Soft-spoken, murmuring and not overly projecting, Tony Bennett is, to this day, one of the best-known jazz and ballad legends of the last century, still alive to be honored by the public
Until 2021, the date on which he officially announced his retirement, this 95-year-old American singer remained active in recitals and musical collaborations with other personalities of world show business, including Lady Gaga.
It has been 60 years of artistic career in which Bennett has reaped great successes such as 18 Grammy Awards and 19 nominations; and 2 Emmy Awards and two nominations. In addition to his musical career, he has made incursions into film, television and even as a visual artist, which can be found in numerous museums and galleries in the United States.
He is a very versatile artist, whose work and legacy will undoubtedly leave great traces of memory for the history of music of all times. Here we offer you a brief tour through his life and work, to honor his musical influence and place him in a special place in your collection.
Anthony Dominick Benedetto, better known as Tony Bennett, was born on August 3, 1926 in Astoria, USA, and is currently 96 years old. Of parents of Italian descent, he spent his childhood studying singing and painting, two activities to which he would devote himself for the rest of his life.
His grounding in jazz came from his vocal instructor, who immersed him in the music of instrumentalists rather than vocalists. After serving in the Army and fighting in World War II, Tony Bennett got his start as a singer in 1949. Although he got off to a good start, it wasn't until he met Bob Hope that his musical career took an abysmal turn: he shared the stage with Hope at the Paramount Theatre in New York.
In 1951, Bennett earned a contract with Columbia Records for his impeccable interpretation of "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". After this success, he produced with the same label a series of songs with equal impact: "Because of You", "Cold, Cold Heart", "Stranger in Paradise", "Just in Time" and "Rags to Riches". Subsequently, he decided to leave Columbia Records and started recording with his own label, without much impact, but with important participations with Ruby Braff and Bill Evans.
After a pause and after achieving great fame and popularity with his iconic song "I Left My Heart in San Francisco", Tony Bennett signs again with Columbia and extends a career without interruptions and experimenting in several genres: ballads, pop and swing, among other styles.
In an interview with "LA Times", Bennett commented on the three people who most influenced his artistic career: Leonardo Da Vinci, with whom he realized that art is never complete and always changing; Frank Sinatra, to whom he owes the courage to face several aspects of his life; and Art Tatum, with whom Tony was able to study Art's jazz style.
Bennett's music became a favorite for Generation X, and he left a legacy that was born, above all, by his self-respect and his musical style, quite accessible to the public. He has been one of the longest-serving singers in the business, with a recognizable voice and always willing to share recitals with prominent show business personalities.
COLLABORATORS IN PERFORMANCE
Among the most important collaborations in Tony Bennett's career are his participation with the following artists: Frank Sinatra, Andrea Bocelli, Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, John Mayer, Elton John, Bob Hope, Michael Bublé, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streissand, Stevie Wonder, Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Sting, Bono, George Michael, Celine Dion, Red Hot Chilli Paper and the Dixie Chicks, among others.
On the other hand, Bennett was not satisfied with just collaborating with the aforementioned stars, but also turned his interest to Spanish-speaking stars such as: Mariah Carey, Alejandro Sanz, Gloria Estefan, Vicente Fernandez, Christina Aguilera, Marc Anthony, Ricardo Arjona, Juan Luis Guerra, Thalia, Dani Martin, Romeo Santos, Chayanne, Franco De Vita and Miguel Bose.
Tony Bennett has a wide, varied and extensive musical production: more than 90 musical productions in 60 years of continuous career. Here is a selection of his most essential albums:
1957 The Beat of My Heart
1961 Bennett and Basie Strike up the Band
1962 At Carnegie Hall
1962 I Left My Heart in San Francisco
1963 I Wanna Be Around...
1968 Snowfall - The Tony Bennett Christmas Album
1986 The Art of Excellence
1990 Astoria - Portrait of the Artist
2002 A Wonderful World
2004 The Art of Romance
2006 Duets: An American Classic
2011 Duets II - Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett
2012 Viva Duets
2021 Love for Sale
MOST FAMOUS SONG
The iconic song that immortalizes her musical career is undoubtedly "I Left My Heart in San Francisco". However, it would be too simple to summarize a production of so many good hits in just one song, so it is necessary to mention other of his songs that took him to the top of the main music charts in the United States:
I Get a Kick Out of You
The Way You Look Tonight
I Left My Heart in San Francisco
Body and Soul
Rags to Riches
The Lady Is a Tramp
MTV Unplugged: Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett on Holiday
Here's to the Ladies
Tony Bennett Younger
Tony Bennett Singing
A RESPECTED AND HUMBLE ARTIST
When we look at the "Lady Gaga - Tony Bennett (Radio City)" collaboration, or search for "60 minutes Lady Gaga - Tony Bennett", or "Tony Bennett Paintings", we realize that this artist's admiration for others of his peers has been part of his influence and legacy. Singing with other stars and painting them, and making the kind of music he loved for a man who currently suffers from Alzheimer's, leaves us with a life lesson: living what you love is not work, it is living to the fullest.
We invite you to continue enjoying the best music at Jazz Images Records.