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

George F. Will has been one of this country's leading columnists since 1974. He won the Pulitzer Prize for it in 1977. The Wall Street Journal once called him "perhaps the most powerful journalist in America." In this new collection, he examines a remarkably unsettling thirteen years in our nation's experience, from 2008 to 2020. Included are a number of columns about court cases, mostly from the Supreme Court, that illuminate why the composition of the federal judiciary has become such a contentious subject.

Other topics addressed include the American Revolutionary War, historical figures from Frederick Douglass to JFK, as…


Book cover of Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones

Richard J. Alley Author Of Five Night Stand

From my list on culture of mid-20th century music and musicians.

Who am I?

I was born in 1970. From my earliest memory there was music. But it’s never been just about the music, I have a natural curiosity for the people who make that music. The artist on the album cover, but also the side musicians, the producers, engineers, and promoters. I’m also fascinated by the roadmap from blues to rock to Laurel Canyon to disco to punk and on and on. Real music infuses and informs the fiction I write — by reading real-life accounts and listening to the songs, I’m put in the world from which it was all born.

Richard's book list on culture of mid-20th century music and musicians

Richard J. Alley Why did Richard love this book?

Quincy Jones knows everybody. He’s worked with everybody. To study the life of Quincy Jones is to study popular music as we know it today. From jazz to soul to R&B to pop, Q has had a hand and a tapping toe in all genres and the lives of those who produced it. His love and passion for music of any genre are infectious. I’ve always been interested in not just the music itself, but in how it’s made, why it’s made, and who makes it, and this autobiography pulls back the curtain on it all. 

By Quincy Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Q as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Musician, composer, producer, arranger, and pioneering entrepreneur Quincy Jones has lived large and worked for five decades alongside the superstars of music and entertainment -- including Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Ray Charles, Will Smith, and dozens of others. Q is his glittering and moving life story, told with the style, passion, and no-holds-barred honesty that are his trademarks.

Quincy Jones grew up poor on the mean streets of Chicago’s South Side, brushing against the law and feeling the pain of his mother’s descent into madness. But when his father moved the family west to Seattle, he…


Book cover of Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group

David Menconi Author Of Oh, Didn't They Ramble: Rounder Records and the Transformation of American Roots Music

From my list on non-fiction about the music industry.

Who am I?

I spent 34 years writing for daily papers, most of them at the News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’ve also freelanced for numerous magazines, primarily about music, while hosting a podcast and writing the occasional book. Through it all I’ve had a particular fascination for the music business and its peculiar ways, especially record companies. The industry’s darker side was the subject of my first book way back in 2000, the novel Off The Record, which was a notebook dump of thinly fictionalized war stories I’d accumulated over the years. The record business is the subject of my latest book, too, although it’s a much more positive story.

David's book list on non-fiction about the music industry

David Menconi Why did David love this book?

Commander Cody made that album for Warner Brothers Records during the time when the U.S. record business was grossing over a billion dollars a year.

During those heady days, no label group better exemplified the positive side of the industry than Warner, which stood as proof that you really could have profits with honor. From Frank Sinatra to Madonna, Warner put out music that generated sales and critical acclaim in equal measure.

Stan Cornyn was an executive at Warner for 34 years, overseeing countless publicity campaigns, and this delicious memoir evokes the industry’s glory days in the prestige penthouse. If Rounder was the cream of the independent-label crop, Warner was top of the major-label heap.

By Stan Cornyn, Paul Scanlon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Exploding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

That's how Vanity Fair described the record business turmoil of the 1990s, which moved the Warner Music Group -- the world's number one record company -- from the entertainment pages to the front pages. Suddenly, decades of riotous fun and booming business went splat. Top music executives got evicted from their offices, some escorted by company guards. Why? The answers are in Exploding -- the most insightful and delightful book about the record business ever written.

In the rock explosion of the Sixties and Seventies, Warner Bros., Atlantic, and Elektra Records dominated the business as the Warner Music Group. But…


Book cover of Traps, the Drum Wonder: The Life of Buddy Rich

Bill Bruford Author Of Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer

From my list on why drummers do what they do.

Who am I?

