One of the finest voices of 20th century American pop, Tony Bennett began his career in the '50s, under the watchful eye of producer Mitch Miller, recording huge hits such as "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," and "Because of You." In 1958, his album BASIE SWINGS-BENNETT SINGS was a precursor to later jazz-based work. That same year, "Firefly" was Bennett's last US Top 40 entry until 1962, when he made a major comeback with the Grammy-winning "I Left My Heart In San Francisco." In '93 and '94 he was awarded Grammys for his albums PERFECTLY FRANK and STEPPIN' OUT.
Plays fine, sounds sublime. From a well cared for personal collection. Buy with confidence--see my feedback. Thanks and enjoy this great CD.
Tony Bennett has a typical lack of effusiveness about the kudos of his seven-decade career, but he does reportedly display an inscribed picture from a longtime colleague and fellow saloon singer in his Manhattan apartment. It reads: "To the best goddamned pop singer I've ever heard." It's signed "Frank Sinatra." But don't take the Chairman's word for it. Just listen as these two discs bound from one masterly performance to the next, documenting a career whose ups and downs--Bennett actually went long years without a record contract--belie a robust evolution of vocal strength and subtlety of phrasing. The arc of Bennett's art in the decade from "Cold Cold Heart" and "Rags to Riches" to "The Best Is Yet To Come" and his signature "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" is remarkable enough, but it just keeps getting better. When the singer's management shrewdly orchestrated his MTV-powered "comeback" in the late 1980s and '90s, Bennett delivered considerably more than mere hype. Indeed, the highlights of those efforts (a warm, semi-autobiographical collection of ballads; tributes to Sinatra, Astaire, Ellington, and the blues; the obligatory MTV Unplugged set) included here barely skim the surface and arguably warrant a double-disc collection all their own. Still, the 39 tracks here represent the best kind of anthology: one that leaves you craving more. --Jerry McCulley
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