As we share his obituary, it breaks our hearts to say goodbye to the famous and iconic musician Tony Bennett. Bennett was a groundbreaking singer and much-loved performer. His beautiful voice touched the hearts of millions of people and left an indelible mark on the business and on his fans.
During a career that spanned decades, he sang timeless classics to crowds and won a lot of praise and Grammy Awards. Bennett was loved by people all over the world for more than just his music. His charm and kindness won them over. Even though we are sad about his death, we are happy about the lasting impact he had on so many people’s lives.
Tony Bennett Obituary
The voice of Tony Bennett, a well-known vocalist who embodied the American Songbook, has passed away. He was 96. According to a spokesperson for the artist, Bennett passed away Friday morning in New York City.
Although he received an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis in 2016, his illness did not prevent him from occasionally doing live performances or releasing new music. His second duet album, Love For Sale, featuring Lady Gaga, helped him into the Billboard Top 10 at the age of 95 in 2021.
He also celebrated his retirement that year with two emotional performances at Radio City Music Hall. Bennett first appeared on the scene in the 1950s as a slick singer and rapidly became one of radio’s most well-liked hit-makers
. He was a performer with a sophisticated sense of the little nightclub. All over, he carried that persona. It was age-appropriate yet always stylish, just like his tailored outfits. The song “St. James Infirmary Blues,” which was recorded in Germany immediately following World War II with a U.S. Army band, was one of the first sides he cut when he was 20 years old.
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Tony Bennett has died at the age of 96. pic.twitter.com/gz5uFcZlpz
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) July 21, 2023
He was known to the public as Tony Bennett; Bob Hope gave him the moniker. But in Queens, New York’s Astoria district, Anthony Dominick Benedetto was the place of his birth. At age 10, his father passed away. He eventually dropped out of high school while working odd jobs to provide for his family.
“I became a singing waiter in Astoria, Long Island,” Bennett told WHYY’s Fresh Air in 1998, “and it was the only job that I said, ‘If I have to do this the rest of my life, I’d be happy doing that.’ “
Bennett mentioned in the interview that his father, an opera singer who enchanted his village in Italy, had started the family tradition of singing. “In Calabria,” the singer said, “he had a reputation for singing on top of the mountain. The whole valley would hear it, and they enjoyed him so much.”
On the G.I. Bill, Bennett himself studied opera, specifically the bel canto singing style. He claims that in order to find his own voice, a tutor advised him to imitate the phrasing of instrumentalists.
Mitch Miller, a producer at Columbia Records, heard Bennett’s “The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” tape, and Bennett was hired there in 1950. He quickly sold millions of records, and a 10-year run of hits came after that. Bennett gained fame as a crooner, but he also enjoyed jazz. He wasn’t confident that he could succeed.
“He always says, ‘I’m not a jazz singer,’ but he has a great feel for a beat,” Bennett’s accompanist and arranger for more than 50 years, Ralph Sharon, told NPR in 1998. Sharon added that the likes of Duke Ellington and Miles Davis appreciated the jazz sensibility that Bennett brought to pop music. “I think that’s why musicians love to play with Tony, and also like to listen to him,” Sharon noted.
Bennett wanted to sing with them since he enjoyed listening to them. He took advantage of his pop popularity to collaborate with Art Blakey and the Count Basie Orchestra on jazz records. Whatever fashion Bennett tried on, according to Sharon, one thing was obvious: “I think it definitely is and was an identifiable sound. I think you always knew it was him.”
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Afterward, Bennett’s career really took off in 1962 after the release of the song “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.” According to Sharon, Bennett’s signature song was an accident. Along with some clothing, Sharon discovered the sheet music tucked away in a drawer. Before leaving, he put it in his car.
“I always remember,” recounts Sharon, “we got to a place called Hot Springs, Arkansas, and I took this out of my bag, and looked at it, and called Tony. And I said, ‘You know something, we’re going to San Francisco next.’ And I said, ‘This is a song here that might be interesting.’ “
Bennett championed social causes, including civil rights, using his fame. Protesters were attacked in 1965 when they attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The event earned the moniker “Bloody Sunday.”
Bennett claimed on CNN in 2013 that Harry Belafonte encouraged him to endure the bloodshed in the South and travel with him to Montgomery to play two weeks later.
“I didn’t want to do it,” Bennett told CNN, “but then he told me what went down — how some Blacks were burned. Had gasoline thrown on them and they were burned. When I heard that, I said, ‘I’ll go with you.'”
Bennett was aware of how things were changing, but he wasn’t very eager to adapt his music. Bennett largely objected to singing rock, the newest style.
Instead, he adhered to the rules and collaborated with jazz pianist Bill Evans to make two outstanding albums. Bennett appeared on The Muppet Show, David Letterman, The Simpsons, and MTV in addition to smaller venues.
He performed on MTV Unplugged in 1994, and K.D. Lang made a guest appearance. Bennett’s next 20 years were aided by the success of the show and CD, which made his voice heard by a whole new generation.
He continued to record duets with a variety of artists, including Lady Gaga, who eventually emerged as his staunchest supporter and a spokesperson for a large number of new admirers.
In 2011, he admitted to NPR that music had been the key to his long existence. “I love life,” he said. “I wish I could communicate to the whole planet what a gift it is to be alive.”
Tony Bennett believed that living meant pursuing his passions, which included not only singing but also painting landscapes and portraits that were inscribed with his name, “Antonio Benedetto.”