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. 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.
He did basic training at Fort Dix and Fort Robinson as part of becoming an infantry rifleman. Processed through the huge Le Havre replacement depot, in Januaryhe was assigned as a replacement infantryman to the th Infantry Regiment of the 63rd Infantry Division, a unit filling in for the heavy losses suffered in the Battle of the Bulge.
He moved across France, and later, into Germany. As March began, he joined the front line and what he would later describe as a "front-row seat in hell. As the German Army was pushed back to its homeland, Benedetto and his company saw bitter fighting in cold winter conditions, often hunkering down in foxholes as German 88 mm guns fired on them. At the end of March, they crossed the Rhine and entered Germany, engaging in dangerous house-to-house, town-after-town fighting to clean out German soldiers; during the first week of April, they crossed the Kocher River, and by the end of the month reached the Danube.
During his time in combat, Benedetto narrowly Do Do Do - Clive Lythgoe - Gershwin: Fascinating Rhythms (CD death several times. The experience made him a pacifist; he would later write, "Anybody who thinks that war is romantic obviously hasn't gone through one," and later say, "It was a nightmare that's permanent. I just said, 'This is not life. This is not life. Benedetto stayed in Germany as part of the occupying force but was assigned to an informal Special Services band unit that would entertain nearby American forces.
His dining with a black friend from high school — at a time when the Army was still racially segregated — led to his being demoted and reassigned to Graves Registration Service duties. Subsequently, he sang with the th Army Special Services Band under the stage name Joe Bari a name he had started using before the war, chosen after the city and province in Italy and as a partial anagram of his family origins in Calabria.
He played with many musicians who would have post-war careers. He was taught the bel canto singing discipline, which would keep his voice in good shape for his entire career. He continued to perform wherever he could, including while waiting tables. Based upon a suggestion from a teacher at American Theatre Wing, he developed an unusual approach that involved Album), as he sang, the style and phrasing of other musicians — such as that of Stan Getz 's saxophone and Art Tatum 's piano — helping him to improvise as he interpreted a song.
He made a few recordings as Bari in for small Leslie Records, but they failed to sell. InPearl Bailey recognized Benedetto's talent and asked him to open for her in Greenwich Village.
She had invited Bob Hope to the show. Hope decided to take Benedetto on the road with him, and simplified his name to Tony Bennett. Warned by Miller not to imitate Frank Sinatra who was just then leaving ColumbiaBennett began his career as a crooner of commercial pop tunes. His first big hit was "Because of You", a ballad produced by Miller with a lush orchestral arrangement from Percy Faith.
It started out gaining popularity on jukeboxes, then reached number one on the pop charts in and stayed there for ten weeks, selling over a million copies. This was followed to the top of the charts later that year by a similarly-styled rendition of Hank Williams 's "Cold, Cold Heart", which helped introduce Williams and country music in general to a wider, more national audience.
The Miller and Faith tandem continued to work on all of Bennett's early hits. On February 12,Bennett married Ohio art student and jazz fan Patricia Beech, whom he had met the previous year after a nightclub performance in Cleveland.
Two thousand female fans dressed in black gathered outside the ceremony at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan, New York, in mock mourning. A third number-one came in with "Rags to Riches".
Unlike Bennett's other early hits, this was an up-tempo big band number with a bold, brassy sound and a double tango in the instrumental break; it topped the charts for eight weeks.
Later that year, the producers of the upcoming Broadway musical Kismet had Bennett record "Stranger in Paradise" as a way of promoting the show during a New York newspaper strike. The song reached the top, the show was a hit, and Bennett began a long practice of recording show tunes.
Once the rock and roll era began inthe dynamic of the music industry changed and it became harder and harder for existing pop singers to do well commercially. Nevertheless, Bennett continued to enjoy success, placing eight songs in the Billboard Top 40 during the latter part of the s, with "In the Middle of an Island" which he vehemently hated so much reaching the highest at number nine in Patti Page and Julius La Rosa had in turn hosted the two previous months, and they all shared the same singers, dancers, and orchestra.
