"Drink, drink, drink. Smoke, smoke, smoke. Shmuck, shmuck, shmuck!" —Frank Sinatra, chastising himself for the excesses that made his voice raspy during the taping of a '60s TV special. Pictured: In 1964, Frank savors those vices backstage at the Sands Hotel and Casino, where he swung with the Count Basie Band. Out of that landmark collaboration came the legendary live album Sinatra at the Sands.
Anthony Summers, author of "Frank Sinatra: My life" (2006): "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".
Frank Sinatra lights a cigarette for Natalie Wood
Summers claims the ravages of heavy drinking and smoking took their toll on Frank Sinatra's famous voice - and this can clearly be heard on some recordings. The biographer adds, "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."
Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra photographed in a recording studio by LIFE's Allan Grant, take a cigarette break during the recording of Sleep Warm in 1958. The album was re-released in 1963 with a much more direct title: Dean Martin Sings/Sinatra Conducts.
Frank Sinatra smoking a cigarette in the studio during a rehearsal in 1965.
"He wears the mask of an armchair philanderer with bottles and broads on his mind and seven kids in his swimming pool — a character with obvious appeal for both sexes. Highball glass in hand, he always looks faintly surprised to find the camera upon him, and his first bleary, self-deprecating crack establishes that neither he nor his audience can be quite sure what he will do next." —From LIFE's review of The Dean Martin Show, 5/26/1967. Photographed by LIFE's Allan Grant, Dean Martin is smoking and adjusting his cufflinks backstage before a performance in Vegas, 1958.
More attractive functioning smokers: