Frank Sinatra: Trapped in Australia

frank-sinatra-1281484_1920The well-known singer Frank Sinatra had a long and successful career, but things didn’t always go smoothly (not always without problems) for him, according to the National Archives. The 58-year-old singer arrived in Melbourne, Australia on July 9, 1974 to give several concerts: two in Melbourne and three in Sydney.

Sinatra had come out of retirement (start working again after ending his career) to perform these concerts, so reporters were eager (wanting very much) to talk to him. They tried to talk to him when he arrived at the airport, but he refused to give any interviews (have meetings with reporters to answer questions). Without anything to write about, the reporters wrote of his alleged (claimed but not proven) mafia ties (connections with crime organizations) and ran photos of his many female companions with the caption (words under a photo) “Sinatra’s molls.” A gangster is someone working in a criminal organization and a “moll” was a term used for a gangster’s girlfriend.

Sinatra saw the articles and wasn’t happy. Following his opening number (first song in a concert) at the Melbourne concert that evening, Sinatra complained about being chased (run after) all day. He called the press parasites (organisms or living things that feed off of other living things) and said that female reporters who work for the press were hookers (women who sell sex for money).

As you can imagine, the press was not at all happy with Sinatra. The next morning, the Australian Journalists‘ (reporters) Union (organization of workers) demanded an apology (asked forcefully for him to say “sorry”). Sinatra refused (said “no”).

The head (leader) of the Journalists’ Union asked the other unions for help. The theatrical (related to the theater or stage where people perform) unions cancelled Sinatra’s second concert in Melbourne. The Transport Workers Union members refused to refuel (put more gas or fuel into) Sinatra’s private jet (small, fast airplane). Hotel union members would not serve Sinatra or the people with him or handle (move or carry) their luggage.

Sinatra flew on a commercial (not private; owned by a company) airline to Sydney for his other three concerts. When he got there, he found out that the theatrical unions there had canceled his three Sydney concerts. And he was trapped (could not go where he wanted)—he couldn’t fly on his private jet or on a commercial airline: the Transport Workers Union refused to fuel any commercial airplane which might carry Sinatra.

The head of the Australian Journalists’ Union told Sinatra that if he didn’t apologize, Sinatra would have to stay in Australia indefinitely (for an unlimited period of time), because he would not be allowed to leave unless he could walk on water.

Finally, Sinatra’s attorney (lawyer) asked for a meeting. The meeting involved U.S. and Australian government officials and 15 union representatives. The meetings lasted a long time, but finally a compromise (agreement in which neither side gets everything it wants) was reached. Sinatra refused to apologize but agreed to sign a statement that he did not intend to insult the Australian press and regretted any harm that his presence (him being there) had caused.

All sides must have been satisfied because his last Sydney concert was rescheduled (held at a different day or time). He was more reserved (not showing emotions) on stage this time. Sinatra and his entourage (people surrounding or traveling with an important person) did finally fly out of Australia.

This was an experience Sinatra did not easily forget. In a later concert in New York, he told an audience: “A funny (strange) thing happened in Australia. I made a mistake and got off the plane.”

I guess all was forgiven, though, because Sinatra returned to Australia to perform in 1988, 1989, and 1991.

~ Lucy

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7 Responses to Frank Sinatra: Trapped in Australia

  1. Tania says:

    When you reach a high position in society you believe that everything is allowed to you.
    I think that it was a good lesson for Sinatra.
    Frank Sinatra is one of the symbols of America. I admire him.
    Thank you.

    Best wishes,


  2. Hilario says:

    A PUDDLE.-
    Sinatra has a reputation of always finding a puddle to step-on when he toured to foreign countries.
    He goofed also in Madrid when he confronted the Franco´s dictatorship when he reacted after some disputes with the official censorship that wanted to know the lyrics of the songs previously and he claimed that there was a Fascist regime in Spain with no respect for human rights and that he would never come again neither for giving concerts or even visiting as tourist after finishing his last contracted concert.
    There’s always reasons for behaviour and in that case it seemed like as that a young and brave Spanish bullfighter was much prefered by his then girlfriend at the time and that it was that what drove him mad. To make things worst, the heart press had posted many photos of the glamorous torero-hollywood actress couple while flirting and kissing each other on a sunny beach, she watching him at a bullfighting plaza in a first row seat in front of arena or in a Flamenco dancing club. The heart press even published acid comments about such a sensible issue for a man with latin roots and latin ancestors like Sinatra was. Latin people use to mock very much of people being cheated by their couple. It´s a roman cultural “heritage” throughout the mediterranean people and they call it a man to whom someone have “put the horns” and for that reason people say that he is held as wearing horns for a while.
    The famous “voice” with horns then or quite properly the horned man, as usually happen, was he the last one to know the thing happening in Spain with his supposed girlfriend and flew to the country without knowing the on-going affair and with his entourage probably like gossiping around without daring to say nothing about.
    It was true, for sure, everything negative about Franco regime was true and more, but it was a derivative reason in order to hide the real pathetic reason, and to appear in public as being so angry about the inconveniences of dictatorships. The horns hurt a lot.

  3. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    I didn’t know Sinatra was stuborn that much Poor man.
    From Brazil

  4. emiliano says:

    The Voice was a splendid good singer but may be not so good as a person being that behavior in Australia.
    What Hilario said are the real events here in Spain, what he have not said it is that the beautiful actress was
    “the one” unique and gorgeous Ava Gardner who has some roots from Spain.
    The bullfighter was Luis Miguel Dominguin and you may watch the photos of them together in the web.

    Ava Gardner, I like her just a lot, likes Spain absolutely in fact she lived her for a long time.

    By the way I like Sinatra very very much, in my opinion one of the best singers of last century.


  5. emiliano says:

    By the way Sinatra was in Spain acting in the film “The Pride and the Passion” directed by Stanley Kramer
    also with Sofia Loren and Cary Grant, it was on the year 1957 and it was the time when the dictator Franco
    was in Spain.

    It seems that he has not any controversy against making a movie here in Spain, with Franco as dictator.
    At the end money is money, with or without the dictator.


  6. Davy says:

    ???, This story is very funny, as himself uses to say “something funny happened to me”. For me the Australian journalists were wrong about everything they are the ones who started with provocations. So to me the Guy was write about everything because he didn’t do anything wrong but was just responded to the defy.
    Again with have to add that the Australian unions at that time were very united I’m wondering if it’s still the same thing today.

    Davy Brinuel

  7. emiliano says:

    Dear Davy that´s corporatism between professionals, now I don´t think that´s could happens
    as everything is changing.
    The crisis puts everything upside down and every one looks for their own job.

    Thank Davy for you opinion, you are welcome.


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