Morgan as co-hosts of the summer-long Perry Presents. Inthe guitarist Chuck Wayne became Bennett's musical director. Bennett released his first long-playing album inCloud 7. The album was billed as featuring Wayne and showed Bennett's leanings towards jazz.
InRalph Sharon became Bennett's pianist, arranger, and musical director, replacing Wayne. Sharon told Bennett that a career singing "sweet saccharine songs like 'Blue Velvet'" wouldn't last long, and encouraged Bennett to focus even more on his jazz inclinations.
The result was the album The Beat of My Heart. The album was both popular and critically praised. Bennett followed this by working with the Count Basie Orchestrabecoming the first male pop vocalist to sing with Basie's band.
Bennett also built up the quality, and therefore, the reputation of his nightclub act; in this he was following the path of Sinatra and other top jazz and standards singers of this era.
It was a big success, further cementing Bennett's reputation as a star both at home and abroad. Also inBennett released his recording of "I Left My Heart in San Francisco", a decade-old but little-known song originally written for an opera singer.
Although this reached only number 19 on the Billboard Hotit spent close to a year on various other charts and increased Bennett's exposure. The album of the same title was a top 5 hit and both the single and album achieved gold record status. Over the years, this would become known as Bennett's signature song. Bennett's following album, I Wanna Be Around The next year brought the Beatles and the British Invasion, and with them still more musical and cultural attention to rock and less to pop, standards, and jazz.
Over the next couple of years, Bennett had minor hits with several albums and singles based on show tunes; his last top single was the number 34 "If I Ruled the World" from Pickwick inbut his commercial fortunes were clearly starting to decline. An attempt to break into acting with a role in the poorly received film The Oscar met with middling reviews for Bennett; he did not enjoy the experience and did not seek further roles.
Years later he would continue this commitment by refusing to perform in apartheid South Africa. Ralph Sharon and Bennett parted ways in There was great pressure on singers such as Lena Horne and Barbra Streisand to record "contemporary" rock songs, and in this vein, Columbia Records' Clive Davis suggested that Bennett do the same.
Bennett was very reluctant, and when he tried, the results pleased no one. It featured misguided attempts at Beatles and other current songs and a ludicrous psychedelic art cover. Years later, Bennett would recall his dismay at being asked to do contemporary material, comparing it to when his mother was forced to produce a cheap dress. With his new label, he tried a variety of approaches, including some more Beatles material, but found no renewed commercial success, and in a couple more years he was without a recording contract.
Bennett and his wife Patricia had been separated sincetheir marriage a victim of Bennett's spending too much time on the road, among other factors.
InPatricia sued him for divorce on grounds of adultery. Intheir divorce became official. Bennett had become involved with aspiring actress Sandra Grant while filming The Oscar in ; the couple lived together for several years, and on December 29,they quietly married in New York. They had two daughters, Joanna born and Antonia bornand moved to Los Angeles.
Taking matters into his own hands, Bennett started his own record company, Improv. As the decade neared its end, Bennett had no recording contract, no manager, and was not performing many concerts outside of Las Vegas.
His second marriage was failing; they separated in with her filing for divorce but when the marriage officially ended is unclear — some people say the marriage was dissolved by court order on July 1,but there are other reports saying the divorce papers did not become official until He had developed a drug addiction, was living beyond his means, and had the Internal Revenue Service trying to seize his Los Angeles home.
He had hit bottom. After a near-fatal cocaine overdose inBennett called his sons Danny and Dae for help. Danny Bennett, an aspiring musician himself, also came to a realization. The band Danny and his brother had started, Quacky Duck and His Barnyard Friends, had foundered and Danny's musical abilities were limited. However, he had discovered during this time that he did have a head for business. His father, on the other hand, had tremendous musical talent, but was having trouble sustaining a career from it and had little financial sense.
Danny signed on as his father's manager. Danny got his father's expenses under control, moved him back to New York, and began booking him in colleges and small theaters to get him away from a "Vegas" image.
