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Thread: Frank's Tapes Discography

  1. #1

    Frank's Tapes Discography

    Double truck ad/announcement in Billboard (May 25, 1968)

    Lauded for outstanding contributions in the field of recorded sound, Frank Sinatra was the recipient of Ampex Stereo Tape's third annual "Artistry in Sound" award for 1968. Previous winners had been Mantovani and Herb Alpert; future winners would be Aretha Franklin and Steppenwolf. The honor was symbolized by a triptych (a rare pre-Renaissance art form) depicting Sinatra: the Singer, the Actor, the Man, as displayed above in Ampex's trade ad announcement. "Sinatra, the Man," from the third panel of the triptych, was also represented on a 24x36-inch Ampex promotional poster.

    Ampex duplicated and produced the Reprise catalog for 8-track cartridges and cassettes in the 1960s and '70s. Reel-to-reel duplication was primarily overseen by Greentree Electronics/Bell & Howell/Magtec. Four-track cartridge duplication was handled by Muntz.

    Following the 21st century resurgence of vinyl, there has been a mini-revival of audio cassettes by classic and new artists, with a small but noteworthy number of reissues and special edition releases. The rediscovery of cassettes emphasizes the importance of preserving the history of the various tape formats.

    Although audio tapes accounted for a significant portion of the consumer market from the 1960s through the 1990s, most discographies treat these releases as if they never existed. This deficiency is compounded by the fact that, beyond tape editions of familiar LPs and CDs, there have been many unique releases on tape.

    The FS Discography features extensive lists of various formats for album tapes, EP tapes and singles tapes. In conjunction with the discography, the FS Sessionography recognizes "split" edits that were created to accommodate 8-track cartridge programs.

    The following posts are a sampling of interesting and, in many cases, unique FS releases on audio tape.

    Last edited by AndrewT; 10-04-2016 at 12:29 PM.

  2. #2


    Frank Sinatra Sings For Only The Lonely was his first stereo album on vinyl, issued in abridged form in late 1958, following its recent mono counterpart. However, the 2-track, 7½ ips. (inches per second) reel-to-reel edition of Where Are You? (ZD-17) (also abridged) had been the first Sinatra stereo album available on any format. This highly collectible tape and The Stars In Stereo reel-to-reel sampler (with a stereo version of "I'm A Fool To Want You" not included on the Where Are You? tape edition) were listed in the January 6, 1958 Billboard's "Brilliant New Stereo Tapes."

    Billboard's February 3, 1958 review of the reel-to-reel edition of Where Are You? noted:

    "Sinatra's voice floats out realistically from somewhere midway between speakers. True, he's not glued to a spot. There is movement, but a night club singer moves around with a hand mike, too. ... Must merchandise for any stereo dealer."

    Quote Originally Posted by MMM View Post
    There were stereo reel to reel tapes issued before LP's. LP's began to be released by commercial labels in 1958.

    The first Sinatra/Capitol stereo reel I know of was the 2 track version of Where Are You?. If you're familiar with reels, you'll know that most commercially issued tapes were 4 track - 2 tracks (left/right) in each direction. 2 track tapes had all the music in 1 direction, and used twice as much tape. They also allowed for better sound, due to the wider "tracks".

    I don't know when the 2 track Where Are You? was issued. It may have been before the stereo LP, but I can't say. I believe it was the only Sinatra 2 track tape release, and should still command a premium in price, at least with people who understand what it is.
    Thanks to Matt Lutthans for pointing out that the ZD-17 edition is a "unique mix."

    Quote Originally Posted by mlutthans
    ...The very first stereo release of the album, on Capitol 2-track 7.5 ips reel-to-reel tape, Catalog ZD-17 ... before it was released on stereo LP, 1959. It's a unique mix, not just the usual LP stereo mix. (It's also utterly different from the awful-sounding Y2W-2339 release of the 1960s...)
    Where Are You? & No One Cares (Y2W-2339) would be issued on 4-track reel-to-reel tape circa late 1965 as part of Capitol's 2 on 1 "Leisure Listening" series, with Capitol's "New Biasonic Process" which, according to Magnetic Tape Duplicators (MTD), "made possible the first 3¾-inches-per-second high fidelity tapes on reel."

