Somewhere out there, maybe wedged in a pile of other old 78s is an art deco sleeve holding Brunswick 8443. If you're a Sinatra collector, this is the Holy Grail.
Recorded in New York City on July 13th, 1939, it's the very first commercial recording of Frank Sinatra's voice. The song is "From The Bottom Of My Heart," and it captures Sinatra at the beginning of his six-month tenure with the Harry James Orchestra.The big news that summer was the opening of the 1939 World's Fair in New York. With futuristic exhibits themed around the "World of Tomorrow," it was a time of great optimism as America emerged from the worst years of the Depression. True to the spirit of the day, it's no surprise that Sinatra's first commercial recording was a happy-go-lucky love song. Penned by Morty Beck, Andy Gibson, Bill Hays and Harry James, the song was built around the catchphrase, "bottom of my heart." On paper the lyrics are light and sweet, but to hear Frank Sinatra's velvet voice weaving through the melody, it's not simply someone professing unconditional love, it's a man pouring out his soul, and doing it as smoothly as one pours honey from a spoon.Sinatra's dreamy rendition is contrasted with a darker "Melancholy Mood" on the record's flip side. The record was released a month later in the summer of 1939, just a few weeks before Germany invaded Poland. The world would soon be at war.Sinatra would record less than a dozen songs with Harry James for the Brunswick and Columbia labels, but they would generate enough buzz to get him noticed and interviewed by magazines like Metronome, Down Beat and Billboard. Quickly, the legendary career of Sinatra was taking root. The fact that this first recording presents Sinatra on the cusp of stardom - before becoming a household name - is one reason it's treasured by collectors. The typical asking price for "From The Bottom Of My Heart" is somewhere north of $4000.More than an expensive artifact, this landmark recording is a window into a waning age of innocence. When you hear it, you can't help but be transported back to that July before the war, when a 23-year-old Frank Sinatra was just beginning his meteoric rise to fame. There can be no doubt he was singing it from the bottom of his heart.
An alternate take of "From The Bottom Of My Heart" is available inside the comprehensive box set, A Voice In Time. This 80-track collection spans the first 14 years of Sinatra's career.To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Frank Sinatra's first commercial recording, we're offering 20% OFF A Voice In Time. Simply enter the coupon code 8443 during checkout.