After some effort, a successful plan to pay back the IRS debt was put into place. The singer had also reunited with Ralph Sharon as his pianist and musical director and would remain with him until Sharon's retirement in This became his first album to reach the charts since Danny Bennett felt that younger audiences who were unfamiliar with his father would respond to his music if given a chance.
No changes to Tony's formal appearance, singing style, musical accompaniment The Ralph Sharon Trio or an orchestraor song choice generally the Great American Songbook were necessary or desirable. Mother's Favourites. Kings of Croon. Judy Garland [Kala]. Inside U. Vocals, Accordion, Performer, Primary Artist. Hollywood Magic Music for Ever. Harold Arlen Songbook: Over the Rainbow. George Gershwin Songbook. Evening Cocktails. Essential Cole Porter. Easter Parade [Prism]. Complete Norman Granz Sessions.
Cocktail Hour [Northquest]. Classic Memories, Vol. Cheek to Cheek: Jukebox Memories. Cheek to Cheek. Big Band Legends: Swing Era. American Songbook [Laserlight]. Ziegfeld Follies [Soundtrack Factory]. We'll Meet Again [Lexicon]. The Two of Us.
The One and Only. The Greatest Songs Ever Sung. The Complete Improv Recordings. Vincent Youmans. Vocals, Dance TapPrimary Artist.
Stars in Heaven. Standing on the Corner, Vol. Remember When. Ray Noble. Guest Artist, Main Personnel, Vocals. Puttin' on the Ritz [Remember]. Pop Treasures. Paul McCartney. Judy Garland's Greatest Movie Hits. Jazz Tap Dancing. Main Personnel, Vocals, Primary Artist. Great American Songbook: The Crooners. Gershwin: Song Book Collection. Drop Me Off in Harlem. Do You Remember? De-lovely Cole Porter. Cole Porter Songbook [Definitive].
Coconut Grooves Viva Latin Jazz. Chocolate Com Pimenta Internacional. Broadway: The American Musical. Vocals, Taps, Primary Artist.
Ultimate Legends: Fred Astaire. Two's Company. Tip Tap Dancin'. The Ultimate George Gershwin, Vol. The Ultimate Cole Porter, Vol. The Original Great American Songbook. The Essential George Gershwin. The Essential Fred Astaire. The Collection: Fascinatin' Rhythm. Somethin' Stupid. Original Cinema Classic Scores. Featured Artist, Primary Artist, Vocals. Manhattan Morning. Love Songs from the Movies [Rhino]. Leading Men Sing the Movie Classics. Jukebox Memories. Jazz Time. I Write the Songs.
Human Stain: Coleman's Collection. Performer, Primary Artist. Hollywood Sings [K-Tel]. Great Songwriters [Soho]. Great Songs from the Broadway Musicals. Golden Greats: Greatest Film Hits. Going Hollywood, Vol. Fred Astaire's Finest Hour. Film Music - O. Fascinatin' Rhythm [Fabulous]. Johnny Mercer.
Days Gone By. Crooners and Divas [Box]. Artist's Choice: Tony Bennett. America Remembers [3 CD]. Academy Award Winners [Rhino]. Guest Artist, Primary Artist. Wake Up and Dream: Cole Porter, Viva Las Vegas [Universal International].
Primary Artist, Vocals, Composer. Those Were the Days [Direct Source]. Things Are Looking Up. Paul Bacon. The Songs of George Gershwin. The Original Pop Idols. Frankie Laine. The Legendary Frankie LaineVol. The Great American Songbook . The Essential Judy Garland [Soho].
Sweethearts of the Silver Screen. Sophisticated Gentlemen. Album) for Mother. Performer, Composer, Primary Artist, Vocals. Sentimental Journey [Medalist]. Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town. Pick Yourself Up. Over the Rainbow and Beyond. Oscar Winners Complete Best Songs. Original Standards. Nobody Does It Better [Prism]. Kiss Me, Kate: Cole Porter, Jazz Singing.
Jazz Dance Music. Hollywood Award Songs. Golden Greats. Cocktail Hour: Love Affair. Classic Cocktail. Best of Nostalgia: Thanks for the Memories. All Time Crooners. A Century of Glory. Ultimate Cole Porter, Vol. Irving Berlin. Jerome Kern. The History of Pop Radio, Vol. Thanks for the Memories. Stars Salute Sinatra.
