Nineteen-time Grammy winner, legendary entertainer and New York City native Tony Bennett celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday. The Empire State Building presented a dynamic, choreographed music-to-light show to honour Bennett’s musical legacy last night, which was followed by a light display of the Italian and American flag colors in acknowledgement of Bennett's Italian-American heritage. His star-studded birthday festivities were held at the Rainbow Room and highlighted by Lady Gaga “flipping the switch” to light up the Empire State as well as a performance for invited guests. Fans around the world were invited inside the private birthday party for cake and presents, including a very special gift from Lady Gaga. Following the live performance, fans around the world watched the official video of the entire light show on the Empire State Building’s YouTube page. Attendees of the Rainbow Room party included: Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Katie Couric, Martin Scorcese, Regis and Joy Philbin among others.
Bennett’s birthday honours continue throughout the year with several projects commemorating the milestone in place including an NBC prime-time television special, a new book as well as recorded music and video releases. NBC just announced a December 20th airdate for TONY BENNETT CELEBRATES 90: THE BEST IS YET TO COME, which will be a two-hour special. The first listing of names announced to appear in the special, with more to come, include: Alec Baldwin, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Steve Buscemi, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Elton John, Diana Krall, kd lang, Homer Simpson, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta and Stevie Wonder as well as Bennett himself.
In conjunction with the NBC special, Columbia Records will release a CD featuring the musical performances the event comprised of new solo, duet and medley performances by Tony and the superstar guests on December 16th. Additionally, Columbia Records will release a deluxe box package set on the same date as a physical release only. This collector’s edition box set includes two audio discs of over 30 never before released and rare recordings - both live and in studio - a DVD of newly released historical footage and performances, the CD inspired by the television special and a beautifully designed book that will feature photos and essays from President Bill Clinton, Harry Belafonte, Martin Scorcese, Johnny Mandel and others.
On November 15th, Tony Bennett’s fifth book will be released, entitled Just Getting Started. (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers). Written with Scott Simon of NPR’s Weekend Edition, Tony talks about who and what have enriched his own life, including Charlie Chaplin, Judy Garland, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Cole Porter, Amy Winehouse, Fred Astaire, Lady Gaga, members of his family, significant places and more. Just Getting Started chronicles the relationship Tony has enjoyed with each one of these legends, entertainers, humanitarians, and loved ones, and reveals how the lessons and values they imparted have shaped his life. As enchanting and unforgettable as his music, the book is a beautiful, colorful, and illustrated compilation of reflections and original artwork every Bennett fan will treasure. Just Getting Started is available now for preorder at all online retailers.
ABOUT TONY BENNETT
No one in popular American music has recorded for so long and at such a high level of excellence as Tony Bennett. The 19-time Grammy Award winner has transcended generations, and is a significant contributor to the canon of influential American songs of the 20th century. His chart-toppers include “Because of You,” “Rags to Riches,” and his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” His artistry and popularity spans seven decades, among the longest tenures in American music. His 2006 and 2011 releases of Duets and Duets II, respectively, included performances with Barbra Streisand, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Michael Bublé, Bono, Lady Gaga and the late Amy Winehouse. Mr. Bennett was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 and became a Kennedy Center honoree in 2005. A celebrated painter, three of his original works are housed in the Smithsonian Institution’s permanent collection. Born in Queens, NY in 1926, Mr. Bennett served in the Army during World War II and marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma during the civil rights movement. A dedicated humanitarian, he has raised millions of dollars for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. In 1999, he and his wife, Susan Benedetto, founded Exploring the Arts to strengthen the role of the arts in public education. Today, ETA has partnerships with 33 public high schools in New York City and Los Angeles and established the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Tony's hometown of Astoria Queens in partnership with the NYC Department of Education. Tony Bennett celebrates his 90th Birthday on August 3rd, 2016.
ABOUT THE RAINBOW ROOM
Quintessential New York glamour finds its home 65 stories above the landmark Rockefeller Center. Crowning the timeless Manhattan skyline, the iconic Rainbow Room offers a modern twist on classic old-world charm, tailoring special moments for private events and Sunday brunch. Since its debut in 1934, the Rainbow Room has drawn the world’s elite to its curated, elevated and glamorous luxury. First operating as a formal supper club, the venue quickly became a New York City entertainment focal point. The Rainbow Room name was inspired by the installation of a color organ that automatically converted music into changing colors in harmony with the moods expressed by the music. To mirror this effect, crystal curtains were added to the newly restored Rainbow Room to create a light shimmering veil at the windows without hindering the view. In 2012, the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission declared Rainbow Room a New York City. Rainbow Room is one of the few interior landmarks found in New York City.