    All The Way & Sinatra's Swingin' Session!!! ['Leisure Listening' Series]
    Point Of No Return & Sinatra Sings ... Of Love And Things ['Leisure Listening' Series]
    Sinatra, The Great Years ['Leisure Listening' Series]
    Dean Martin: Sleep Warm & This Time I'm Swingin' [Leisure Listening' Series]

    More 2 on 1 reel-to-reels: Reprise "Twin-Packs" ...

    Some reel-to-reel covers feature alternate artwork, most notably the second reel-to-reel edition of Ring-A-Ding Ding! by the "newly reactivated Stereo Tapes, Inc." (stylized as "Stereotape" on the back of the box and reel label).

    Quote Originally Posted by mlutthans View Post
    Reel-to-reel tapes: There were two releases, and we have actually procured copies of each, and here's what we found. The first release, #RSL-1701, contained the same front cover as the LP, and contained a gorgeous sounding non-slapback mix. The back cover, oddly, did not include the photo of Frank from the back of the LP jacket. Another odd quirk with this version: Side one contains the first seven songs, while side two only contains five songs. Go figure! This first release was manufactured by Ampex, and I really can't overstate how good this reel sounds. The SECOND release, #S9-1001, manufactured by Stereo Tape, Inc., is the one with the famous alternate cover, was issued on November 10, 1962, and it contains the "slapback" stereo mix. This version reproduces the original LP rear cover, including the photo of Frank. Of the two reel versions, the first one, #RSL-1701, is vastly superior in terms of sonics, but the alternate cover version is very cool just for the cover, of course! Both tapes run at 7.5 inches per second.

    Most Reprise reel-to-reel tapes in the 1960s were manufactured and distributed by Stereotape, a division of Greentree Electronics. The Stereotape Showcase sampler contains
    "A connoisseur's collection of outstanding stereo hits by the world's most popular recording stars."

    World Tape Club (a division of World Record Club) mail-order reel-to-reels in the U.K. and Australia also featured alternate artwork.

    Twenty-nine tracks from four Sinatra albums (Sinatra's Sinatra, Sinatra-Basie, Sinatra And Swingin' Brass, and Sinatra Conducts Music From Pictures And Plays) were selected to be part of the 110 recordings (more than 5 hours) on the first commercially recorded reel-to-reel at 1⅞ ips.: Limited Edition Collector's Album: Famous Artists Selections – Roberts Electronics.

    This limited edition (1,000) reel-to-reel tape was given away with the purchase of the Roberts Crossfield 770 tape recorder/player. From the tape's booklet:

    "This is your 'Limited Edition Collector's Album' 1⅞ IPS hi fi stereo tape album. Because of an exclusive arrangement with top recording companies and artists, Roberts Electronics, manufacturers of the Distinguished Family of Fine Tape Recorders, is the first to produce a commercially recorded sound tape at this new speed. ...

    "This tape is the first to be produced on the first 1⅞ IPS high fidelity production duplicating equipment in use in this country, the design of which was inspired by the Roberts Crossfield development. ...

    "This 'first' in high fidelity tape recording at slow speed is a true collector's item. It has been produced in a very limited, serial-numbered quantity and is not for sale. No one can go to a music store and buy a duplicate of what you have here. Roberts has made this available to you in order that you may immediately hear the wonderful world of sound that has now become possible for you with the purchase of your Roberts 770 Crossfield tape recorder."

    American Airlines AstroVision and AstroStereo reel-to-reel tapes with numerous Sinatra (Frank and Nancy) Reprise recordings were issued as in-flight programs from 1965 to 1971. These collections were also available commercially. See Flyin' With Nancy for additional details.