Bobby Short. Singin' in the Rain: Various Showtunes. Singin' and Swingin'. Rita Hayworth. Primary Artist, Vocals, Orchestra, Composer. Musical Wonderland. Music from a Great Generation. Marilyn Monroe: The Diamond Collection. Marilyn Monroe. Long Ago and Far Away. Legendary Entertainers [Direct Source]. Legendary Big Bands [Madacy]. King of the Best Sellers. It's Easy to Remember. I'll Be Home for Christmas [Varese]. Hooray for Hollywood [Proper].
Hollywood Stars of the Silver Screen. Great American Hall of Fame, Vol. Gold Collection. Gilded Promises. Gershwin in London. Fred and Ginger at RKO. Vocals, Composer. Essential Hollywood and Broadway Musicals. Duets: Cocktail Hour. Complete Studio Recordings. Cocktail Hour: Toast to Gershwin. Cocktail Hour: Bing Crosby Duets. Classic Cocktail: Swingin' on the Floor, Vol.
Broadway Rhythms, Vol. Carroll Gibbons. Best of Big Bands [Madacy Box]. A Night in Hollywood. Guest Artist, Performer, Primary Artist. Guest Artist, Composer. Woody's Winners: 20 Classic Tracks from the Films. Bob Crosby. Wartime Heart Throbs. These Foolish Things: Dance TapPrimary Artist. The Roaring Twenties [Pearl]. The Legendary. The Charleston Era. Sound of the Movies.
Smoke Rings: Rita Moreno. Pennies from Heaven [Hallmark]. Stacey Kent. Legendary Big Bands, Vol. Legend at His Best. Irving Berlin in Hollywood. Idols [Dog N Roll]. Hollywood Years. Hollywood Sings! Holiday Inn [Original Soundtrack]. Great Fred Astaire. Ginger Rogers. Ira Gershwin. George Gershwin [Box Set]. Guest Artist, Vocals, Primary Artist. Frenesi: Fascinating Rhythm, Vol.
Performer, Primary Artist, Vocals. Crooners, Vol. Cocktail Hour: Toast to Broadway. Cocktail Hour. Cheek to Cheek: Broadway: Golden Age of Musica Broadway Musical Best of Taco. A Salute to Broadway.
A Nostalgic Collection. A Night Out With Verve. A Centenary Tribute to Cole Porter. Vocal Treasures [Rhino]. Unforgettable Duets. The Songs of Irving Berlin [Empire].
Thomas Newman. The Golden Age of Song. The Complete London Sessions. The Centenary Collection. Thanks for the Memory [Music Club]. Stars Sing Cole Porter. Sony Music Years: Soundtrack for a Century. Sing Me a Swing Song. Plays Henderson, Vol. Guest Artist, Vocals, Composer. Original Hollywood Hits.
Number One Jazz Album. Movie Music: The Definitive Performances. Memory Lingers On. Memories Are Made of This, Vol. Life Is Beautiful. Jazz on Broadway. Irving Berlin [Pearl]. Great Voices of the Millennium. Great Songs from Movies. Gershwin: A Celebration. Gershwin Plays Gershwin. Guest Artist, Featured Artist, Vocals. George Gershwin by the Giants of Jazz. Fascinating Rhythm [Naxos]. Ecstasy, Vol. Early Recordings of the 20's. Cugat on Film.
Xavier Cugat. Clive Barker: Being Music. Clive Barker. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Chart-Toppers of the Thirties. Big Bands [Friedman Fairfax]. All Time Greats [Hallmark]. Timeless Classics. The Ultimate Collection. Vocals, Dancer, Performer, Primary Artist. The Best of Broadway: The Revues. Stepping in Paradise.
Stars Sing Gershwin. Stars Sing George Gershwin. Songwriters [Columbia River]. Selection of Hooray for Hollywood. Portrait of Fred Astaire. Jazz Goes to the Movies. Isn't It Romantic. Hurray for Hollywood. Hollywood: Celebrated Original Soundtracks. Hollywood Party [Entertainers]. Hollywood Collection [Entertainers]. Hits of Greatest Hits [Entertainers]. Great Songs of George Gershwin.
