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Birth Name : Anthony Dominick Benedetto
Height : 5' 7½" (1.71 m)
Tony Bennett, one of the legends of jazz and popular music who served during the Second World War and then developed a career spanning over half a century, is now giving another concert tour across the United States and Europe.young tony bennett tony bennett album tony bennett album covers tony bennett christmas tony bennett the good life.
He was born Anthony (Antonio) Dominick Benedetto on August 3, 1926, in Astoria, Queens, in New York City. His father was a grocer, his mother was a seamstress, and his uncle was a tap dancer. Young Tony gave a singing performance at the opening of the Triborough Bridge at the age of 10. He studied music and painting at the New York High School of Industrial Arts but dropped out at the age of 16. He had to support his family and he performed as a singing waiter in Italian restaurants.
During the Second World War Tony Bennett was drafted into the US Army. He served on the front lines until April 1945 and was involved in the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp at Landsberg, Germany. After the WWII he sang with the Army military band under the stage name "Joe Bari" until his discharge and return to the US in 1946. He studied the Bel Canto singing discipline at the American Theater Wing on the GI Bill and continued singing while waiting on tables at New York restaurants.
At the beginning of his career he drew from such influences as Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong, and Bing Crosby among others and eventually created his own style of singing. He also integrated jazz-style phrasing into his singing by imitating the instrumental solos with his own voice.
In 1949, Bennett was invited on a concert tour by Bob Hope, who suggested him to use the name Tony Bennett. In 1950, he was signed to Columbia Records and made his first big hit 'Because of You', produced by Mitch Miller with orchestration by Percy Faith. It sold over a million copies, reaching #1 in 1951 pop charts. His other #1 hits were 'Blue Velvet', 'Rags to Riches', and "Stranger in Paradise" in 1952-54. Bennett was able to do five to seven shows a day in New York to crowds of screaming teenagers.
In 1956, he hosted "The Tony Bennett Show" (1956), which replaced "Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall" (1948). He continued making recordings with the top jazz musicians of the day and his collaboration with Count Basie brought two albums, with 'Chicago' and 'Jeepers Creepers' becoming popular songs. His landmark concert at the Carnegie Hall in June of 1962 featured 44 songs and was accompanied by an all-star band. The same year he released 'I Left My Heart in San Francisco', which remained on the charts for a year and has become his signature song. The eponymous album became a gold record.
Bennett had a change of fortune after 1964, with strong competition from The Beatles and the British Invasion. In 1965, he separated from his first wife, artist Patricia Beech, with whom he had two sons. The marriage did not work under the pressures of being too much on the road and eventually ended in divorce. At the same time, his first acting role in the film The Oscar (1966) was not a success; he received poor reviews, and the film was lambasted by critics, ignored by audiences and became one of the biggest flops of the year. His singing career took a downturn when his bosses at Columbia Records, worried about competition from The Beatles, forced him to change his image and style, which pleased no one. He left Columbia in 1972. A brief contract with MGM Records yielded no hits, and Bennett was left without a recording job.
He married again. He started his own record company and made two highly praised albums with Bill Evans. He moved to England for a while, where he once performed for the Queen. Back in the US, Bennett found only one regular gig in Las Vegas, but no recording deals or concert tours. His debts grew to the point of bankruptcy, and the IRS was trying to seize his house in L.A. By the late 1970s, his second marriage to actress Sandra Grant, with whom he had two daughters, was failing. He also suffered from a drug addiction, and after an overdose in 1979, he called for help from his son Danny Bennett. Danny signed on as his father's manager, and it turned out to be a smart move.
Tony Bennett rejuvenated his career by bringing back his original style, tuxedo and the Great American Songbook. He staged a strong comeback during the 1980s and 1990s, signed with Columbia again, and made two gold albums in 1992 and 1993, and developed a surprising and loyal following among audiences in their 20s and 30s. He also received a Grammy Award, the first since 1962. He again performed and recorded with Frank Sinatra, and extended musical collaboration to gigs with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elvis Costello, and k.d. lang among others. Bennet also appeared as himself on MTV's documentary series "Unplugged" (1989) in 1994 and 2000.
His resilience and successful comeback became a sensation in the modern day entertainment industry. Bennett appeared as himself in the films Analyze This (1999), The Scout (1994), and Bruce Almighty (2003). He has sold over 50 million records worldwide, was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame (1997), published an autobiography "The Good Life: The Autobiography of Tony Bennett" (1998), received a lifetime achievement award from ASCAP (2002), and was the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor in December of 2005. Honored by the United Nations with its Citizen of the World award, he is widely considered an International treasure.
On his 80th anniversary, Tony Bennett enjoyed congratulations from millions of fans from all over the world. In November 2006, Bennett hosted a Gala-party in his honor at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. There he enjoyed live performances by numerous celebrities. The party came to culmination when Mr. Bennett entertained his guests by singing his best known hits: 'I Left My Heart in San Francisco' and 'What A Good Life'.
Singer. Born Anthony Dominick Benedetto, on August 3, 1926, in Queens, New York. Bennett grew up in a poor family, in circumstances made more difficult by the Depression and by the death of his father when he was nine. While he attended the High School for the Industrial Arts in New York City, Bennett began working as a singing waiter. After serving in the Army infantry during World War II, he took advantage of the G.I. Bill and studied singing and acting at the American Theatre Wing. During this period his vocal coach Mimi Spear offered some advice that he took to heart: don't imitate other singers, emulate instrumentalists instead.
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, Joe Bari) and put him in his road show. Bennett told Billboard in 1997, "I've been on the road ever since." 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 in 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, Bennett/Berlin (Irving Berlin), Perfectly Frank (as in Sinatra), Tony Bennett on Holiday (Billy Holiday), Here's to the Ladies (miscellaneous female singers); 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. With a half-century of professional singing under his belt, Bennett credits learning bel 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."