    American Airlines AstroVision Program Number 7 (1965)
    18 Radiant Stars In 65 Peerless Performances [American Airlines AstroVision Popular Program No. 11] (1965)
    Sky-Rider's Popular Stereo Showcase [American Airlines AstroStereo Popular Program No. 19] (1966)
    AstroStereo Showplace Of The Stars [American Airlines AstroStereo Popular Program No. 36] (1967)
    Stereo Gems…..Lush As The Setting Sun [American Airlines AstroStereo Popular Program No. 45] (1968)
    Take Wing…To The Superb Sounds Of Stereo [American Airlines AstroStereo Popular Program No. 59] (1969)
    A Galaxy Of Stereo Treasures [American Airlines AstroStereo Popular Program No. 64] (1970)

    An Airborne Stereo Adventure [American Airlines AstroStereo Popular Program No. 69] (1971)
    An Aurora Of Radiant Stereo [American Airlines AstroStereo Popular Program No. 78] (1971)

    According to the February 13, 1965 Billboard, in the article "American Airlines, Billb'd Enter Pact on Music-in-Sky":

    "Under terms of this agreement, The Billboard Publishing Company will be responsible for selecting the outstanding new disk releases in both the popular and classical music fields. Passengers aboard American flights will enjoy a choice of a pop or classical music in addition to visual (movie and TV) entertainment."

    FS was featured on the cover of AstroStereo Number 7's program guide: " ageless as the songs he sings."

    By 1980, sales of pre-recorded reel-to-reel tapes had diminished greatly as cassettes continued to soar in popularity. Trilogy's reel edition was apparently issued only as a Columbia House mail-order item.

    Last edited by AndrewT; 10-04-2016 at 12:32 PM.

  3. #3

    4-Track Cartridge

    Multi-faceted businessman Earl "Madman" Muntz developed the Muntz Stereo-Pak 4-track cartridge for the "Autostereo" in-car system, the "Porta-Four" portable player, and home tape decks. More information, including the movie trailer for a documentary about Muntz, can be found in Magnetic Nancy, Part One.

    Billboard magazine's September 17, 1966 fifth anniversary tribute to Muntz's Stereo-Pak opened with "A Man And His Magic," a nod to the 1965 TV special and album, A Man And His Music. The All Alone Stereo-Pak is displayed on the left side of the montage.

    Previously issued Reprise and Capitol albums were re-formatted for Stereo-Paks beginning in 1966 and 1967 respectively.

    The Muntz Mini-Pak was the first singles format cartridge and FS was the first artist to be represented. According to "Memoirs of Muntz Stereo-Pak" in the Billboard tribute:

    "July, 1966 - Development of the Muntz Mini-Pak cartridge priced at $1.19 announced. Sinatra's 'Strangers In The Night' programmed as first single cut on Mini-Pak cartridge."

    That's Life / September Of My Years Muntz Mini-Pak was featured in this December 17, 1966 ad.

    The Muntz Mini-Twin, a four-song hits EP cartridge, was announced in November 1967. Frank Sinatra's Giant Hits was among the first of this format's unique collections.

    Last edited by AndrewT; 10-02-2016 at 04:40 PM.

  4. #4


    "Pick. Push. Play."

    Now the least-known and rarest tape format, PlayTapes also had the shortest commercial life, with the possible exception of the digital compact cassette (see post #6).

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewT View Post
    Introduced by Frank Stanton and manufactured during the late 1960s, PlayTapes are self-winding, 2-track, mono cartridges. Each tape can hold up to twenty-four minutes of audio. Promoted as the ultimate in portable music for their time and the replacement for the transistor radio, they can be considered as the forerunner of the Walkman and the iPod.

    Quote Originally Posted by BajasDogs View Post
    PlayTapes were the first commercial tape cartridge to be released for portable use. Finally you did not have to lug your favorite records or them messy reel to reels around with you!


    Because of the small size, 2 1/2" x 3" x 1/2" they are as collectable as baseball cards and don't take up much room to store.

