Widely held to be the greatest singer in American pop history, Sinatra was also the first modern pop superstar. He defined that role in the early 1940s when his first solo appearances provoked the kind of mass pandemonium that later greeted Elvis Presley and the Beatles. ...

From 1943 to 1945, he was the lead singer on "Your Hit Parade" and at the same time began recording for Columbia. Because of a musicians' strike, the accompaniment on his first several recording sessions for the label was a vocal chorus called the Bobby Tucker Singers, instead of an orchestra. In June 1943, however, Columbia rereleased a recording he had made in September 1939 with Harry James. The recording, "All or Nothing at All," which had sold 8,000 copies in its first release, sold over a million.

Once the musicians' strike was settled in November 1944, Sinatra began recording with Axel Stordahl, who had been a trombonist and lead arranger with Tommy Dorsey. Stordahl's sweet string-laced settings for Sinatra's recordings silhouetted a yearning voice that one writer compared to "worn velveteen."