A pianist known for his light, buoyant touch and romantic, danceable melodies, Frankie Carle also was a composer with several hits to his credit, including "Carle Boogie," "Lover's Lullaby," "Sunrise in Napoli" and "Dream Lullaby."
His "Oh, What It Seemed to Be" was made popular by Frank Sinatra. "Sunrise Serenade," however, was Carle's best-known composition, rising to No. 1 in the nation in 1938 and selling more than a million copies.
Carle also had several hits with his daughter, singer Marjorie Hughes, including "A Little on the Lonely Side," "Rumors Are Flying" and "It's All Over Now."
Born Francis Nunzio Carlone in Providence, R.I., Carle was the son of a factory worker who could not afford a piano. So Carle practiced on a dummy keyboard devised by his uncle, pianist Nicholas Colangelo, until he found a broken-down instrument in a dance hall.
He performed as a piano soloist when he was 7 and had his first band 10 years later. He went on to play alongside such greats as drummer Gene Krupa and trombonists Jack Jenney and Jack Teagarden.
In 1939, he joined Horace Heidt and His Musical Knights, performing with singer Gordon MacRae, future bandleader Alvino Rey and singer Art Carney. He eventually rose to cobandleader and music director before forming his own band in 1944 with his daughter as the featured vocalist.
He disbanded the group in the 1950s, but continued to record piano pieces and play with an all-girl rhythm quartet called Frankie Carle and His Girl Friends.
Joking that he was out to "get some of the money they're giving to rock 'n' rollers," he went on tour for the last time in 1983, appearing with the Russ Morgan orchestra and singers Roberta Sherwood and the De Castro Sisters as the Big Band Cavalcade.
The last stop was in Milbank, S.D., on the day before his 80th birthday.