Living Legend Award 2000
From his web site www.frankielaine.com
In the world of popular music, yesterday's idol is very often tomorrow's forgotten name. Only a handful of performers have demonstrated the lasting appeal it takes to weather the onslaught of fads and changing trends over the years, and Frankie Laine is a classic example. His impeccable musicianship and taste have kept him an international favorite for over four decades.
Ever since his recording of "That's My Desire" burst onto the scene like a musical firework in 1947, praise has poured in from all corners, from young and old alike, for this gifted and versatile artist for top nightclub engagements, both here and in Europe. Today, 21 Gold records later, Frankie Laine has become a musical tradition.
In 1953, Laine's stirring rendition of "I Believe" topped the British charts and stayed number one for eighteen weeks, an unbeaten performance that even the Beatles never matched. His renown continued to grow as he went to England for a record-breaking engagement at the London Palladium.
Laine's magical appeal, however, far transcends mere nostalgia. His recording of "You Gave Me a Mountain," a song written especially for Laine by his good friend, Marty Robbins, went gold in the early 1970's a time by which many of his contemporaries had long since quieted down. Laine continues to record exciting new material while maintaining a healthy respect for the songs, like "Mule Train," "That Lucky Old Sun," "I Believe," and "Jezebel," which all his longtime admirers know by heart. Many of these tunes were collected into an album entitled:" The World of Frankie Laine," that toped the charts in England in 1982. Since then, this album has been issued in 43 different countries. Recently, a crowd of 50,000 came to see and to cheer Frankie Laine. Not too shabby for a humble Sicilian kid, born to immigrant parents in Chicago's Little Italy on March 30, 1913.
His hit records were followed by starring roles in several motion pictures, guest appearance on numerous major radio and television shows, and his own television variety program on CBS. Laine became the first and most successful of the singers to be identified with title songs.
He has performed the title songs for seven motion pictures, including Mel Brooks Western farce, "Blazing Saddles." Laine's featured recording of "Rawhide" has become one of the most popular theme songs of all time.
After recovering from a second bypass surgery in 1990, Laine began work on his autobiography which he mischievously called, "That Lucky Old Sun." The book was published in 1993 and has met with great success. His latest album, "Wheels of Dreams" was released in 1998.
Frankie Laine continues to receive accolades from both professional and lay organizations for his contributions to the entertainment industry and for his humanitarian works, which are many.
On June 12, 1996, Laine was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 27th Annual Songwriter's Hall of Fame awards at a ceremony at the New York Sheraton.
Frankie Laine continues his legendary career. His extraordinary musical talent reaches and touches many thousands, both in his always-popular recordings and in his sold out concerts, as well as with his generous outreach to the community and to children.
Women's International Center is indeed privileged to welcome Frankie Laine to the Living Legacy Awards and to present him with the Living Legend Award 2000. Thank you for a lifetime of memories, Frankie.