Tony Bennett poses with his award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.
Tony Bennett receives Grammy Award.
(Every one of Tony’s millions of devoted fans will treasur...)
Every one of Tony’s millions of devoted fans will treasure this definitive volume. Tony Bennett, the world’s most beloved living legend, has a talent that’s simply timeless.
(To mark the occasion of his 85th birthday, Tony Bennett r...)
To mark the occasion of his 85th birthday, Tony Bennett released DUETS II, which made music history, hitting #1 on the Billboard chart. Tony once again recorded his greatest hits with today's greatest artists.
(The Zen Of Bennett is a seductive and soulful view into t...)
The Zen Of Bennett is a seductive and soulful view into the mind of singer Tony Bennett as well as an intimate portrait of the artist's creative process as he turns 85 years old.
Tony attended New York's School of Industrial Art where he studied painting and music. Later he studied singing and acting at the American Theatre Wing.
Tony Bennett has had an amazing career, one filled with both critical and popular success. Music icons Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby both considered Bennett to be the best singer of his generation. During the 1990s Bennett published two books that gave fans an inside look into his personal life and career. Tony Bennett: What My Heart Has Seen (1996) is a coffee table book of his paintings, exhibiting a very serious pastime for a man who once aspired to be a painter. His autobiography The Good Life (1998) details his childhood, singing career, personal life, and friendships.
The young singer was discovered by Pearl Bailey in Greenwich Village and subsequently hired by Bob Hope in 1949. Hope advised him to take the name Tony Bennett (rather than the name he had been using, Jim Bari) and put him in his road show. He signed with Columbia Records in 1950 and started working with record producer Mitch Miller. His early hits included “Rags To Riches,” “Because of You,” and “Stranger in Paradise.” His most famous song, “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” was released in 1962 as a B-side on a single; it also earned Bennett his first Grammy award.
Bennett’s success led to some artistic differences between the singer and his record company. His interest in singing quality material made him want to try new songs and new kinds of music. Columbia, however, wanted to repeat the style of his early hits. For some time, Bennett and Miller compromised by each selecting one half of the material to be recorded. After 20 years of recording with Columbia, however, he was told not to do any new songs. Company management wanted Bennett to cover top ten hits. Soon thereafter, Bennett ended his relationship with the company, formed his own label, and recorded on others. Bennett ended up taking a long hiatus from recording, staying away from the studios for some ten years before he made the 1986 album The Art of Excellence.
Bennett’s break from recording coincided with some difficult times for the singer. He moved to California on the late 1970s and began using cocaine and marijuana, drugs that were an integral part of the celebrity party scene. A near death experience passing out in the bath tub and the memory of Lenny Bruce's drug-related death scared Bennett into changing his habits. Bennett was also struggling with a change in the public's taste in popular music, with the increased dominance of rock and roll. When he began his career, pop music appealed to all ages. Bennett asserts that young listeners were being taught that rock music belonged exclusively to their generation and that this alienated children from their parents. Moreover, music marketing was so focused on young listeners, that it was the squeezing adults who bought Bennett’s albums out of the record stores.
Bennett has weathered such troubles and completely revitalized his career. He credits his son Danny, who is now his manager, with making many key decisions. Danny put Bennett on television, on the animated series The Simpsons, on talk shows with David Letterman and Jay Leno, and on MTV Unplugged. The last appearance earned the singer a flock of young fans. He now has a recording contract with Columbia that allows him to simply turn in his finished record, with no corporate input on content. Among Bennett’s later recordings are the Grammy-winning “MTV Unplugged”; a series of tribute albums, Tony Bennett on Holiday, Here's to the Ladies, and the children’s album The Playground. These recordings demonstrate that Bennett still has plenty of ideas about the music he wants to sing, and that he is in fine form.
In 1996 Bennett released the book What My Heart Has Seen, a coffee table book of his paintings. Bennett had resumed painting in 1960, becoming a very proficient amateur artist. Signing his name Anthony Benedetto, he began showing his paintings in 1977 and has since sold his work for as much as $40,000 a canvas. Bennett's book includes a number of portraits of famous people, as well as still-lifes, landscapes, and cityscapes which are dominated by scenes of New York and San Francisco.
In the new millennium, Bennett’s artistry and popularity was higher than ever. In 2006, the year of his 80th birthday, his Duets: An American Classic was released. The album—which included performances with Paul McCartney, Elton John, Barbra Streisand, Bono, and others—won three Grammy Awards and went on to be one of the best-selling CDs of the year and Tony’s career.
On August 3rd 2016, Tony Bennett celebrated his 90th birthday which was marked by the lighting of the Empire State Building in honor of his musical legacy along with a star-studded celebration at the famed Rainbow Room. Later that year NBC aired a two-hour prime time special, Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best is Yet to Come, which featured performances by Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Michael Bublé, and many more. Columbia Records released a companion CD to the television special, and Tony’s fifth book was published, Just Getting Started.
(Gathers drawings, watercolors, and paintings by the popul...)1996
(Every one of Tony’s millions of devoted fans will treasur...)2007
(The album-matching folio to his tribute to Billie Holiday.)1997
Throughout his career, Tony Bennett has always put his heart and time into humanitarian concerns. He has raised millions of dollars for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, which established a research fund in his name. His original paintings each year grace the cover of the American Cancer Society’s annual holiday greeting card, proceeds from which are earmarked for cancer research. He is active in environmental concerns and social justice. He marched with Dr. King in the historical Selma-to-Montgomery Civil Rights movement, and the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta bestowed upon him their Salute to Greatness Award for his efforts in fighting racial discrimination.
Based upon a suggestion from a teacher at American Theatre Wing, Bennett developed an unusual approach that involved imitating, as he sang, the style and phrasing of other musicians - such as that of Stan Getz's saxophone and Art Tatum's piano - helping him to improvise as he interpreted a song. With a half-century of professional singing under his belt, Bennett credits learning hel canto technique with preserving his voice; he told Billboard, “it teaches you how to breathe properly and how to sing so that you don't push and you don’t destroy your voice.”
Tony married Patricia Beech on February 12, 1952. They divorced in 1971. They have two sons: D'Andrea and Daegal. On December 29, 1971, he married Sandra Grant. Unfortunately, they divorced in 2007. They have two daughters: Joanna and Antonia. Later he married Susan Crow.