Frank D'Rone in 1959
|Birth name||Frank Caldarone|
April 26, 1932|
Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||October 3, 2013
Wheaton, Illinois, U.S.
Born Frank Caldarone in Brockton, Massachusetts, D'Rone was raised in Providence, Rhode Island, and began singing and playing the guitar professionally at age five. At age 11, he had his own local radio show. At age 13, he won an Artist's Degree in classical guitar from the American Guild of Stringed Instruments. At age 18, he headed for New York and beyond, moving to Chicago in the late 1950s. D'Rone achieved success in Chicago clubs, attracting the attention of such jazz luminaries as Oscar Peterson, Stan Kenton and Nat King Cole. Dick LaPalm, a record promoter for Nat Cole and Peggy Lee amongst others, got him his first recording contract with Mercury Records and introduced him to Cole.
His first album, Frank D'Rone Sings, was released in 1959, and included liner notes penned by Cole, who later helped D'Rone earn several appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in the 1960s and 1970s. An album with arrangements by record producer Billy May, After the Ball, was released in 1960. D'Rone was a performer at the hungry i nightclub in San Francisco, California, where he recorded a live 1962 album, In Person. However his recording contract with Mercury ended at this time. He also recorded for Columbia Records and RCA Camden. In late 1959 and early 1960s he made numerous appearances on Hugh Hefner's PLAYBOY'S PENTHOUSE.
His style was praised by jazz critic Will Friedwald as "all singing from the heart and no put-ons." He had one hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1960, with the song "Strawberry Blonde (The Band Rocked On)".
In 2006, D'Rone released a recording made in 1984 at a club in Chicago (Benchley's On Broadway), entitled Falling In Love With Love - Live In Chicago. For the past few years before his illness, D'Rone had been performing at various venues in the Chicago area, including Chambers Restaurant, The Green Mill, at the Chicago Jazz FestivalL and the Jazz Showcase. He also performed benefits for a school in Michigan at which he made a DVD. In 2012, D'Rone released a new CD, Double Exposure (Whaling City Sounds), in which his vocals are self-accompanied on guitar, alternated with big band numbers with charts written by Phil Kelly.
D'Rone died on October 3, 2013, aged 81, in Wheaton, Illinois from cancer.
- "Frank D'Rone Discography at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- "Frank D'Rone: Albums, Songs, Biogs, Photos". Amazon.co.uk. 1932-04-26. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- "Frank D'Rone, Chicago singer-guitarist, dead at 81". Chicago Tribune. 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
- Bush, John. "Frank D'Rone - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- Friedwald, Will. Jazz Singing: America's Great Voices from Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond. Page 330-331. Da Capo Press, 1996
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 169. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
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