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Iconic singer Anthony Benedetto (Tony Bennett) was born in 1926 in Queens, NY. Through the help of his uncle, a fixture in the show business, Bennett began performing at age 10 and selling tickets to local venues to gather a fan base.
As the case with most young men during those times, Bennett was drafted into the army in 1944. He was close to death on many occasions while stationed in Germany. After the war ended, Bennett remained in Germany and song in a Special Services band that played for American servicemen.
In 1949 Bennett’s life changed. He had moved back to New York and found work singing as a waiter in a local restaurant. While there he was discovered by a singer by the name of Peal Bailey who invited him to open for her at a concert in Greenwich Village. At that concert a guy by the name of Bob Hope was in attendance and was so impressed by what he saw in Bennett, Hope invited Bennett to tour with him as an opening act. Tony Bennett’s story begins to take place.
Bennett signed with Columbia Records, of which nearly all his albums are released on, in 1950 and released his single “Because of You” in 1951. It was an instant success as it rose to #1 on the popular charts. He reached an artistic peak in the late 1950s with albums such as The Beat of My Heart and Basie Swings, Bennett Sings.
Bennett hit rock bottom in the late seventies when his then recently founded record label failed. Around the same time, Bennett also developed a drug addiction and was pursued by the IRS.
With help from his kids, Bennett moved back to New York, landed shows at smaller arenas, and started a payment plan with the IRS. In 1986, Bennett resigned with Columbia Records and released “The Art of Excellence”, his first song to reach the charts since 1972.
Tony Bennett is American music icon. He has struggled through his ups and downs like all of us but in recent years he has reestablished his career and is now bigger than ever. In 2014, he even recorded a collaboration with Lady Gaga entitled, Cheek to Cheek. Over his career Bennett has He has won 19 Grammy Awards, two Emmy Awards, and was named an Kennedy Center Honoree. He has sold over 50 million records worldwide.
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