Whilst there are not many performances documented of Frank and Ella singing together, the below duet was very much the inspiration for this show.

 

 

 

Francis Albert Sinatra was born December 12, 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Also known as Ol' Blue Eyes, Frank began his career with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. Originally signed to Columbia Records in 1943, he moved to Capitol Records in 1953 and released several critically acclaimed albums (In the Wee Small Hours, Songs for Swingin' Lovers, Come Fly with Me, Only the Lonely and Nice 'n' Easy). Sinatra left Capitol to found his own record label, Reprise Records in 1961, finding success with albums such as Ring-a-Ding-Ding! and Sinatra at the Sands.

Sinatra toured internationally, was a founding member of the Rat Pack and fraternized with celebrities and statesmen, including John F. Kennedy. He starred in the Emmy-winning television special Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music, and scored hits with "Strangers in the Night" and "My Way".

Sinatra also forged a highly successful career as a film actor, winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in From Here to Eternity. He also starred in such musicals as High Society, Pal Joey, Guys and Dolls and On the Town. Sinatra was the recipient of eleven Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

An absolute supporter of the Democratic Party until 1970, Sinatra was known for his political activities and alleged links to organized crime. He had three children to his first wife Nancy Sinatra and married three more times to actresses Ava Gardner, Mia Farrow and Barbara Marx.

Showing signs of dementia in his last years, he suffered a heart attack in 1997 and made no further public appearances.

Frank Sinatra died May 14, 1998 with his wife Barbara by his side. The next night, the lights on the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed for ten minutes in his honour. Imprinted on his tombstone are the words "The Best is Yet to Come".

 

Ella Jane Fitzgerald was born April 25, 1917 in Newport News, Virginia.

Also known as The First Lady of Song, Lady Ella had a vocal range spanning three octaves. Noted for her purity of tone, impecable diction, phrasing and intonation, she had a "horn-like" improvisational ability and was best known for her scat singing.

Ella enjoyed a 59 year recording career and received 13 Grammy Awards. Ella's most well loved songs include Lady Be Good ( for which she was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame), Black Magic, Hernando's Hideaway and Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye.

Ella suffered an abusive childhood and spent her teenage years in an orphanage in the Bronx. After escaping from a state reformatory, she made her singing debut at the age of 17 at The Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York, going on to win first prize at their famous "Amateur Night".

Ella began her singing career with The Chick Webb Orchestra, recording several hit songs such as Love and Kisses and "(If You Can't Sing It) You'll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini)". It was her 1938 version of the nursery rhyme "A-Tisket, A-Tasket", a song she co-wrote, that brought her wide public acclaim. When Chick Webb died on June 16, 1939, his band was renamed "Ella and her Famous Orchestra" with Ella taking on the role of nominal bandleader.

While recording her various Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks and the occasional studio album, Fitzgerald toured 40 to 45 weeks per year in the United States and internationally. In the mid-1950s, Fitzgerald became the first African-American to perform at the Mocambo, after Marilyn Monroe had lobbied the owner for the booking. The booking was instrumental in Fitzgerald's career.

Ella's first marriage was annulled after two years, but in 1947, she married famous bassist Ray Brown, whom she met on tour with Dizzy Gillespie. Together they adopted a child born to Ella's half sister, whom they christened Ray Brown. The couple divorced in 1953 bowing to various career pressures. There is evidence that Ella married a third time to a young Norwegian in Oslo.

Ella was notoriously shy. She dedicated herself to her music & kept herself to herself. When the Society of Singers named an award after her, Fitzgerald explained in her acceptance speech, "I don't want to say the wrong thing, which I always do. I think I do better when I sing".

Ella in Berlin is still one of her best selling albums; it includes a Grammy-winning performance of "Mack the Knife" in which she forgets the lyrics, but improvises magnificently to compensate.

Plagued by health problems, Fitzgerald made her last recording in 1991 and her last public performances in 1993. Already visually impaired by the effects of diabetes, Fitzgerald had both her legs amputated in 1993 before dying of the disease on June 15, 1996.