Frankie Carle

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Frankie Carle
Frankie Carle in 1922.jpg
Frankie Carle
Background information
Birth name Francesco Nunzio Carlone
Also known as Frankie Carle,
The Wizard of the Keyboard
Born (1903-03-25)March 25, 1903
Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Died March 7, 2001(2001-03-07) (aged 97)
Mesa, Arizona, United States
Genres Big band, easy listening, pop standard, piano
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Years active 1916–1989
Frankie Carle (center-left, standing) at the Hotel Pennsylvania in Manhattan

Frankie Carle (March 25, 1903 – March 7, 2001), born Francis Nunzio Carlone, was an American pianist and bandleader. As a very popular bandleader in the 1940s and 1950s, Carle was nicknamed "The Wizard of the Keyboard". "Sunrise Serenade" was Carle's best-known composition, rising to No. 1 in the US in 1938 and selling more than one million copies.

Early life[edit]

Carle was born in Providence, Rhode Island on March 25, 1903.[1] Born the son of a factory worker who could not afford a piano, he practiced on a dummy keyboard devised by his uncle, pianist Nicholas Colangelo, until he found a broken-down instrument in a dance hall. In 1916, a teenage Carle began working with his uncle's band as well as a number of local bands in the Rhode Island area. To gain further popularity in an America which still held prejudices against many Italian Americans, Carle did what many singers, like Dean Martin and Jerry Vale did during this time period; he changed his name from Carlone to Carle.


Carle started out working with a number of mainstream dance bands. He received attention when he joined Horace Heidt and His Musical Knights[2] in 1939. He later became co-leader of the band. The popularity he attained while with Heidt’s band allowed him to leave the band in 1944 and form his own band, The Frankie Carle Orchestra. When his daughter, Marjorie Hughes, sang with his band, he did not reveal their relationship until Walter Winchell published it.[3] His band disbanded after 1955 and he performed mainly as a soloist thereafter. From the 1950's until the 1980's, Carle performed as a single artist and maintained a close following of loyal fans.


  • Frankie Carle Encores, Columbia (C-70 78 RPM Set, 1943)
  • Carle Comes Calling, Columbia (CL-6002 10" Lp, 1948)
  • Roses In Rhythm, Columbia (CL-6032 10" Lp/C-174 78 RPM Set, 1949)
  • Frankie Carle and his Girl Friends, Columbia (CL-6018 10" Lp, 1948)
  • Frankie Carle Dance Parade, Columbia (CL-6047 10" Lp, 1949)
  • At The Piano, Columbia (CL-6075 10" Lp, 1949)
  • Carle Meets The Masters, Columbia (CL-6085 10" Lp, 1950)
  • Frankie Carle Plays Honky Tonk, RCA Victor (LPM-26, 1951)
  • Top Pops, RCA Victor (LPM-3024, 1952)
  • For Me And My Gal, RCA Victor (LPM-3059, 1952)
  • Frankie Carle's Piano Party, Columbia (CL-531, 1953)
  • Honky Tonk Piano, RCA Victor (LPM-1188, 1956)
  • Cocktail Time with Frankie Carle, RCA Victor (LPM-1221, 1956)
  • Frankie Carle's Sweethearts, RCA Victor (LPM 1222, 1956)
  • Mediterranean Cruise, RCA Victor (LPM-1275, 1956)
  • Frankie Carle's Finest, RCA Victor (LPM-1153, 1957)
  • Around The World, RCA Victor (LPM/LSP-1499, 1958)
  • 37 Favorites For Dancing, RCA Victor (LPM/LSP-1868, 1958)
  • Ridin' High, Vocalion (VL 3622, 1958)
  • The Piano Style of Frankie Carle, RCA Camden (CAL 478, 1959)
  • Show Stoppers for Dance Time, RCA Victor (LPM-1963, 1959)
  • The Golden Touch, RCA Victor (LPM-2139, 1959)
  • Take Me Along, RCA Victor (LSP-2142, 1959)
  • A Carle-Load of Hits, RCA Victor (LPM/LSP-2148, 1959)
  • Top Of The Mark (Featuring Darryl Stevens), RCA Victor (LPM/LSP-2233, 1960)
  • The Fabulous Frankie Carle (HL 7140, 1961)
  • Honky-Tonk Hits by the Dozen, RCA Victor (LSP-2491, 1962)
  • 30 Hits of the Flaming '40s, RCA Victor (LPM-2881, LSP-2504, 1962)
  • 30 Hits of the Tuneful '20s, RCA Victor (LPM/LSP-2592, 1963)
  • 30 Hits of the Thundering '30s, RCA Victor (LPM/LSP-2593, 1963)
  • Roses in Rhythm, Columbia (CL 913, 1963)
  • Plays Cocktail Piano, RCA Custom (CPM/CSP-112, 1964)
  • Frankie Carle Plays the Big Imported Hits, RCA Victor (LSP-2920, 1964)
  • Frankie Carle Plays the Great Piano Hits, RCA Victor (LSP-3425, 1965)
  • The Tropical Style of Frankie Carle, RCA Victor (LPM 3609, 1966)
  • The Best of Frankie Carle, RCA Victor (LSP 3469, 1966)
  • Frankie Carle, Dot (DLP 25789, 1967)
  • Somewhere My Love, Dot (DLP 25802/25804, 1967)
  • Sunrise Serenade, Harmony (HS 11217, 1967)
  • Era: The 30's, Dot (DLP 25847, 1968)
  • Era: The 40's, Dot (DLP 25877, 1968)
  • Era: The 50's, Dot (DLP 25928, 1969)


Carle's music was known for being light because of his buoyant touch; this resulted in romantic, danceable melodies which were very popular. His major compositions included "Sunrise Serenade", "Falling Leaves", "Roses in the Rain", "Lover's Lullaby", "Swing and a Miss", "Syncopated Doll", "This Day", "Travelin' Mood", "When Your Lips Met Mine", "Why Oh Why", "You Are There", "You and the Stars and Me", "Carle Boogie", "Sunrise Boogie", "Sunrise in Napoli", "Georgianna", "Blue Fantasy", "I Didn't Know", "The Golden Touch" and "The Apple Valley Waltz".

Later years and death[edit]

Carle's Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

In 1989, Carle was Inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame alongside such other greats as Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman.[4] Carle died of natural causes in Mesa, Arizona in 2001, a few weeks shy of his 98th birthday. Catholic, Carle had a mass of Christian burial at the Holy Cross Church in Mesa, Arizona. He is survived by his daughter, Marjorie Hughes Wahl, granddaughter Susan Zimmerman,grandson Richard Douce and great-granddaughter, Veronica.

See also[edit]

  • Ralph Patt, jazz guitarist who toured with Carle


  • Lagumina, Salvatore, et al. (2000). The Italian American Experience. Westport: Greenwood Press.
  • Walker, Leo (1989). The Big Band Alamanac. Hollywood: Da Capo Press.


  1. ^ "Frankie Carle". Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  2. ^ Gilliland 1994, tape 2, side B.
  3. ^ Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854.  Tape 3, side B.
  4. ^ "Frankie Carle Biography". Retrieved 2014-05-23. 

External links[edit]