A rare photo of Ruth tickling the ivories alongside Frank Sinatra (left) and Tommy Dorsey

This week (Dec. 12, 2017)would have marked Frank Sinatra's 102nd birthday. To wit, we remember the Canadian woman whose sorrowful serenade helped make Ol' Blue Eyes a star.

In September 1940, Ruth Lowe, 26, with golden hair and a Cheshire smile, brought a guest to meet her mother and sister at her mom's apartment in downtown Toronto. Already an accomplished pianist and songwriter, she introduced the skinny, handsome crooner whose melodic baritone gave voice to a song that, though born in the depths of her worst despair, had become the first No.1 single ever on the brand new Billboard music chart – a position it held for 12 weeks. Improbably, on the back of one mournful ballad, the daughter of a poor butcher from Toronto and the son of Italian immigrants from New Jersey were suddenly music sensations.

"He was just starting [out]," Lowe's younger sister, Micky Cohen, 95, recalls of the crooner. "He was a nice young man with a wonderful voice, and that's all I knew."

The crooner called her sister "Ruthie." To Ruth, he was "Frankie," but everyone else called him Frank. Frank Sinatra.

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