Sicilian Culture

The People, The History, The Culture

Frakie Carle
(Francis Nunzio Carlone)

Frankie Carle (Francis Nunzio Carlone) created the popular standard "Sunrise Serenade," that rose to No. 1 in the nation in 1938, selling more than a million copies. Other hits to his credit, included "Carle Boogie," "Lover's Lullaby," "Sunrise in Napoli", "Dream Lullaby', and "Oh, What It Seemed To Be", made popular by Frank Sinatra.

Los Angeles Times, Sunday, March 11, 2001: FRANKIE CARLE; BIG BAND LEADER : Had Hit Songs With His Daughter

Frankie Carle, a big-band leader in the 1940s and '50s who created the popular standard "Sunrise Serenade," died Wednesday in Mesa, Ariz. He was 97.

A pianist known for his light, buoyant touch and romantic, danceable melodies, Carle also was a composer with several hits to his credit, including "Carle Boogie," "Lover's Lullaby," "Sunrise in Napoli" and "Dream Lullaby.'

His "Oh, What It Seemed To Be" was made popular by Frank Sinatra. "Sunrise Serenade," however, was Carle's best-known composition, rising to No. 1 in the nation in 1938 and selling more than a million copies.

Carle also had several hits with his daughter, singer Marjorie Hughes, including "A Little On the Lonely Side," "Rumors Are Flying" and "It's All Over Now."

Born Francis Nunzio Carlone in Providence, R.I., Carle was the son of a factory worker who could not afford a piano. So Carle practiced on a dummy keyboard devised by his uncle, pianist Nicholas Colangelo, until he found a broken-down instrument in a dance hall.

He performed as a piano soloist when he was 7 and had his first band 10 years later. He went on to play alongside such greats as drummer Gene Krupa and trombonists Jack Jenney and Jack Teagarden.

In 1939, he joined Horace Heidt and His Musical Knights, performing with singer Gordon MacRae, future bandleader Alvino Rey and singer Art Carney. He eventually rose to co-bandleader and music director before forming his own band in 1944 with his daughter as the featured vocalist.

He disbanded the group in the 1950s but continued to record piano pieces and play with an all-girl rhythm quartet called Frankie Carle and His Girl Friends.

Joking that he was out to "get some of the money they're giving to rock 'n' rollers," he went on tour for the last time in 1983, appearing with the Russ Morgan orchestra and singers Roberta Sherwood and the De Castro Sisters as the Big Band Cavalcade.

The last stop was in Milbank, S.D., on the day before his 80th birthday.

A former resident of Westlake Village, he moved to Arizona about 20 years ago. In addition to his daughter, he is survived by two grandchildren, a great-granddaughter and companion Betty Scott.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Holy Cross Church in Mesa, Arizona. Donations may be made to the Arizona Humane Society.

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