“We aren’t likely to see a recording career like this again.” — New York Times
Tony Bennett’s life and philosophy is the embodiment of the Great American Story. Having celebrated his 90th birthday on August 3rd 2016, his career as the pre-eminent singer of the 20th and 21st centuries is unprecedented. He continues to be embraced and loved by audiences of all generations.
No one in popular American music has recorded for so long and at such a high level of excellence than Tony Bennett. Tony Bennett is one of only a handful of artists to have new albums charting in each of the last seven decades. In the last ten years alone he has sold ten million records. He has introduced a multitude of songs into the Great American Songbook that have since become standards, and has received 19 Grammy Awards including for his signature song, “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.”
Born in Queens in 1926, as a 10-year-old Mr. Bennett sang for New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia at the opening of the Triborough Bridge. Enlisting in the Army during World War II, he performed with military bands while stationed in Europe. His big break came in 1949 when comedian Bob Hope noticed him working with Pearl Bailey in Greenwich Village. In the new millennium, Mr. Bennett’s artistry and popularity has been higher than ever. In 2006, he released Duets: An American Classic. In 2011, Duets II debuted at #1 on the Billboard Album charts. His collaborative jazz album with Lady Gaga, “Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek,” released in 2014, debuted at #1 making him, at the age of 88, the oldest artist to have a #1 album. To celebrate his 90th birthday in 2016, NBC aired a two hour prime-time special, “Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet To Come,” and Columbia released a companion CD. The milestone year also saw the publication of Bennett’s fifth book, “Just Getting Started.”
In 1999, Mr. Bennett, along with his wife Susan Benedetto, a former public school teacher, founded Exploring the Arts (ETA) to strengthen the role of the arts in public high school education. ETA’s first endeavor was the establishment of Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, a public high school founded in 2001 in partnership with the NYC Department of Education. ETA currently partners with a network of 33 public high schools—27 in all five boroughs of New York City and 6 schools in East and South Central Los Angeles.
$1 per ticket goes to “Exploring the Arts, Inc.”: 501(c) non-profit