I’ve been intrigued by drums, drummers, and drumming since the age of 12 when my sister gave me some brushes and told me to swish them around on a vinyl album sleeve. I was fortunate to begin my drumming career at the top, which gave me options as to how I could manage whatever came next. I spent 41 years playing the music I wanted with whom I wanted and where and when I wanted, in an endless search for the unusual and the unlikely. This brought me into contact with the great, the good, and the downright hopeless, from all of whom I learned that life isn’t about ‘finding’ things or ‘finding yourself,’ it’s about creating things and thus creating yourself.

Bill's book list on why drummers do what they do

Bill Bruford Why did Bill love this book?

This biography of a person that many consider to be the greatest drummer that we’ve had so far, is excellent on several fronts. First, it is written by a long-standing friend and roommate Mel Tormé. Tormé was there when it happened, and as a highly rated jazz singer experienced in Rich’s world, he is able to help us understand why it happened. Second, it speaks volumes about American music and entertainment in the context of the Swing era. Rich could be mean, prickly, and arrogant, and then turn on a dime into a sweetheart. It says much for their friendship that, despite periods of estrangement, it was able to withstand such vacillations. I interviewed the drummer in his Dorchester hotel suite in London in 1968 and I got the sweetheart. Finally, as Jerry Lewis says on the back cover, the book is “written by a champ about a champ”.

By Mel Tormé,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Traps, the Drum Wonder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mel Tormé is world renowned as a leading jazz vocalist. He has performed in MGM musicals, co-wrote one of the enduring Christmas classics, "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)," and was recently profiled in Life magazine as one of the greatest living jazz singers. But
Tormé has also written five books, including The Other Side of the Rainbow, Tormé's account of his year working on the Judy Garland television show--considered the best portrait of Garland ever written. In this book, Tormé writes a brilliant biography of his friend of forty years--the drummer
Buddy Rich.
Buddy Rich was…


Book cover of Good Vibes: A Life in Jazz

Donald Clarke Author Of Billie Holiday: Wishing On The Moon

From my list on jazz biographies & autobiographies (from a jazz lover).

Who am I?

I started buying records 70 years ago. I worked in a car factory for a decade, then landed a job in publishing, having written a couple of magazine articles, and finally got a chance to do what I was born to do: write about my favorite subject. Music has been the most important thing in the world to me ever since I heard the hits of the 1940s on the radio, playing on the kitchen floor while my mother did the ironing. I believe music is a mystery, more important than we can know, in every way: intellectual, psychological, emotional, philosophical. That is why it is such a big business, even if the business itself is often less than salubrious.

Donald's book list on jazz biographies & autobiographies (from a jazz lover)

Donald Clarke Why did Donald love this book?

Terry Gibbs played vibes (vibraphone) with several of the most famous big bands during the Swing Era, than formed his own small groups, then led big bands himself starting in 1956. Steeped in Swing, he also held his own with the modernists. Perhaps his most amazing accomplishment was putting together his Dream Band, which recorded at least 68 selections, arranged by all the best arrangers in the business, in four different clubs in Hollywood, mostly in 1959. It was a 'dream band' because although the big band era was over, all the best musicians on the West Coast wanted to play in this one because the music was so much fun. Gibbs was in his 90s when his book came out; he knew how lucky he had been, and his book is full of joy and love.

By Terry Gibbs, Cary Ginell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Good Vibes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Terry Gibbs, legendary jazz vibraphonist and bandleader, was 12 years old when he kicked off his career as a professional musician, winning first place in an amateur performance. Born and raised in the heart of Brooklyn and possessing tremendous musical talent, Gibbs learned the ins and outs of bebop from pioneers like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Bud Powell. In 1959 his ensemble, later dubbed The Dream Band, became the toast of Hollywood. Four decades, 65 albums, and 300 compositions later, his story is one of great substance-his foot-tapping music, revolutionary. Good Vibes is a rollicking autobiography that tracks jazz…


Book cover of This Wheel's on Fire: Levon Helm and the Story of the Band

Margot Leitman Author Of Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You'll Ever Need

From my list on the stories behind the music.

Who am I?

