Happy 89th birthday today to Tony Bennett.
Tony Bennett was born Anthony Dominick Benedetto, in Astoria, Queens, New York. He began singing at an early age and had his breakthrough in 1949 with Bob Hope. It was Hope who suggested that he change his stage name from Joe Bart to Tony Bennett. The rest is history….
Bennett had three huge #1 hits prior to the beginning of the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1958: “Because Of You,” “Cold, Cold Heart,” and “Rags To Riches.” Here they are:
He continued to release albums and singles through 1977 although none did very well. After a near-fatal cocaine overdose in 1979, and problems with the IRS, his two sons, Danny and Dae, helped him get back on his feet. They moved him from California back to New York and started booking him on college campuses and small theaters, anything to get away from the Las Vegas image that had been him for over a decade.
In 1986 he issued his first album in nine years, “The Art of Excellence.” Since then he has had a successful return to the world of music as greatly evidenced by the many Grammy awards he has won since his return. Prior to 1993 he had two Grammy awards, both in 1963 for “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” (Record of the Year, and Best Male Vocal Performance). Since 1993, he has 16 Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, and 2 Emmy Awards.
Bennett also is a painter, having created works under the name Anthony Benedetto which are on permanent display in several institutions.
He is the founder of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, Queens, New York.
Again, happy birthday Mr. Bennett!
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