Frankie Vaughan was born Frank Abelson to a Jewish family in Devon Street, Liverpool, England. The name ‘Vaughan’ came from a grandmother whose first grandson he was, who used to call Frank ‘my number one’ grandson, in whose Russian accent ‘one’ sounded like ‘Vaughan’. This copy of “Music Maestro Please” LP has been hand signed by Mr Vaughan on the front cover in black ink.
In his early life, he was a member of the Lancaster Lads Club, a member group of the National Association of Boys’ Clubs in the UK, and in his career he was a major contributor to the clubs, dedicating his monetary compensation from one song each year to them. He was an evacuee during World War II. He started out at the club intending to be a boxer. Then at age 14 he received a scholarship to the Lancaster College of Art, where he sang in the dance band. After a stint in the Royal Army Medical Corps in World War II (where he spent most of his time boxing) he returned to art school, this time at the Leeds College of Art.
When he won a prize to design a furniture exhibition stand, he left for London, where he won second prize on a radio talent show.
Vaughan’s career began in the late 1940s in the theatre doing variety song and dance acts. He was known as a fancy dresser, wearing top hat, bow tie, tails, and carrying a cane. In the 1950s he worked for a few years with the Nat Temple band, and after that period he then began making records, and was popular in the UK. In 1955, he recorded what was to become his trademark song, “Give Me the Moonlight, Give Me the Girl”.
He recorded a large number of songs that were covers of United States hit songs, including Perry Como’s “Kewpie Doll,” Jimmie Rodgers’ “Kisses Sweeter than Wine,” Boyd Bennett’s “Seventeen” (also covered in the US by the Fontane Sisters), Jim Lowe’s “The Green Door,” and (with The Kaye Sisters), The Fleetwoods’ “Come Softly to Me”. From the 1950s through to the early 1960s, his recordings were popular in the UK. In 1956, his cover of “The Green Door” reached #2 in the UK Singles Chart. The same year he was voted ‘Show business Personality of the Year’. In early 1957, his version of “The Garden of Eden”, reached #1 in the UK Singles Chart. In 1961, Vaughan hit #1 in the UK again, with “Tower of Strength”, but the rise of beat music eclipsed his chart career for two or three years, before he returned to the Top 10 in 1967 with “There Must Be A Way”. Chart success eluded him after this although he did have two more Top 40 singles; “Nevertheless” and “So Tired”.
Managed at this time by the former journalist and theatrical agent Paul Cave, he went to the United States in 1960 to make a movie with Marilyn Monroe, Let’s Make Love, and was an actor in several other movies, but his recordings were never chart hits in the US. In 1961, Vaughan was on the bill at the Royal Variety Performance at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Coventry Street,London.