When I was a kid, my biggest escape was my father’s record collection. Growing up in 1990s NJ, music was a huge part of my experience. Springsteen was from a few miles south, Bon Jovi was from the town next to mine, and Whitney Houston was from the same state but a different county. Music told stories. Inspired my the music of my youth, I now make my living as a storyteller— I tell stories onstage, write books about storytelling and teach others how to tell stories effectively. I have no musical gifts except for the mass consumption of any book with juicy tales about the world of music. Here are a few of my favorites.

Margot's book list on the stories behind the music

Margot Leitman Why did Margot love this book?

Levon Helm’s unflappable integrity makes him such a likable protagonist you’ll root for him as he rises up from small-town Arkansas boy to A list musician. You’ll see the salt  of the Earth underdog that he was as he recounts what happened behind the scenes at  “The Last Waltz.” This Wheel’s on Fire reads like a director’s cut commentary you can’t believe you’re privy to hearing.  

By Levon Helm, Stephen Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Wheel's on Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The singer and drummer of the Band details, in this book, the history of one of the most influential groups of the 1960s. While their music evoked a Southern mythology with their beautifully crafted, image-rich songs, only their Arkansan drummer, Levon Helm, was the genuine article. This updated edition of his life story includes a new epilogue that covers the last dozen years of his life. From the cotton fields to Woodstock and from seeing Sonny Boy Williamson and Elvis Presley to playing for President Clinton, This Wheel's on Fire replays the tumultuous life of Levon Helm in his own…


Book cover of Sinatra! The Song Is You: A Singer's Art

Richard Niles Author Of The Invisible Artist: Arrangers In Popular Music (1950-2000)

From my list on to get inside popular music.

Who am I?

Richard Niles was born in Hollywood but grew up in London where his 50-year professional career as a composer, arranger, record producer led to work with some of the most acclaimed artists of our time, including Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, James Brown, Tina Turner, Cher and jazz icon Pat Metheny. He has worked on 20 Gold and 28 Platinum records. He has published many books on music including The Pat Metheny Interviews, The Invisible Artist, From Dreaming to Gigging, Piano Grooves, Songwriting – The 11-Point Plan, Adventures in Arranging, Adventures in Jazz Composition, What is Melody?, and How to be an Employable Musician. Dr. Niles' PhD is from Brunel University and he has lectured internationally.

Richard's book list on to get inside popular music

Richard Niles Why did Richard love this book?

Frank Sinatra did not become the most influential artist in popular music because of the scandals that surrounded much of his life. It was his singing. It was ‘The Voice’.

One of my favorite authors about music, Will Friedwald, concentrates on the dedication it took to create that voice, revealing Sinatra’s craft and artistic conception that made him a masterful storyteller and an innovative vocalist. If you read one book about Sinatra, this should be it!


By Will Friedwald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sinatra! The Song Is You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Frank Sinatra was the greatest entertainer of his age, invigorating American popular song with innovative phrasing and a mastery of drama and emotion. Drawing upon interviews with hundreds of his collaborators as well as with "The Voice" himself, this book chronicles, critiques, and celebrates his five-decade career. Will Friedwald examines and evaluates all the classic and less familiar songs with the same astute, witty perceptions that earned him acclaim for his other books about jazz and pop singing. Now completely revised and updated, and including an authoritative discography and rare photos of recording sessions and performances, Sinatra! The Song Is…


Book cover of September in the Rain: The Life of Nelson Riddle

Jon Burlingame Author Of Music for Prime Time: A History of American Television Themes and Scoring

From my list on film and television composers.

Who am I?

I've been a working journalist for 50 years, and as a child of TV, especially in the 1960s, I grew up with some of the most memorable TV themes ever written. I started writing about TV in the 1980s, and since moving to Los Angeles in 1986, have used every opportunity to meet and interview all of my favorite composers of movie and TV music. The result is this book, which looks at the history of TV themes and, in a larger sense, music written for TV generally. Every genre of TV, from crime to sitcoms, westerns to adventure, has had fun, often compelling, and truly memorable music, and I've tried to celebrate it here.

Jon's book list on film and television composers

Jon Burlingame Why did Jon love this book?

