Tony Bennett, singer who broke generational barriers, has died at the age of 96.

Tony Bennett, the consummate interpreter of the Great American Songbook, whom Frank Sinatra called “the best in the business”, died Friday in New York. He was 96 years old.

Bennett has dedicated his nearly 70-year career toThe art of perfection refusing to compromise with their music, pandering to current trends in order to attract a younger audience. “Just because disco or rap is popular, I was taught to be myself and not imitate what other people do,” he told me in an interview in 2011, when he was 85 years old. “I never write a song just for the sake of it. I’m looking for final versions of songs like Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole. They come from an era when there was nothing but the best quality and musical creativity.”

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Thus, the set list for Bennett’s 1998 Grammy-nominated children’s album, Playgroundstandards for children were introduced, such as “Rocking on a Star”, “AC-Cen-T-ChuAte the Positive”, and “It’s Just a Paper Moon”.

In 2006 and 2011, Bennett recorded compilations Duets: American Classic AND Duets 2which debuted at number one on Billboard, making 85-year-old Bennett the oldest artist to reach the milestone. Among his employees GoodAretha Franklin Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Sting, Barbra Streisand, Carrie Underwood and Amy Winehouse. It didn’t make Bennet fashionable, but it made him timeless. He outdid himself in 2014 when, at the age of 88, his collaboration with Lady Gaga, cheek to cheekdebuted in first place.

Bennett has recorded over 70 albums, not counting compilations. He is one of the few artists to record albums that have charted in every one of seven decades. He has won 18 Grammy Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, and received 36 nominations. His 13 Grammy Awards for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album is the most in the category’s history. His last win was in 2015 for Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kernwon the award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal.

He has performed for 11 American presidents and won two Emmy awards for his television shows. Tony Bennett live on demand (1996) and Tony Bennett: An American Classic (2006). He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2005 and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master in 2006. He was the recipient of the 2016 Century Magazine Award. Billboardthe magazine’s highest honor; and the 2017 Library of Congress Gershwin Award, which honors recipients “whose careers reflect their lifetime achievement in promoting the song as a vehicle for musical expression and cultural understanding.”

“I don’t think there has ever been anyone at Mr. Bennett’s age who is still touring and singing and playing so amazingly,” Gloria Estefan told reporters in 2017, when Bennett was 90, ahead of a concert. Prize. “He gets up every day, enjoys creating and doing something new. He really is someone to admire.”

Bennet himself said al The newspaper “New York Times in the same year: “I still insist that I can improve as I go.”

Tony Bennett was born Anthony Dominic Benedetto on August 3, 1926 in Astoria, Queens. His father, a grocer, died when he was 10 years old. Tony left school at 16 to help support his family and his work included being a waiter and a singer.

He served overseas in the army during World War II and returned home in 1946. He studied singing in a curriculum usually dedicated to opera singers and credits it with helping him keep his voice in top shape even into his 90s.

Bennett performed in clubs under the stage name Joe Bari, followed by a concert at Shangri-La, the upscale Astoria club, and radio appearances. In 1949, Pearl Bailey gave him his big break when she invited him to join her musical performance at the Village Inn in Greenwich Village. There, Bob Hope, then performing at the Paramount Theater, saw Bennett and invited him to join his show. It was Hope who came up with the stage name Tony Bennett.

In 1950, Bennett signed with Columbia Records, and in 1951 his first hit, “Because of You”, was released. Other hits followed, including Stranger in Paradise, Smile, and Rags to Riches. Martin Scorsese Good guys. Albums like The beat of my heart AND Basie Swings, Bennett Sings anticipate his forays into jazz singing.

In 1962, Bennett recorded “Once Upon a Time”, which he believed would become a hit. But that was the B side I left my heart in San Francisco got to the point. Waltz gave Bennett his first Grammy Award and the song became his hallmark.

Bennett had other hits in the early 1960s, including “Shadow of Your Smile”, “I Wanna Be There”, and “The Good Life” (whose title was revived in his 1994 memoir), as well as critically acclaimed albums . He gave his voice and presence to the Civil Rights Movement by marching with Martin Luther King during the Selma March to Montgomery in 1965.

But the British invasion led by the Beatles in 1964 and the rock and roll era marked a turning point in pop culture. He parted ways with Columbia in 1971 after the label wanted a sequel. Tony Bennet Sings Modern Hitsan album that Bennett despised.

Professionally and personally, the 1970s were a quiet decade for Bennett. His first marriage ended in divorce. Bennett co-founded his own label, Improv Records, and although the records were critically acclaimed, the label did not last long.

Bennett struggled with drug addiction until a friend who had previously worked with comedian Lenny Bruce said that Bennett had “sinned against his talent”. Bennet he told Chris Cuomo in a 2011 interview with the news 20/20 from ABC-TV: “This phrase changed my life. This meant that I had to give up everything I did. I am completely off drugs.”

Danny BennettBennett’s son from his first marriage, became his personal manager and arranged for his father’s return and his return to Colombia. The Art of Perfection The 1986 album was Bennett’s first to hit the pop charts in 14 years. Thus began an exciting series of critically acclaimed successful recordings. .

IN 2014, cheek to cheek, a collection featuring Lady Gaga, debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Pop & Rock Top 200. The subsequent PBS special was nominated for an Emmy Award. In his ninth decade, Bennett sold an estimated 10 million albums.

Bennett, paraphrasing the title of his idol Frank Sinatra’s song, went his own way. He played in intimate clubs and the best concert halls, not impersonal stadiums. As a testament to its appeal across generations, it appeared in american idolhe voiced himself The Simpsonsmade a self-deprecating cameo before Alec Baldwin impersonating Al Bennett Saturday night life and participated in The Howard Stern Show and etc. Late Night with David Letterman.

Bennett was also a renowned artist whose work is in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the Butler Institute in Youngstown. 2007 book, Tony Bennett in the Studio: A Life of Art and Music, since 2007, presents 200 of his works. He began sculpting at the age of 85.

In addition to his memoirs, Bennett also wrote two collections of anecdotes and life lessons. Life is a gift in 2012 and just started in 2016. Bennett continued to work in the studio and tour even after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016.

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