A Look Back at Tony Bennett's Life on His 90th Birthday
His life, his legacy, his Grammys.
By MATT FRIEDLANDER
August 3, 2016, 2:00 PM
• 3 min read
-- He may have left his heart in San Francisco, but Tony Bennett is still going strong as he celebrates his 90th birthday today.
The legendary pop-jazz crooner, born Anthony Benedetto in New York City, burst onto the music scene in 1951 with two chart-topping hits, "Because of You" and a cover of Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart." He went on to score more than 30 Top 40 singles by 1965.
Among Bennett's best-known tunes are the 1953 No. 1 smash "Rags to Riches" and, of course, his enduring 1962 classic "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," for which he received two Grammy Awards. Overall, Bennett has won 19 Grammys, including a prestigious Lifetime Achievement honor.
While his career took a downturn in the late 1960s, Bennett enjoyed a major comeback in the 1990s, with his 1994 MTV Unplugged album going platinum and winning the Grammy for Album of the Year. The singer's popularity spiked again in the 2000s, as his 2006 Duets album and its 2011 sequel, "Duets II," reached No. 3 and No. 1, respectively, on the Billboard 200.
In 2014, at age 88, Bennett again topped the charts with "Cheek to Cheek," his collaboration with Lady Gaga. Bennett and Gaga supported the album with a successful tour and TV special.
Bennett has received a variety of other major honors over the course of his long career, including two Emmy Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and recognition by the Kennedy Center Honors.
Besides music, Bennett is a prolific and acclaimed painter.
In celebration of Bennett's 90th birthday, the Empire State Building in New York City will feature a light show tonight synced to some of the singer's well-known songs. In addition, he will attend a star-studded party at 30 Rockefeller Plaza featuring Lady Gaga and other celebrities.