Tony Bennett – Duets II

January 01, 1970



At 85 years young, Tony Bennett has indubitably earned the
right to do and say what he wants.


A veteran of World War II who fought right in the heart of
enemy territory as an infantryman in Germany, an active voice during the Civil
Rights Movement and a man deemed a “Citizen of the World” by the United Nations
for his worldwide humanitarian efforts, if this child of the Great Depression
wants to go on Howard Stern and criticize how George Bush’s blundering of
American Foreign Policy caused the attacks on 9/11, the man was just simply
expressing his viewpoint, and an incredibly educated and insightful one at
that. Who the hell are those Tea Bagging idiots over at FOX News to criticize
this genuine American hero and icon for saying what he believes? The funny
thing is, the man is 15 years shy of a century old and he’s more cognitively
sharp than most of the very Neo-Con pundits who gave him grief over the whole


In addition to levying his freedom of speech in the public
discourse, living the good life as a spry octogenarian has also earned Mr.
Bennett all-access carte blanche within the confines of the music industry
complex as well, a business he has succeeded in time and again for over 60
years. And Duets II is part and
parcel to those liberties.


Tony has been doing duets since getting down with Rosemary
Clooney on the old CBS TV/Radio program Songs
for Sale
back in the summer of 1950. He’s preformed in tandem with a
mind-boggling array of artists from Frank Sinatra to Judy Garland to Ella
Fitzgerald to Elvis Costello to Paul McCartney. And five years after
commemorating his 80th birthday with the Grammy-winning 2006 title Duets: An American Classic and its
subsequent Emmy-winning TV spinoff, the Rob Marshall-directed special Tony Bennett: An American Classic, the
Astoria, Queens native aims to enamor a whole new generation of music fans with
Duets II.


Produced by the great Phil Ramone with Tony’s brother Daegal
Bennett engineering, these new collaborations exhibit perhaps the widest swath
of talent he’s ever assembled on record yet, working with five generations of
acts from all over the pop map. Tastemakers will naturally gravitate towards
the likes of opening track, a gorgeous version of the 1930 standard “Body and
Soul” recorded with Amy Winehouse four months prior to her tragic death by
misadventure; the historic first time pairing of longtime label co-habitants
Tony and Willie Nelson on Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields’ “On The Sunny
Side of the Street”; and a magnificent rendition of Kurt Weill’s 1943
standard “Speak Low” with Norah Jones.


However, don’t scoff at the collabs clearly geared towards
the soccer mom set before hearing them first. Bennett harbors a magic about him
that inspires you to become caught up in the beauty of his performance prowess
regardless of what artist is playing second banana to him on the microphone, giving
him or her automatic shine with his artistic credibility by virtue of
association alone – be it Carrie Underwood or Lady Gaga or John Mayer or Mariah
Carey. Never thought you’d voluntarily listen to such aunt-centric marquee
stars as Andrea Bocelli, Faith Hill and Josh Groban? Check out how sublime they
are on Duets II sidling up alongside
the true master and you might find yourself turning in your tastemaker cred for
a used copy of Romanza in no time.


But that’s just how the man born Anthony Dominick Benedetto
rolls; and at his age, he has most certainly earned the right to swagger with
whomever he pleases and speak his mind on whatever he wants. Just wait until
you’re 85. You’ll see.


and Soul”, “On The Sunny Side of the Street”, “Stranger in Paradise” RON HART


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