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Updated Jul 21, 2023, 3:58pm EDT
North America

How the world remembers Tony Bennett

Bennett at the National Italian American gala in Washington D.C., 2001
John Mathew Smith/Wikimedia Commons
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The News

Tony Bennett, the legendary big band singer whose work spanned nearly eight decades and earned him 20 Grammy Awards, has died. He was 96.

The performer announced in 2020 that he had Alzheimer’s.

We’ve curated memorable snippets from obits honoring the acclaimed musician.

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Insights

  • Frank Sinatra called him the greatest pop singer in the world. Bennett, whose recording career started in 1949, reestablished himself with a comeback in the ‘90s. In the 2000s, he recorded with Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, and Diana Krall. In August 2021, Bennett appeared with Lady Gaga for a performance at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. — Variety
  • Bennett was the oldest person to ever top charts at number one. He accomplished this twice: First, in 2011 for his album Duets II, and again in 2014 with Lady Gaga, on their jazz record Cheek to Cheek. Part of Bennett’s success in the 21st century can be attributed to his son, Danny, who took over as his manager in the mid 80s. — The Guardian
  • At one point, Bennett worked as a laundry boy, an elevator operator, and a copy boy for the Associated Press. Speaking of his term as an elevator operator, Bennett once said that he “couldn’t figure out how to get the elevator to stop at the right place,” and added that people would often have to crawl out of the elevator between floors. — The New York Times
  • Civil rights activism is an important part of Bennett’s legacy. The singer famously agreed to both participate and perform in one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s marches to Selma. Witnessing Black artists like Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole be denied admission at concert hall dining rooms and hotels galvanized his advocacy. “I’d never been politically inclined, but these things went beyond politics,” Bennett recalled in his 1998 autobiography. — NBC News
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