Tony Bennett, king of the American Songbook, dead at 96

Famed singer, Tony Bennett, known for his timeless hits and unique voice, has died at 96.

Life and Career: Bennett, born Anthony Dominick Benedetto, was a highly celebrated American singer well-known for his contributions to the American Songbook.
* His career started in the 1950s, gaining rapid popularity on radio and releasing hit after hit for more than a decade.
* His biggest breakthrough came in 1962 with the song “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” which won him two Grammy Awards.
* Besides singing, Bennett was also passionate about painting landscapes and portraits.

Legacy: Bennett’s unique musical style and voice left an indelible mark on American music.
* He was recognized and appreciated by jazz legends such as Duke Ellington and Miles Davis for the jazz sensibility he brought to pop music.
* He used his pop stardom to record jazz albums with artists like Art Blakey and the Count Basie Orchestra.
* Bennett’s unique sound and style made him easily identifiable even among other music legends.

Final Years and Achievements: Even in his later years and despite his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Bennett did not cease his contribution to music.
* He reached the Billboard Top 10 at 95 in 2021 with his second duet album with Lady Gaga, “Love For Sale.”
* He marked his retirement with two touching performances at Radio City Music Hall.
* His final decades saw successful duet recordings with artists ranging from Stevie Wonder to Lady Gaga, winning yet another generation of fans.

Quotes: Tony Bennett expressed his love for life and music numerous times.
* In an interview with WHYY’s Fresh Air in 1998, Bennett said, “I became a singing waiter in Astoria, Long Island, 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.’”
* Speaking to NPR in 2011, Bennett shared, “I love life. I wish I could communicate to the whole planet what a gift it is to be alive.”

View original article on NPR

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