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Who had more talent: Sammy Davis, Jr. or Frank Sinatra?

Frank Sinatra would have been 100 years old on December 12, 2015.

Frank Sinatra

Sinatra’s career spanned six decades – thanks to his ability to reinvent himself as a big-band vocalist, a teeny-bop pop star, a movie star, a Vegas hipster and a mature stylist who defined the 20th-century Great American Songbook.

The crooner won 11 Grammys, an Oscar, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal.

Yet, many feel that Sinatra’s contemporary, Sammy Davis, Jr. had much more talent than "Old Blue Eyes".

Sammy Davis was also a multi-faceted entertainer. He was a talented impressionist, a good singer, a funny comedian and a gifted dancer.  His most well-known recordings were Old Black Magic, I Gotta Be Me, and perhaps most famously, The Candy Man.

Below is a dramatic rendering of the classic, Who Can I Turn To? The ending is fantastic!

Many think he was far more talented than Frank Sinatra.

A while back I read, Deconstructing Sammy, which describes how the singer died $7 million in debt.

Why did Sinatra have a better career?

It’s true that Davis made bad decisions and hung around with some unsavory characters, but

so did Frank.

It’s also true that African Americans of that time were still being subjected to blatant forms of racism and inequality.

But, according to author, Matt Birkbeck, Sammy's biggest mistake was not negotiating to own his own master recordings.

Artists who own their own masters usually enjoy much higher residual or passive income.

Sammy Davis, Jr. grossed over $50 million over a six-decade career, but by age 50, the bulk of his income was derived from his sparse live performances.

Sammy would have to work almost his entire life–that is, physically put in time–in order to get paid.

By contrast, Frank Sinatra, whose career also lasted 60 years, signed contracts that called for ownership of the masters to revert back to “Old Blue Eyes.”

Frank even owned his own record label, Reprise.  And guess who was under contract to that label?  That’s right, Sammy Davis, Jr.

Davis practiced the old work model:  work once, get paid once.  Sinatra found a way to work once and get paid over and over again.

You get diminishing returns on talent, if you’re not smart about how you work.

Be like Frank

These days, everyone has an opportunity to practice the Frank Sinatra Model.  It’s easier than ever to work ONCE and get paid over and over.

The easiest way to do this is to become a recognized expert in your area of expertise.  Do this by writing articles and giving presentations.  Then, re-purpose that content.

Be like Frank.

Another way to get paid over and over for the same work is create an information product that helps people. An info product is a book, an e-book or a premium video or audio program..

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