Tony Bennett, legendary vocalist and Grammy winner, dies

Tony Bennett, who won 20 Grammys over the course of his 70+-year career, has passed away at the age of 96.

Tony Bennett, who crooned, swooned and left his heart in San Francisco, has passed away at the age of 96.

Tony Bennett had one of the most legendary careers of any singer in pop music history, working nearly consistently for around 70 years. After serving in World War II, Bennett began focusing on music, releasing his first single, “Because of You”, in 1951 through Columbia Records, who he stayed with for two decades. Bennett had a string of hits throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s such as “Rags to Riches” (famously used in Goodfellas), “Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)” and “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”, which became his signature song and nabbed him his first Grammy.

Over the span of his career, Tony Bennett would win 20 Grammys, a monumental feat that ranks him as one of the most decorated vocalists ever. Just last year, Bennett became one of the oldest Grammy winners in history, taking home Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album at the age of 95. He shared the award with Lady Gaga, who he collaborated with exclusively on two albums, bringing him his widest audience yet and again sending him to number one on the charts.

But Tony Bennett wasn’t always at the top. In the late ‘70s, Bennett had hit his lowest point, finding himself without a contract and suffering a cocaine overdose, admitting, “It seems like people don’t want to hear the music I make.” Bennett would see a resurgence in his career beginning the following decade, performing the Oscar-nominated song “Life in a Looking Glass” before truly crossing over in the ‘90s. In subsequent years, Bennett would get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, be inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame and prove to be a welcome presence throughout all media, turning up as himself in movies like Analyze This and Bruce Almighty.

Certainly Tony Bennett was one of the most talented vocalists to ever live. Although he may not be as immediately championed by some as, say, Frank Sinatra – an artist he was told not to rip off – Bennett contributed tremendously to the world of pop and jazz music, leaving an undeniable legacy.

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