In celebration of his 85th birthday this August, American singer and icon, Tony Bennett, is releasing, Tony Bennett: Duets II, September 19th. Recording has already begun at LA’s famous Capitol Studios with further sessions scheduled for Spring in New York, Nashville, and Italy.
An impressive stellar line-up has been confirmed to collaborate on this very special collection: Mariah Carey, Natalie Cole, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones and Amy Winehouse. Bringing a little ‘country flavour’ is Faith Hill, Willie Nelson and Carrie Underwood. And from the international stage: angel-voiced Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and Latino singer-songwriter, Alejandro Sanz from Spain, are also involved.
Duets II follows up 2006’s Grammy winning bestseller, Tony Bennett Duets: An American Classic, which became Bennett’s best-selling record to date. Both KD Lang and Michael Buble featured on this collection and have been confirmed to duet with Bennett on the follow-up.
Duets II isn’t merely a collection that commemorates a special birthday, but it’s a stark reminder of how iconic Bennett’s sound and style really is.
Born and raised in New York in August 1926, Anthony Dominik Benedetto, served a brief stint as an infantryman with the US Army in the final stages of World War II, before beginning his musical career. Bennett signed to Columbia Records and scored his first No.1. in 1951 with Because Of You. He reached an artistic peak in the late 50’s with albums, The Beat Of My Heart and Basie Swings, Bennett Sings and recorded his signature song, I Left My Heart In San Francisco in 1962.
However, Bennett’s success was not without turbulence: his career took a nose dive in the wake of the “rock music” era when there was no demand for his jazz and show tunes, the breakdown of his marriage to Patricia Beech due to his hectic touring schedule, losing his contract with Columbia Records, a disastrous second marriage to actress, Sandra Grant, and a near-fatal cocaine overdose in the late 70s brought Bennett crashing down to rock bottom.
A much-needed turnaround came in 1979 in the form of Bennett’s sons, Danny and Dae (from his first marriage) who rescued Bennett from complete burnout. Danny took over as his Father’s manager and began booking Bennett to perform at colleges and small theatres in a bid to break away from his “Vegas” image. By 1986, Bennett was re-signed to Columbia Records and topped the charts for the first time since 1972 with The Art Of Excellence.
Bennett made a phenomenal comeback in the 1980s-1990s when, thanks to Danny’s clever booking of slots on Saturday Night Live and Late Night With David Letterman, Bennett was ‘introduced’ to the MTV Generation, gaining himself legions of young, new fans and finding a niche for his style and sound after all.
In his outstanding career, Tony Bennett has won 15 Grammy Awards, 2 Emmy Awards, been named an NEA Jazz Master and a Kennedy Centre Honouree. Bennett has sold over 50 million records worldwide and has also carved out an accomplished career as a painter under the Benedetto as well as being the founder of The Frank Sinatra School Of The Arts in Queens, New York.
Now in 2011, Bennett may be closing in on the grand ol’ age of 85 but the singer shows no signs of stopping! After an impressive and colourful career to date, it’s no wonder Tony Bennett is deemed an icon of our time and it’s certainly no surprise that ‘the kids’ are queuing up to sing with him.
“I love the Great American Songbook and have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to introduce many of these songs to the public. It is a thrill to perform them once again with artists that I admire to create new interpretations of the music I love so much” – Tony Bennett
The US and International recordings for Duets II will be filmed by award-winning cinematographer Dion Beebe and will be released in conjunction with the new CD. Tony Bennett: Duets II will be released September 19th 2011 on RPM/Columbia Records.