Linda Nolan on touring with Frank Sinatra in 1975
I WAS 15 WHEN this picture was taken, at the beginning of our career as The Nolan Sisters – we were supporting Frank Sinatra on the European leg of his tour. One day, early on in the tour, following our set at the Palais des Congrès in Paris, we heard his voice as we walked down the corridor. We hadn’t actually met him at that point and we froze and whispered to each other, ‘This can’t be happening!’ When we went to say hello, he put his arms around us and said, in a really bad Irish accent, ‘Oh, I’ve got me daughters here.’ We were all laughing when the photo was taken, which is why I’m not looking at the camera.
Our act was 17 minutes long and Sinatra let us use his 60-piece orchestra. The first time we sang a ballad (The Osmonds’ version of I Believe) with the orchestra, our management told us to look like we knew what we were doing. We’d never worked with an orchestra before and, when the song finished, we all screamed with excitement, and you could see our management team shrinking in their chairs and thinking, ‘Oh, God.’
We toured all the major venues with Frank for two weeks, including two shows at the Royal Albert Hall. Our Dad, Tommy, had brought us up on his music, so to be asked to appear with him was a fairy tale. At the Royal Albert Hall we watched from the side of the stage while Frank rehearsed one of his ballads, and he came over to us and said, ‘You girls won’t know this one,’ but we knew all the songs and we sang the next chorus for him!
Dad was thrilled when he found out we were supporting Frank. When he and Mum came to the show, we brought them backstage to meet him.
In Brussels we bought a little doll and asked for it to be given to Frank for his first grandchild. The next time we bumped into him, he was with Elizabeth Taylor and all his security team, and he pushed his way through and came over and said, ‘Thank you so much for the doll. I’m going to take it home in my luggage and make sure that AJ gets it.’
At one point we saw him with three of his wives together: Mia Farrow, Ava Gardner and his wife at the time, Barbara Marx. Plus, Michael Caine was in the audience. It was just like being in a Hollywood musical, and we still say that was the highlight of our career.
When the tour ended, Sinatra gave us all a gold key ring with a little medallion on it that said ‘Love and Peace – Frank Sinatra’, and then we flew home and were back at school on the Monday. Our school friends weren’t too fussed that we’d toured with him – at the time they were more impressed when we were on Top of the Pops –but their parents were.
— Interview by Jessica Carpani.
At one point we saw him with three of his wives together: Mia Farrow, Ava Gardner and Barbara Marx
From left Linda, Anne, Denise, Maureen and Bernie Nolan with Frank Sinatra