Frank Sinatra’s biographers Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan have revealed that the legendary singer was in fact a “functioning alcoholic”, and that alcohol played a far greater role in his life than most people realise.
Swan said that Sinatra’s “use and abuse” of liquor started in the mid-40s, and that experts on alcoholism agree that the Strangers in the Night singer was a ‘functioning alcohol’.
"Sinatra's use and abuse of alcohol was much more important than anyone understood. We tracked that and we gathered information that, from the mid-40s on, he was really seriously abusing the booze, and, even in his later life, drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels a day."
"It was all well documented by close friends, who spoke lovingly about him. When we submitted that evidence to a couple of experts on alcoholism, they said, pretty conclusively, that this is a functioning alcoholic and I think that helped us to explain and I think will help the reader understand the explosive temper, the up-and-down relationship with women and his children, the depressions and the insomnia," Contactmusic quoted her, as saying.
However, the biographers also learnt that Sinatra always went off booze and cigarettes when the time came to cut an album.
"One of the strange anomalies is that a man, who not only drank so much but smoked so much - those untipped Camel cigarettes - for years and years and years, was still able to put out such a wonderful voice over such a long period. We learned that he went off the booze and off the cigarettes for a period before he made an album," Summers said.
"The booze and the cigarettes and the sorrows in his life affected his voice. You hear him do One For My Baby in the late 50s, and then you hear the recording he did of the same song just before the 50s and they're as different as day is from night. The voice, by then, has been tempered, weathered by the booze, the cigarettes, the sadnesses and he's clearly living the song more the second time around," he added.
Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swann are the authors of the book Sinatra: My Life.