Longtime jazz publicist Peter Levinson wrote four books on musical figures and this is my favorite.

I'm fudging on the topic just a little bit because Riddle was far more than just a film and TV composer; he was arguably the greatest arranger of the 20th century, working with such giants as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, and Rosemary Clooney.

I was especially interested in Riddle's TV career, which included a hit theme for Route 66 but also music for The Untouchables, Batman, The Blue Knight, and Emergency (as well as film scores from Ocean's 11 to The Great Gatsby).

Levinson captures not only the ambiance of the recording studio but also the surprising insecurities and melancholy that dogged the composer throughout his career.

By Peter J. Levinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked September in the Rain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Known for single-handedly saving Frank Sinatra's career in the mid-1950s with his stunning orchestral arrangements, Riddle's "intelligent, seductive style" also attracted such singers as Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Johnny Mathis, and Linda Ronstadt. Peter Levinson, a friend of Riddle's, presents the musical side of Riddle as well as the private, including details of his marriage-ending affair with Rosemary Clooney.


Book cover of Consider Your Ass Kissed

Wesley Britton

From Wesley's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Writer Radio Host Historian Husband

Wesley's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Wesley Britton Why did Wesley love this book?

This irresistible memoir by a legendary entertainer is a glittering ride through classic Hollywood history.

Ruta talks about her debut in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Witness for the Prosecution and skims over 2,250 TV appearances. She acted with, danced with, joked with, or sang with Frank, Dean, Sammy. And Gene Kelley. Fred Astaire. Jerry Lewis. Her longtime partner, Debbie Reynolds.

For over 50 years, Ruta has been a leading light of the Thalians, an organization supporting troubled youth. So this is an autobiography with something for every movie fan and a purpose in the end to touch your conscience. Among her off screen tales, you will be stirred by her memory of persuading former Soviet premier Nikita Kruschev to free her imprisoned grandmother in Lithuania.

For old-time movie fans and those who enjoy being star-struck.

By Ruta Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Consider Your Ass Kissed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Consider Your Ass Kissed"

By Ruta Lee

Ruta Lee's Her memoir, entitled "Consider Your Ass Kissed" (released through Briton Publishing), is a treasure trove of wonderful personal stories and anecdotes with rare first hand and authentic memories of the entertainment industry.

- Her starring roles in films such as "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" to 'Funny Face" "Bullet for a Badman" "Witness for the Prosecution" "Sergeants 3"

- Ruta has worked with Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, Charles Bronson, James Garner, Johnny Carson, Fred Astaire, Robin Williams, Howard Keel, Bob Crane, Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack, the…


Book cover of This Is What It Sounds Like: What the Music You Love Says About You

Matt Thorne Author Of Prince: The Man and His Music

From my list on by Prince associates.

Who am I?

Having spent seven years researching and writing about Prince (and another year updating the book), I spoke to as many people who worked and lived with him as I could. While my book is rich with information gleaned from interviews, alongside my own analysis, there were a few people who didn’t talk to me. Of the above, I did talk to Dez Dickerson, but the others were holding off (presumably because their own books were in the works). All the books below work as perfect compliments to mine and are all must-haves for any Prince fan’s purple library.

Matt's book list on by Prince associates

Matt Thorne Why did Matt love this book?

It was one of the great strokes of good fortune in Prince’s career that one of his earliest engineers was a brilliant musicologist.

Of course, the reverse is true too, and Rogers’ extraordinary knowledge of music is brought to life (at least in part) by the time she spent alone in the studio with Prince, in the middle of the night, at Christmas, whenever he called.

By Susan Rogers, Ogi Ogas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Is What It Sounds Like as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This Is What It Sounds Like is a journey into the science and soul of music that reveals the secrets of why your favorite songs move you. But it's also a story of a musical trailblazer who began as a humble audio tech in Los Angeles, rose to become Prince's chief engineer for Purple Rain, and then created other No. 1 hits ,including Barenaked Ladies' "One Week," as one of the most successful female record producers of all time.

Now an award-winning professor of cognitive neuroscience, Susan Rogers leads readers to musical self-awareness. She explains that we each possess a…