Legendary classical singer from the United States, Tony Bennett, passed away in New York on Friday, July 21, 2023. He died at the age of 96.
Bennett’s publicist, Sylvia Weiner, announced his death.
Raised in an era when big bands defined American pop music, Bennett achieved the seemingly impossible feat of capturing the hearts of young audiences in the 1990s—not by reinventing himself, but by expressing his joy in singing standards.
Then, at the age of 88 in 2014, Bennett became the oldest person to ever reach number one on the US album sales chart through a collection of duets with Lady Gaga, who became his friend and touring companion.
Often compared to Frank Sinatra from the beginning of his career, Bennett initially tried to distance himself, but eventually followed a similar path to other singers of the past—performing in nightclubs, on television, and in films, though his acting efforts quickly came to an end.
Starting with the recording of the film song “Because of You” in 1951, Bennett sang dozens of hits, including “Rags to Riches,” “Stranger in Paradise,” and, later on, his signature song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” which earned him two of his 19 Grammy Awards throughout his career.
He nearly died from a cocaine overdose in 1979 before recovering and eventually reviving his career.
“When rap came along, or disco, whatever the current new mode is, I didn’t try to find something that would fit into any style from the whole world of music,” Bennett said to the British cultural magazine, Clash.
“I just stayed myself and sang sincerely, trying to remain true to myself—never compromising, just doing the best songs I could think of for the public. And fortunately, it paid off.”