    Did you know Volkswagen even installed car players in their Bugs And Buses? It was the invention of the Century!

    PlayTape2 players and tapes were invented around 1965 and by 1970 stores had sold out their existing inventory. The end had come for the PlayTape Music Machines and Cartridges, as 8 tracks had takin' over the market. They were instantly turned into collectors items!
    Quote Originally Posted by BajasDogs View Post
    PlayTapes came in bubble packs.

    In some stores they hung on the walls all around the place. Some hung them up behind the counter to prevent shoplifting.

    As with the changes in the generations of tapes the packaging had slight variations. Most notable were the bright colors to attract the consumers eye.

    Here we have the 3 generations of packaging that Frank Sinatra's Playtapes came in.
    First generation plain White. Second generation came in Yellow, Orange or Blue. Third generation came in Purple and Orange or Green and Blue.

    PlayTapes were available in five color cartridges based on category:

    Red cartridges = 2 songs (single)
    Black cartridges = 4 songs (EP)
    Blue cartridges = children's albums
    White cartridges = usually 8 songs (abridged album)
    Gray cartridges = talk and educational material

    Last edited by AndrewT; 10-02-2016 at 08:27 AM.

  5. #5

    8-Track Cartridge

    Developed by Bill Lear in the mid-1960s, 8-track releases usually contain resequenced tracklists in comparison to vinyl LP editions.

    In 1966, Muntz announced that production was beginning on 8-track cartridges for 80 titles in the Warners-Reprise catalog. However, by early 1967, Ampex would duplicate and produce an initial release of 109 titles for Warner Bros./Reprise.

    That's Life was prominently featured on the first page of a double truck ad in Billboard's March 11, 1967 issue.

    Similar to its "Leisure Listening" series for reel-to-reel in 1965, Capitol began issuing "Twin Pack" 8-tracks with two albums on one cartridge in November 1967.

    Come Dance With Me / Only The Lonely [2 on 1, Resequenced]
    No One Cares / Nice 'N' Easy [2 on 1, Resequenced]
    Where Are You? / Come Fly With Me [2 on 1, Resequenced]

    Arguably the rarest and most valuable item in tape release history is the Sinatra-Jobim 8-track.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guest View Post
    According to the short explanation in Sinatra Treasures by Charles Pignone (which contains the Greyhound Bus artwork)...
    From page 172 of Sinatra Treasures:

    "But, when all was said and done, Sinatra did not feel entirely comfortable with the mood of the album. The album was scrapped, although several of the tracks that had been recorded were subsequently released on the the 1970 Reprise album Sinatra and Company."

    The following SFF post quoted an article from 8-Track Heaven's "Hall Of Fame."

    Quote Originally Posted by Guest View Post
    **neat article**WHO KNEW There are only "5" copies known to exist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Frank Sinatra with Antonio Carlos Jobim
    "Sinatra Jobim"

    Reprise/W7 1028

    There is a lot of mystery and lore surrounding this mythological cart, but the story goes like this: All that was ever produced by this collaboration between Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim was a vinyl test pressing and 3,500 8-Tracks. After this Sinatra/Jobim collaboration was cancelled (for reasons unknown to me), a memo was issued by Warner ordering the destruction of all but three copies of the 3,500 8-track tapes that had been manufactured of this release. Warner sent this memo to all the retailers and distributors for all the unsold copies, and they even went so far as attempting to get back all the SOLD copies as well, by issuing a recall! Whether or not their efforts were successful are to this day unknown, but there are fewer than 5 copies of the tape known to exist.
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewT View Post
    As mentioned in post #13 of [the 'Sinatra-Jobim Album Question'] thread, one was sold on eBay for $4,550 in 2006: archived auction details.
    The first release of "Wave" was in two parts, divided on programs 3 and 4.

    Last edited by AndrewT; 10-04-2016 at 03:31 PM. Reason: Added quote from "Sinatra Treasures."

