12 Songs, 32 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Eleven years after his first chart hit, Tony Bennett found his signature number in a bittersweet ode to a West Coast city penned by George Cory and Douglass Cross. The singer’s recording of “(I Left My Heart) In San Francisco” became an immediate standard, earning him a gold record as well as a pair of GRAMMY Awards. The tune was the centerpiece of Bennett’s 1962 album of the same title, a collection that reflected his newly regained sense of creative direction. Balancing romantic balladry with exuberant upbeat material, Bennett's at the top of his game here. Songs like “Tender Is the Night,” “Have I Told You Lately?,” and “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” are rendered with his distinct blend of suavity and sincerity. With the assistance of producer Ernest Altschuler and arranger/pianist Ralph Sharon, Bennett stretches out stylistically, embracing a bossa nova reworking of “Love for Sale” and veering into country territory for “Candy Kisses.” His smoldering take on “The Best Is Yet to Come” is at once urgent and classy. If there were any doubts that Bennett is a singer for the ages, this knockout album puts them to rest for good.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Eleven years after his first chart hit, Tony Bennett found his signature number in a bittersweet ode to a West Coast city penned by George Cory and Douglass Cross. The singer’s recording of “(I Left My Heart) In San Francisco” became an immediate standard, earning him a gold record as well as a pair of GRAMMY Awards. The tune was the centerpiece of Bennett’s 1962 album of the same title, a collection that reflected his newly regained sense of creative direction. Balancing romantic balladry with exuberant upbeat material, Bennett's at the top of his game here. Songs like “Tender Is the Night,” “Have I Told You Lately?,” and “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” are rendered with his distinct blend of suavity and sincerity. With the assistance of producer Ernest Altschuler and arranger/pianist Ralph Sharon, Bennett stretches out stylistically, embracing a bossa nova reworking of “Love for Sale” and veering into country territory for “Candy Kisses.” His smoldering take on “The Best Is Yet to Come” is at once urgent and classy. If there were any doubts that Bennett is a singer for the ages, this knockout album puts them to rest for good.

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About Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett cut his teeth singing in front of the toughest of audiences as a teenage army-band performer entertaining hardened troops stationed in Europe during World War II. Ever since, he’s carried the determination and gusto he learned back then through an epic career as America’s consummate crooner. During his initial star-making streak in the ’50s and ’60s, the New York City–born Bennett displayed both a pop singer’s flair for spotlight-seizing spectacle (listen to that soaring, curtain-closing vocal flourish on “(I Left My Heart) In San Francisco”) and a muso’s ear for jazzy improvisation (which blossomed on his supremely swinging albums with Count Basie). Bennett is always in crowd-pleasing mode—you can practically see his smile as he sashays through the big-band orchestration of “The Best Is Yet to Come.” But the natural grit in his voice can also imbue a ballad like Hank Williams’ “Cold, Cold Heart” with palpable melancholy and regret (the singer’s more artistic impulses have been channeled into a parallel career as a painter of impressionistic portraits and landscapes). Always faithful to the standards, Bennett’s staunch refusal to conform to trends has made him an unlikely hero to alternative rockers and modern pop firebrands alike, with latter-day duet partners like Elvis Costello and Lady Gaga lining up to bask in the eternal charisma that Bennett has always exuded so effortlessly.

HOMETOWN
New York, NY
GENRE
Jazz
BORN
August 3, 1926

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