Today we celebrate Tony Bennett’s Birthday!
Born Anthony (Antonio) Dominick Benedetto on August 3, 1926, in Astoria, Queens, in New York City, his father was a grocery store clerk and was a seamstress, and his uncle was a tap dancer.
Young Tony gave a singing performance at the opening of the Triborough Bridge at the age of 10. He studied music and painting at the New York High School of Industrial Arts but dropped out at the age of 16. He had to support his family and he performed as a singing waiter in Italian restaurants.
During the Second World War Tony Bennett was drafted into the US Army. He served on the front lines until April 1945 and was involved in the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp at Landsberg, Germany.
After the WWII he sang with the Army military band under the stage name “Joe Bari” until his discharge and return to the US in 1946. He studied the Bel Canto singing discipline at the American Theater Wing on the GI Bill and continued singing while waiting on tables at New York restaurants.
In 1949, Bennett was invited on a concert tour by Bob Hope, who suggested him to use the name Tony Bennett. In 1950, he was signed to Columbia Records and made his first big hit ‘Because of You’, produced by Mitch Miller with orchestration by Percy Faith. It sold over a million copies.
Today’s YouTube clip shared by user name Nancy Flores Santos, created a beautiful tribute to the song that made Tony Bennett famous.
His resilience and successful comeback became a sensation in the modern day entertainment industry. Bennett appeared as himself in the films Analyze This (1999), The Scout (1994), and Bruce Almighty (2003).
He has sold over 50 million records worldwide, was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame (1997), published an autobiography “The Good Life: The Autobiography of Tony Bennett” (1998), received a lifetime achievement award from ASCAP (2002), and was the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor in December of 2005. Honored by the United Nations with its Citizen of the World award, he is widely considered an International treasure.
The best way to celebrate his birthday is to find a song that you like from Tony Bennett, and play as loud as you can! As we wish Mr. Bennett a Happy Birthday!