Tony Bennett, Champion of the Great American Songbook, Is Dead at 96

In the 1950s, Mr. Bennett toured for the first time, played in Las Vegas for the first time, and married his first fan, Patricia Beach, who had watched him perform in Cleveland. The marriage broke up in the 1960s, overwhelmed by Mr. Bennett’s constant touring, but the two sons would eventually play a role in Mr. Bennett’s career. An older Dandrea, nicknamed Danny, became his father’s manager, and DeGal played a role in Mr. Bennett’s career. Known as Dae, he became a music producer and recording engineer.

In July 1961, as Mr. Bennett was heading to the West Coast after playing in Hot Springs, Arkansas, his longtime pianist Ralph Sharon was found sleeping in a drawer with George Collie and Douglas Cross. let me hear a song written by 2 years. Sharon and Bennett decided the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco would be the perfect place for their next date, and it did.

They recorded the song – of course it was “I left my heart in San Francisco” — January 1962, six months later. The song earned Mr. Bennett his first two Grammy Awards, Best Male Solo Performance and Record of the Year, earning him worldwide fame. In “The Good Life” he writes that he is often asked if he ever gets tired of singing the song.

“I answer: ‘Are you tired of having sex?'” he wrote.

Only five months later Mr. Bennett performed at Carnegie Hall with Mr. Sharon and a small orchestra. He earned sensational acclaim (although the Times did appreciate it), and his concert recordings are now considered classics.

But as the 1960s progressed and rock and roll became mainstream, Mr. Bennett’s popularity began to decline. In 1969, he bowed to pressure from new Columbia Records president Clive Davis to record his own version of a contemporary song. resulting in, “Tony sings today’s hits!” — Including The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” and “something” It was a musical disaster, and Mr. Bennett later told an interviewer that the record caused him to vomit.

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