Tony Bennett was born as Anthony Dominick Benedetto on August 23, 1926 in Astoria, Queens, New York City.
Bennett first sang for money at the age of 13 and this August will make 75 years in show business, when he turns 88 years old.. He also was an artist at an early age and still is painting today. He was first heard on radio in 1950 and would be heard on radio 25 times.
Bennett became a pacifist, after being in the infantry in last days of European Theater in World War II in France and Germany in World War II. He said being in the infantry was akin, to having a front seat in hell.
He would receive a demotion to the Graves Registration Service, while in Germany for dining with a black friend, at a time when white soldiers were not to be seen with black soldiers.
Bob Hope saw Bennett singing with Pearl Bailey and changed his name to Tony Bennett.
Tony Bennett Discography
Because of You was the first No.1 hit for Bennett in 1951 and it would be followed by another No.1 hit in Cold, Cold Heart. Both songs became gold records.
Rags to Riches would be his next No.1 hit in 1953. His signature song I Left My Heart in San Francisco only went to No. 19 on the charts, but it did sell enough copies, to be awarded a gold record.
Who Can I Turn To and Time For Love both went to No.3 on the Adult Contemporary charts in 1965. Surprisingly, he has never had another song go as high as No.3 in the last 49 years.
Bennett has released three duet albums, with Duets: An American Classic released in 2006, Duets II in 2011 and Viva Duets in 2012.
His next album Cheek to Cheek, a collaboration with Lady Gaga was to be released in January, but is now being targeted, for a September 2014 release date.
Zen of Bennett On Netflix
I have been watching the Zen of Bennett being shown on Netflix now. The documentary takes you behind the scenes, as Bennett records duets with such stars, as Carrie Underwood, John Mayer, Michael Buble and Norah Jones.
Bennett tells of a Thanksgiving when he was growing up, when his mom said it was Thanksgiving Day and they had no food for Thanksgiving. It just so happened there was a raffle and Bennett entered and won and the prize was a turkey.
This is a very interesting film, since you get to see Bennett singing and also doing some of his artwork.
The following link will take you to eBay and will show a painting of Bennett’s, that is currently in an auction, for the staggering price of $1.5 million.
Bennett has been married three times:
Patricia Beech (m. 1952, sep. 1965, div. 1971)
[children D’Andrea (b. 1954), Daegal (b. 1955)]
Sandra Grant (m. 1971, sep. 1979, div. 2007)
[children Joanna (b. 1970), Antonia (b. 1974)]
Susan Crow (m. 2007)
Tony Bennett fans might be interested in buying this box set: Fifty Years: The Artistry Of Tony Bennett (5CD) [Box set, Original recording remastered]
It may not be close to being a complete set, but to be able to buy this album for as little as $23.00 new and $10.70 used is a real bargain. This album is a good representation of his work.
This set of 73 CD’s and 3 DVD’s by Tony Bennett leaves out 28 songs, according to a Bennett collector. However, the album is price prohibitive, except for the wealthiest collectors. There are only two new albums available at Amazon, but the cheapest is $544.90.
Struggled After Losing Record Label
The last years of the 1970’s were not kind to Bennett. His Improv record label was out of business. That left him without a recording label to record his music on. He almost overdosed on cocaine and the IRS was trying to take his Los Angeles home. His second marriage saw him separate from his wife Sandra Grant in 1979, but they wouldn’t divorce until 28 years later in 2007.
The 80’s would see Bennett begin to connect with younger audiences and in 1986 he re-signed with Columbia Records. His 1994 appearance on MTV Unplugged sparked even more interest in his music.
Looks like Bennett hasn’t even thought, about retiring since he showing no signs of slowing down, even though he will be 88 in August.
If anyone has seen it all it is Tony Bennett. He grew up in the Great Depression, since his father passed away, when Tony was only 10 years old.
He has received 17 Grammy Awards, over a 49 year time period.
He has had his shares of ups and downs, over the years but he is still going strong today.
If there was ever a consummate professional singer it would be Mr. Tony Bennett. May he sing for many more years to come.