The Enduring Legacy Of Tony Bennett

The music world bids farewell to legendary crooner Tony Bennett, who passed away on 21 July aged 96.

Tony Bennett will be memorialised as one of the greatest male vocalists of both the 20th and 21st centuries, with a career spanning eight decades, a cavalcade of classic songs, 19 Grammy Awards and countless adoring fans.

Tony was born Anthony Dominick Benedetto on 3 August 1926 in Long Island, New York. The middle child of Italian immigrants, he grew up in poverty and experienced the harshness of The Great Depression.

A traditional jazz and pop singer, Tony is best known for his rendition of (I Left My Heart) In San Francisco, his signature tune released in 1962 as a B-side to ‘Once Upon A Time’.

He began singing at an early age and was greatly influenced by the great pop and jazz artists of the day, including as Al Jolson, Judy Garland, Bing Cosby and Louis Armstrong. By age 13, he was working as a singing waiter in various Italian restaurants in Queens.

Following his harrowing experiences during World War II, Tony’s first taste of success came in the early ‘50s singing commercial pop tunes and produced string of hit singles and albums during the ‘60s.

His pop culture status has been cemented with the help of his son and manger Danny Bennett, who introduced his father’s timeless voice and endearing personality to a new generation of fans.

From appearing on The Simpsons to performing duets with iconic modern artists such as Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett and his music has found contemporary relevance.

Tony was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2016 but continued to perform and record until his retirement in 2021. He played his final shows at Radio City Music Hall on 3 and 5 August of that year.

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