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Tony Bennett

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Anthony Dominick "TonyBenedetto (born August 3, 1926), stage name Tony Bennett, is an American singer of traditional pop standards, show tunes, and jazz. He is also a painter, having created works under the name Anthony Benedetto that are on permanent public display in several institutions. He is the founder of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, Queens, New York.

Born and raised in Astoria, Bennett began singing at an early age. He fought in the final stages of World War II as a U.S. Army infantryman in the European Theater. Afterward, he developed his singing technique, signed with Columbia Recordsand had his first number-one popular song with "Because of You" in 1951. Several top hits such as "Rags to Riches" followed in the early 1950s. He then refined his approach to encompass jazz singing. He reached an artistic peak in the late 1950s with albums such as The Beat of My Heart and Basie Swings, Bennett Sings. In 1962, Bennett recorded his signature song, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco". His career and his personal life experienced an extended downturn during the height of the rock music era.

Bennett staged a comeback in the late 1980s and 1990s, putting out gold record albums again and expanding his reach to the MTV Generation while keeping his musical style intact. He won 18 Grammy Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Award, presented in 2001) and two Emmy Awards, and was named an NEA Jazz Master and a Kennedy Center Honoree. He has sold over 50 million records worldwide.

Early life Edit

Anthony Dominick Benedetto was born on August 3, 1926, in Astoria, Queens, New York, to grocer John Benedetto and seamstress Anna Suraci. In 1906, John had emigrated from Podàrgoni, a rural eastern district of the southern Italian city of Reggio Calabria. Anna had been born in the U.S. shortly after her parents also emigrated from the Calabria region in 1899.Other relatives came over as well as part of the mass migration of Italians to America.Tony grew up with an older sister, Mary, and an older brother, John Jr. With a father who was ailing and unable to work, the children grew up in poverty. John Sr. instilled in his son a love of art and literature and a compassion for human suffering, but died when Tony was 10 years old. The experience of growing up in the Great Depression and a distaste for the effects of the Hoover Administration would make the child a lifelong Democrat.

Young Tony grew up listening to Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Judy Garland, and Bing Crosby as well as jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, and Joe Venuti. His Uncle Dick was a tap dancer in vaudeville, giving him an early window into show business, and his Uncle Frank was the Queens borough library commissioner. By age 10 he was already singing, and performed at the opening of the Triborough Bridge, standing next to Mayor Fiorello La Guardia who patted him on the head. Drawing was another early passion of his; he became known as the class caricaturist at P.S. 141 and anticipated a career in commercial art. He began singing for money at age 13, performing as a singing waiter in several Italian restaurants around his native Queens.

He attended New York's School of Industrial Art where he studied painting and music and would later appreciate their emphasis on proper technique. But he dropped out at age 16 to help support his family. He worked as a copy boy and runner for the Associated Press in Manhattan and in several other low-skilled, low-paying jobs. However, he mostly set his sights on a professional singing career, returning to performing as a singing waiter, playing and winning amateur nights all around the city, and having a successful engagement at a Paramus, New Jersey, nightclub.

Discography Edit

Albums Edit

  • Because of You (1952)
  • Cloud 7 (1955)
  • Alone at Last with Tony Bennett (1955)
  • Tony (1957)
  • The Beat of My Heart (1957)
  • Long Ago and Far Away (1958)
  • In Prison! (1959)
  • Strike Up The Band (1959)
  • Hometown, My Town (1959)
  • To My Wonderful One (1960)
  • Tony Sings for Two (1961)
  • Alone Together (1961)
  • Sings a String of Harold Arlen (1961)
  • My Heart Sings (1961)
  • I Left My Heart in San Francisco (1962
  • I Wanna Be Around... (1963)
  • This Is All I Ask (1963)
  • The Many Moods of Tony (1964)
  • When Lights Are Low (1964)
  • Who Can I Turn To (1964)
  • If I Ruled The World: Songs for the Jet Set (1965)
  • The Movie Song Album (1966)
  • Tony Makes It Happen (1967)
  • For Ones in My Life (1967)
  • Yesterday I Heard The Rain (1968)
  • Snowfall: The Tony Bennett Christmas Album (1968)
  • I've Gotta Be Me (1969)
  • Tony Sings the Great Hits of Today! (1970)
  • Tony Bennett's Something (1970)
  • Love Story (1971)
  • The Summer of '42 (1971)
  • With Love (1972)
  • The Good Things In Life (1972)
  • Listen Easy (1972)
  • Life Is Beautiful (1972)
  • Tony Bennett Sings 10 Rodgers and Heart Songs (1973)
  • Tony Bennett Sings More Great Rodgers and Heart Songs (1973)
  • The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album (1975)
  • Together Again (1977)
  • The Art of Excellence (1986)
  • Bennett/Berlin (1987)
  • Astoria: Portrait of The Artist (1990)
  • Perfectly Frank (1992)
  • Steppin' Out (1993)
  • Here's To The Ladies (1995)
  • Tony Bennett on Holiday (1997)
  • Tony Bennett: The Playground (1989)
  • Bennett Sings Ellington: Hot & Cool (1999)
  • Playin' With My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues (2001)
  • Christmas with Tony Bennett and the London Symphony Orchestra (2002)
  • A Wonderful World (2002)
  • The Art of Romance (2004)
  • Duets: An American Classic (2006)
  • A Swingin' Christmas (2008)
  • Duets || (2011)
  • Viva Duets (2012)
  • Cheek to Cheek (2014)
  • The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern (2015)

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