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Michael Franks
Born (1944-09-18) September 18, 1944 (age 70)
La Jolla, California
United States
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Strings
Years active 1973 – present
Labels Warner Bros. Records
Reprise Records
Rhino
Koch Records
Shanachie
Website www.michaelfranks.com

Michael Franks (born September 18, 1944 in La Jolla, California) is a jazz singer and songwriter from the United States. He has recorded with a variety of well-known artists, such as Patti Austin, Brenda Russell, Art Garfunkel, and David Sanborn. His songs have been recorded by Lyle Lovett, Kurt Elling, The Manhattan Transfer, Patti Labelle, Carmen McRae, Diana Krall, Shirley Bassey, Ringo Starr and The Carpenters.[1]

Biography[edit]

Franks grew up in southern California with his father Gerald, his mother Betty and two younger sisters. Although no one in his family played music, his parents loved swing music and his early influences included Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Johnny Mercer. At age 14 Franks bought his first guitar, a Japanese Marco Polo for $29.95 with six private lessons included - the only music education that he received.

At University High in San Diego, Franks discovered the poetry of Theodore Roethke with his off-rhymes and hidden meter. In high school, he began singing folk-rock, accompanying himself on guitar. Studying English at UCLA Michael discovered Dave Brubeck, Patti Page, Stan Getz, João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Miles Davis. He never studied music in college or later,[2] but earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA in comparative literature in 1966 and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Oregon in 1968. He had a teaching assistantship in a Ph.D. program in American literature at the University of Montreal before returning to teach part-time at UCLA.

During this time Franks started writing songs, starting with the antiwar musical Anthems in E-flat starring Mark Hamill. He also composed music for the films Count Your Bullets, Cockfighter, and Zandy's Bride, starring Liv Ullmann and Gene Hackman. Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee recorded three of his songs, including "White Boy Lost in the Blues" on their album Sonny & Brownie. Franks played guitar, banjo and mandolin on the album and joined them in touring. In 1973, he recorded an eponymous album, later reissued as Previously Unavailable, which included the minor hit "Can't Seem to Shake This Rock 'n Roll".

In 1976 Franks released his second album The Art of Tea, saw Franks begin a long relationship with Warner Brothers Music. The Art of Tea featured Joe Sample, Larry Carlton and Wilton Felder of The Crusaders and included the hit song "Popsicle Toes". His third album, Sleeping Gypsy (1977), which includes the song "The Lady Wants to Know", was partially recorded in Brazil. Around this time, percussionist Ray Armando gave Franks a cabasa, which became a signature instrument for him to play on stage when he was not playing guitar. Burchfield Nines (1978), which includes the song "When the Cookie Jar Is Empty", reflects his move to New York City and features more of an East Coast sound. Since then, Franks has recorded more than 15 albums.

His best known works include "When I Give My Love to You", "Popsicle Toes", "Monkey See, Monkey Do", "Lotus Blossom", "Tiger in the Rain", "Rainy Night in Tokyo", and "Tell Me All About It". His biggest hit came in 1983 with "When Sly Calls (Don't Touch That Phone)" from the album Passionfruit. Radio hits include "Your Secret's Safe With Me" from 1985's Skin Dive, and "Island Life" from 1987's The Camera Never Lies.

Discography[edit]

Michael Franks discography
Releases
Studio albums 18
Live albums 1
Compilation albums 5

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Label
1973 Michael Franks Brut
1976 The Art of Tea Reprise
1977 Sleeping Gypsy Warner Bros.
1978 Burchfield Nines Warner Bros.
1979 Tiger in the Rain Warner Bros.
1980 One Bad Habit Warner Bros.
1982 Objects of Desire Warner Bros.
1983 Passionfruit Warner Bros.
1983 Previously Unavailable DRG; reissue of 1973's Michael Franks
1985 Skin Dive Warner Bros.
1987 The Camera Never Lies Warner Bros.
1990 Blue Pacific Reprise
1993 Dragonfly Summer Warner Bros.
1995 Abandoned Garden Warner Bros.
1999 Barefoot on the Beach Windham Hill
2003 Watching the Snow Rhino; re-released in 2007 on Koch Records
2006 Rendezvous in Rio Koch Records
2011 Time Together Shanachie

Live albums[edit]

Year Album Label
1980 Michael Franks with Crossfire Live Warner Bros.

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album Label
1988 Indispensable: The Best of Michael Franks Warner Bros.
1998 The Best of Michael Franks: A Backward Glance Warner Bros.
2003 The Michael Franks Anthology: The Art of Love Warner Bros.
2004 Love Songs Warner Bros.
2012 The Dream 1973-2011 Warner Bros.

Appears on[edit]

Year Album Artist Label
2010 The Art of Michael Franks Veronica Nunn Dead Horse Records

References[edit]

  1. ^ Michael Franks (musician) at AllMusic
  2. ^ Smith, Baldwin "Smitty" (interviewer) (July 2006). "Jazz Monthly Feature Interview: Michael Franks". Jazz Monthly.com. 

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Franks_(musician) — Please support Wikipedia.
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