Just two weeks before his ninety-seventh birthday, Anthony Dominick Benedetto, also known as Tony Bennett, who collected eighteen Grammy Awards, two Emmy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award during his eighty-five-year career, passed away on July 21st.
Born and raised in New York City to Italian immigrants of Greek descent, he first appeared on stage at the age of ten, but after the war he took a few years off before signing with Columbia.
His first big hit was Because of You, which went to number one in 1951, followed by several others. A man with a clear sympathy for jazz, his burgeoning career was halted by the rise of rock as a genre, and he returned at the turn of the eighties and nineties, producing several gold records.
Selling more than fifty million records in his career, Bennett’s last big hit was Cheek to Cheek (2014), a collaboration with Lady Gaga, but they have also collaborated on a number of occasions in recent years.
In 2020, the musician announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease four years earlier, but that he still felt life was a great gift in its shadow, and that he had not stopped performing.
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