I left my heart with Tony Bennett last night at New World StagesTheatre in New York City. The 19-time Grammy-award winner appeared for a one hour, up close and personal chat with Hudson Union Society in front of an intimate audience of its members and guests. A career spanning six decades, a personality that exhumes love, gentleness, intelligence and dignity at every turn, and a singing style totally his own — as he continues to celebrate his 90th birthday, Tony Bennett is an American icon adored the world-over who has socially sparked our lives.
Candid and charming as ever, Tony shared with the packed house his thoughts on those who have inspired him over the years. The names ran the gamut from his wife Susan Benedetto, to Amy Winehouse, Cary Grant, Sammy Davis, Jr., Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, Lady Gaga and Dr. Martin Luther King. He also had extremely inspiring comments about racism back in the day and living in the Unites States.
Sound Bytes (Excerpts)
Here are some second-person sound bytes from the one-on-one interview with Tony Bennett by Hudson Union Society (excerpted as I remember them):
On Amy Winehouse – probably the greatest jazz singer in the world, next to Billy Holliday.
On Carey Grant – Carey Grant told me not to go into the film business…so, I didnt.
On Lady Gaga – She is very talented. Constantly learning. We think alike when it comes to jazz. That’s why it worked so well. She’s doing film now, and will surprise everybody. She will be around for a very long time.
On himself – I only do great songs. That’s what I do.
On Dr. Martin Luther King – I owe alot to Dr. Martin Luther King. …he showed us how to return hatred with love. Those of us in the music business owe our careers to Dr. King and the civil rights revolution.
On Racism in America – I remember going to visit a friend, a great pianist at a club and wanting to see him backstage after the show. They told me that I was not allowed in his dressing room (segregation), we would have to wait for him to come out.
“If this country isn’t going to work, then the world isn’t going to work.” — Tony Bennett
On America – We live in the greatest country. I perform all over the world and America is the greatest country. In Italy, it’s all about Italy, in Greece, it’s all about Greece. Nowhere else can you live in a country with every race, every religion and every orientation.
“We knew the genius of so many African Americans firsthand: it was in the music we performed every day. We would not have our careers – or lives– without the gifts of the African American artists who created jazz and the blues, our great American musical art forms.” — Tony Bennett from the book Just Getting Started
In his new book, Just Getting Started with Scott Simon, Tony reflects on the remarkable people who inspired the lessons he has learned over his 90 years. Just Getting Started, is available in stores and online as of November 15, 2016.
Thank you Mr. Tony Bennett for inspiring me, and others all over the world. We are so lucky that you are just getting started! The world needs to clone you. — Abbe is Socially Sparked! @sosparkednews
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