Tony Bennett, the Last of America’s Great Singers, has Died

The singer Tony Bennett has died

DISAPPEARANCE: The singer, Tony Bennett died at the age of 96. He was diagnosed in 2016 with Alzheimer’s disease.

Tony Bennett, one of the greatest American singers, died on Friday, several American media announced. He was 96 years old. The singer, much loved for his warm personality and his consistency, marked the music scene for more than seven decades. He had been diagnosed in 2016 with Alzheimer ‘s disease.

A singer from another era, that of Frank Sinatra, made a comeback in the 2010s, then distinguished himself by his duets with Lady Gaga, with whom he recorded two albums in 2014 and 2021.

Formerly known as Joe Bari

Born on August 3rd, 1926 in Astoria, in the most cosmopolitan district of New York, Anthony Benedetto, whose real name is, owes part of his unique longevity to his vocal technique. Trained in bel canto, the one who called himself Joe Bari at the very beginning of his career will have kept his voice intact throughout his life, capable of pushing the decibels into the stadiums, at the age of 80.

Always impeccable costumes, cover, and natural elegance, Tony Bennett embodied the song of the post-war period, without falling into old-fashionedness, and without ever, however, leaving its register. Few classics remain of him, unlike Frank Sinatra, another son of Italian immigrants from the New York area, to whom he has been much compared but whose success was far superior.

His biggest hits came early in his career, in the early 1950s, including ‘Because of You’, ‘Rags to Riches’ and ‘Cold, Cold Heart’, all number-one hits, and weren’t followed by any proper hits. But Tony Bennett, who adopted the Americanized stage name suggested to him by comedian Bob Hope, has retained a loyal audience, maintained through thousands of concerts and a stage presence recognized by all.

“Tony Bennett is the best singer in the business”, said Frank Sinatra

“In theatre and live performance, you have to convince the public that they couldn’t be better off elsewhere”, explained actor Alec Baldwin in the documentary produced by Clint Eastwood “The Music Never Ends” (2007). “And no one in show business does that better than Bennett.”

Little focused on effects, her voice seemed to go straight to the point, influenced by various musical genres, notably jazz. “As a viewer, (I think) Tony Bennett is the best singer in the business,” Frank Sinatra will say. “He excites me when I see him, he moves me”.

His smile and his energy projected the image of a warm, resolutely positive artist. Despite a loyal public, Tony Bennett will experience a crossing of the desert during the 1970s and 80s, a bad patch marked by a cocaine addiction and an overdose, in 1979, from which he will survive. His son Danny will eventually intervene and offer him a second career by introducing him to a younger audience. In 1994, he landed on the music channel MTV for an “Unplugged”, this series of acoustic concerts rather reserved for young artists in vogue.

Features with Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse

In 2006, he released the album “Duets: An American Classic”, a series of duets with very big names in popular music, from Stevie Wonder to Bono, who accompanied him on covers.

The success is total, to the point that a second opus “Duets II”, will be released in 2011, with, again, the gratin of the song, which will allow him to hang, for the first time, the peak of record sales in the United States, at 85 years old. The album contains two duets with respectively Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse, which reveal the two young singers in a refined register that they obviously appreciate.

The collaborations will continue, with in particular an entire album in the company of Lady Gaga, “Cheek to Cheek”, an occasion of a new number one in the United States. “I like to try new things all the time”, said the crooner to journalist Charlie Rose on the PBS channel in 1993. For seven decades, he followed Frank Sinatra’s advice: “Never be predictable”.

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