Golden Greats: Greatest Broadway Hits. Golden Age of Hollywood. Gershwin: To Broadway from Hollywood. Gershwin: Fascinating Rhythm.
Gershwin: 'S Wonderful. Vocals, Performer, Primary Artist. Gershwin Jazz Round Midnight. Vocals, Tape, Performer, Primary Artist. George Gershwin Memorial Concert. From Gershwin's Time: Primary Artist, Vocals, Piano. Charleston: Great Stars of the s.
At Long Last. Rosemary Clooney. As Time Goes By [Box]. You're the Top: A Testimonial. Dancer, Performer, Primary Artist. The Sounds of TCM.
The Roaring Twenties [Intersound Disc 4]. The Roaring Twenties [Box]. The Complete United Artists Sessions. The Complete Jerome Kern Songbooks. Star Spangled Rhythm [Smithsonian]. Rarities Vocals, Performer, Composer, Primary Artist. Plays Eddie Sauter. Melody Lingers On: 25 Songs Recorded Love is the Sweetest Thing. Cover Photo, Primary Artist. Last of the Romantics. Irving Berlin Songbook. Hooray for Hollywood [Start]. Hooray for Hollywood [Music Club]. Hollywood's Best: The Thirties.
Hollywood's Best: The Forties. Hollywood's Best: The Fifties. Hollywood Canteen. Hits of ' Hit Songs from Broadway. Harold Arlen: Over the Rainbow. Harold Arlen. George and Ira Gershwin in Hollywood [Rhino]. Fred Astaire at MGM.
Duets: Touch of Yesterday. Complete Irving Berlin Songbooks. Freddie Slack. As Time Goes By, Vol. The Unforgettable Music of Jerome Kern. They're Playing Our Song [Pearl]. Benny Green. The Old Music Master. Performer, Composer, Primary Artist.
The English Patient. Gabriel Yared. The Best of Broadway: The Late '40s. Starring Fred Astaire [Entertainers]. Puttin' on the Ritz [Golden Stars]. Poetry of Album) Mercer. Platinum Collection. Let's Face the Music [Avid]. Leading Men, Vol. Le Cinema a Ans. In Hollywood. Hollywood Musicals [Box]. Hollywood Musical. Great Film Musicals. Grand Piano. Peter Mintun. Gay Classics, Do Do Do - Clive Lythgoe - Gershwin: Fascinating Rhythms (CD, Vol.
Funny Face [Original Soundtrack Recording]. Choreographer, Primary Artist, Vocals. Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Vol. Cantor Loves Lucy. Eddie Cantor.
At His Best. American Songbook Series: Vincent Youmans. American Songbook Series: Arthur Schwartz. American Legends, No. American Legends 6. Academy Award Winning Songs, Vol. Eddy Duchin. Gene Kelly. Ziegfeld Follies [Rhino]. The Great Stage Musicals The Great Gershwin. The Complete Gershwin Songbooks.
Shall We Dance. Piccadilly Dance Orchestra. Puttin' on the Ritz [Eclipse]. Passion Records 12" Collection. On Stage and Screen [Disc 2]. Jazz at the Movies. Hooray for Hollywood [Legacy]. Great American Songwriters, Vols. En Visitant L'expo. Crazy for Gershwin [Vipers Nest]. American Songbook Series: Dorothy Fields. American Legend Sampler. All-Time Greats. You're the Tops: Songs of Cole Porter.
The Great Stage Musicals, Vol. The Cole Porter Gold Collection. That's Entertainment, Pt. Steppin' Out: Astaire Sings. Primary Artist, Vocals, Dancer. Sophistication: Songs of the Thirties.
Red McKenzie. Original Recording of the '20s. Millenium Anthology. Love of My Life. Live at the L. Let's Face the Music and Dance, Vol. Great American Songwriters, Vol. Great American Songwriters [Laserlight].
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