Frank Sinatra signs with Capitol Records
In 1953, Sinatra signed with Capitol Records, where he worked with many of the finest musical arrangers of the era, most notably Nelson Riddle, Gordon Jenkins, and Billy May.
Sinatra reinvented himself with a series of albums featuring darker emotional material, starting with In the Wee Small Hours (1955), and followed by Frank Sinatra Sings For Only The Lonely (1958), and Where Are You? (1957). He also developed a hipper, "swinging" persona, as heard on Swing Easy! (1954), Songs For Swingin' Lovers (1956), Come Fly With Me (1957).
By the end of the year, Billboard named "Young at Heart" Song of the Year, Swing Easy! with Nelson Riddle at the helm, (his second album for Capitol) was named Album of the Year and Sinatra was named "Top Male Vocalist" by Billboard, Down Beat and Metronome.
He also signed a contract with Capitol Records and had major hit records with "Young At Heart," "Learnin' The Blues" and "The Tender Trap". Capitol later released Songs For Swinging Lovers and NBC offered him a multimillion dollar, write-his-own-ticket TV contract.
The 1950s roster now included Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, The Andrews Sisters, Jackie Gleason, Jane Froman, Wesley Tuttle, Ray Anthony, Andy Griffith, Shirley Bassey, Merle Travis, The Kingston Trio (who in 1960 would account for 20% of all record sales for Capitol), Dean Martin, The Four Freshmen, Al Martino, Dinah Shore and Nancy Wilson. There were also some notable comedy recordings, including several by Stan Freberg and the Yiddish-dialect parodies of Mickey Katz. The label also began recording rock and roll acts such as The Jodimars and Gene Vincent.