You are here
Visit this artist's website: https://tonybennett.com/
No one in popular American music has recorded for so long and at such a high level of excellence than TONY BENNETT. The essence of his longevity and high artistic achievement was imbued in him in his loving childhood home in the Astoria section of Queens where he was born on August 3, 1926. His father died when Tony was 10 and his mother, Anna, raised Tony and his older brother and sister, John and Mary, in a home surrounded by loving relatives who were Tony’s first fans filling him with encouragement and optimism. He attended the High School of Industrial Arts in Manhattan, where he continued nurturing his two passions, singing and painting. From the radio he developed a love of music hearing Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, and James Durante.
As a teenager Tony sang while waiting on tables and then enlisted in the Army during World War II and while in Europe he performed with military bands. He later had vocal studies at the American Theatre Wing School. The first time Bennett sang in a nightclub was in 1946 when he sat in with trombonist Tyree Glenn at the Shangri-La in Astoria. Bennett’s big break came in 1949 when comedian Bob Hope noticed him working with Pearl Bailey in Greenwich Village in New York City. As Bennett recalls, “Bob Hope came down to check out my act. He liked my singing so much that after the show he came back to see me in my dressing room and said, 'Come on kid, you’re going to come to the Paramount and sing with me.' But first he told me he didn’t care for my stage name (Joe Bari) and asked me what my real name was. I told him, ‘My name is Anthony Dominick Benedetto’ and he said, ‘We’ll call you Tony Bennett.’ And that’s how it happened. A new Americanized name -- the start of a wonderful career and a glorious adventure that has continued for over 60 years.”
With millions of records sold world-wide and platinum and gold albums to his credit, Bennett has received seventeen Grammy Awards -- including a 1995 Grammy for Record of the Year for his “MTV Unplugged” CD which introduced this American master to a whole new generation -- and the Grammy Lifetime Award. His 2007 prime-time special, "Tony Bennett: An American Classic," won seven Emmy Awards. His initial successes came via a string of Columbia singles in the early 1950’s, including such chart-toppers as “Because of You," "Rags to Riches," and a remake of Hank Williams “Cold, Cold Heart.” He had 24 songs in the Top 40, including“I Wanna Be Around," “The Good Life," “Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)” and his signature song,” I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” recorded 50 years ago this coming January 2012. This song garnered him two Grammy Awards.
Tony Bennett is one of a handful of artists to have new albums charting in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and now in the first two decades of the 21st century. He has introduced a multitude of songs into the Great American Songbook that have since become standards for pop music. He has toured the world to sold out audiences with rave reviews whenever he performs. Bennett re-signed with Columbia Records in 1986 and released the critically acclaimed The Art of Excellence. Since his 1991 show-stopping performance at the Grammy Awards of “When Do The Bells Ring For Me," from his Astoria album, he has received a string of Grammy Awards for releases including Stepping Out, Perfectly Frank and MTV Unplugged.
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. Bennett’s first Duets album also inspired the Rob Marshall-directed television special Tony Bennett: An American Classic which won seven Emmys making it the most honored program at the 2007 Emmy Awards. In celebration of his 85th birthday in 2011 the release of Bennett’s highly anticipated, Duets II, featured Tony performing with a new roster of celebrated artists including, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble, Aretha Franklin, Josh Groban, Lady Gaga, John Mayer, and many others. Duets II debuted at #1 on the Billboard Album charts, making Tony the only artist at the age of 85 to achieve this in the history of recorded music. Bennett won two Grammys for Duets II in the 2012 Grammy ceremony and this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the recording and release of his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” This spring, a documentary entitled, THE ZEN OF BENNETT, which was created and conceived by Danny Bennett, Tony’s son and manager, was premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2012. Tony’s most recent CD, TONY BENNETT: VIVA DUETS, featured Tony performing his greatest hits with the top latin music performers, including Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, Vicente Fernandez, Thalia and Chayanne.
Tony Bennett became a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2005, was named an NEA Jazz Master in January of 2006, a Citizen of the World award from the United Nations and a Billboard Magazine Century Award in honor of his outstanding contributions to music.
In addition to his 2007 Emmy awards, Bennett has also received an Emmy Award and a Cable Ace Award for groundbreaking television special, “Live By Request…Tony Bennett” which featured a unique interactive format in which the viewing audience called in song requests to the performer live during the program (then-First Lady Hillary Clinton called and requested that Tony sing “My Funny Valentine”), a concept created by Bennett that has become a regular special on the A&E network. He has published four books, his autobiography, “The Good Life,” two books of his paintings, “Tony Bennett: What My Heart Has Seen” and “Tony Bennett In The Studio; A Life of Art and Music,”
and most recently in 2012, “Tony Bennett: Life is A Gift.” Tony was also the subject of a documentary film, THE ZEN OF BENNETT, that was created and conceived by his son and manager, Danny Bennett, and premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.
Tony Bennett is a dedicated painter whose interest in art began as a child. He continues to paint every day, even as he tours internationally. He has exhibited his work in galleries around the world. The United Nations has commissioned him for two paintings, including one for their 50th anniversary. His original painting, “Homage to Hockney,” is on permanent display at the Butler Institute of American Art and the landmark National Arts Club in New York is home to Tony’s painting “Boy on Sailboat, Sydney Bay.” Three of his paintings are part of the Smithsonian Museums permanent collections including his portrait of his friend Duke Ellington that became part of the National Portrait Gallery’s collection in 2009.