  6. #6

    Cassette/Digital Compact Cassette

    One of the most unusual FS "box sets" in cassette form is Chrysler's Sinatra... The Imperial Collection.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewT View Post
    A collection of sixteen FS cassette releases and a leather tote bag were given as a premium for purchasers of the Chrysler Imperial FS edition.

    It Might As Well Be Swing
    Academy Award Winners
    Sinatra's Sinatra
    Softly As I Leave You
    September Of My Years
    My Kind Of Broadway
    Strangers In The Night
    That's Life
    The World We Knew
    My Way
    A Man Alone
    Trilogy [3 tapes]
    ....."The Past"
    ....."The Present"
    ....."The Future"
    Frank Sinatra's Greatest Hits [Volume 1]

    From the Chrysler Dealer Ordering Brochure:

    "Sinatra did it his way–selecting 16 of his favorite cassette albums for the Imperial FS." ...

    "Your 16 Frank Sinatra tapes are sent to your dealer and presented to you when you take delivery of your new Imperial FS. These tapes come in a special tote bag designed by Mark Cross, one of America's premier leather manufacturers. In the Mark Cross tradition, the tote bag is constructed of the highest-quality scratch-resistant leather with leather straps and solid brass fittings."

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob in Boston View Post
    The cassettes fit into two holder trays which could be placed in the car's center floor console...

    Chrysler was not the only auto manufacturer associated with Sinatra music on tape. There were several General Motors-Delco/Bose demonstration cassettes for Cadillac, Chevrolet/Corvette and Oldsmobile that employed recordings, including this Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab cassette with the Capitol version of "Night And Day."

    In the mid 1980s, Capitol issued several cassette-only "budget" collections, including Come Fly With Me (also issued on cassette as Around The World). Not strictly a reissue of the original 1959 concept album, it followed its namesake's theme with an abridged version of the tracklist supplemented with "Sentimental Journey," "Chicago," "Around The World" and "I Love Paris."

    Other Capitol cassette compilations during this era:

    Among many international releases that were issued only on tape, I've Got The World On A String And 15 Other Top Tracks appeared in the U.K. on cassette and 8-track as part of Capitol's "Tape Extra Series."

    Associated with 1990-91 Diamond Jubilee Tour, the Chivas Regal Presents Frank Sinatra's Diamond Jubilee Collection cassette features well-known Capitol tracks.

    Another rare format, the digital compact cassette (DCC) is represented in the FS Discography. Introduced in 1992 as a tape alternative to the MiniDisc, DCC's recorded and played in digital with direct access to each track and a sliding metal cover built into the housing. The Capitol Collector's Series CD/standard cassette was reissued in both MiniDisc and DCC formats.

    Last edited by AndrewT; 10-03-2016 at 06:07 PM.

  7. #7


    Quadraphonic mixes of Sinatra albums were issued on reel-to-reel and 8-track cartridge, as well as on Quadradisc vinyl, in 1973 and '74. Quad reel-to-reel tapes for the previously issued My Way and Frank Sinatra's Greatest Hits, Volume 2 and new release Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back were recorded at 7½ ips.

    Those three albums plus Some Nice Things I've Missed and The Main Event were also released on quad 8-track cartridge.

    Quote Originally Posted by MMM View Post
    When we mention Quad 8 track tapes (if you're unfamiliar with them), these were different than a typical 8 track - they had two "programs" of music instead of four, as 4 of the 8 "tracks" get used at once instead of 2. That was necessary as, unlike conventional stereo that has two channels - left & right, they provide discrete 4 channel surround sound - front left and right + rear left and right. ...

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewT View Post
    This October 6, 1973 ad lists My Way and Greatest Hits, Volume 2, and displays the reel to reel version of Greatest Hits, Volume 2 in the "merchandiser" rack.

    Last edited by AndrewT; 10-04-2016 at 12:36 PM.

  8. #8
    Andrew, kudos for this amazingly detailed compendium.
    When You're Here, It's Family