He is a veteran of World War II, a dedicated pacifist, and the oldest living artist to get a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (his duet with Amy Winehouse, "Body & Soul," reached #87 when he was 85 years old).
Mr. Bennett has won 18 Grammy Awards, including Best Male Vocal Performance, Album of the Year, and a Lifetime Achievement Award.
And he's a hell of a singer.
I didn't like Tony Bennett when I first heard him. His older recordings, which my parents had, were mostly lush orchestrations such as "Because of You" (1951). I basically thought of him as another Perry Como....and this is not a compliment.
However, a few years later I started hearing what I consider heartier or meatier songs, such as "Rags To Riches" (which I first heard in an episode of Laverne & Shirley), "Stranger In Paradise," "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," and "The Lady Is A Tramp." These songs made me a fan.
Much later I heard great things about his 2007 CD "Duets," so I bought it and LOVED it. I also got the follow-up, "Duets II", in 2011. In fact, I now have quite a few Tony Bennett recordings.
Last year Mr. Bennett went on a mini-tour with Lady Gaga to promote their mini-album, "Cheek To Cheek." When this album hit Number One on the Billboard Album Chart, he because the oldest living artist to have a Number One album.
Happy Birthday, Tony Bennett!
You can really tell how great he is when you hear him sing
"Fly Me To The Moon" while un-plugged!