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Saturday, July 22, 2023

Tony Bennett: 1926 - 2023

 Tony Bennett and Neil Young - 2010
via Judy Greenberg (@spiritroad45) 


We lost Tony Bennett yesterday.

They don't make them like Tony anymore, sadly. What a class guy. 

We were lucky to catch Tony Bennett a few times, like at Bridge School Benefit Concert in 2011. We even had the honor of briefly crossing paths with Tony as he was leaving the concert where he acknowledged our thanks with a little smile and wave.

Back in 2010, MusiCares Honored Neil Young with a tribute which included many -- not the least of which was Tony Bennett, who Neil Young cited as an inspiration that night.  To say it was an amazing night, would be a vast understatement.

Tony Bennett and Paul McCartney
"The Very Thought of You."
Bridge School Benefit Concert - October 23, 2004
Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View, CA
Photo by Kim Komenich of San Francisco Chronicle

Here's Tony Bennett & Paul McCartney at the Bridge School Benefit Concert 2004.

More on Tony Bennett & Neil Young: MusiCares Person Of The Year - 2010.

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At 7/22/2023 11:18:00 AM, Blogger Nimrod said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7/22/2023 11:20:00 AM, Blogger Nimrod said...

Guy was a badass; Excerpt from a 2021 PBS article:

It was on Thanksgiving in 1945 that Bennett was famously demoted.

His transgression? Inviting a Black friend, Frank Smith, to dine with him at a time when soldiers were still officially segregated. Bennett said a bigoted officer, determined to pull rank on him, cut off Bennett’s corporal stripes with a razor and then spat on them before flinging them to the floor. He was promptly demoted to private, and reassigned to a unit that exhumed mass graves and prepared the bodies of soldiers for shipment back to home.

“This was another unbelievable example of the degree of prejudice that was so widespread in the army during World War II,” Bennett said. “Black Americans have fought in all of America’s wars, yet they have seldom been given credit for their contribution, and segregation and discrimination in civilian life and in the armed forces has been a sad fact of life.”

At 7/22/2023 09:34:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7/22/2023 09:35:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

The term ‘Legend’ seems to be used a lot for those who move us with their art, yet I can’t find a better word to describe Tony Bennett. He was an icon when I was just a little kid, yet he endured through all these decades, while remaining relevant. Not so much because of his status, but as an artist who never had to compromise his gift. It was the younger singers who came to him, not the other way around. He was timeless in ways that defied age or genre. He always seemed to fit in with whom ever came into his life, and that is rare gift indeed. He literally was a one of a kind on so many different levels. Thankfully, he left us with an abundance of magical recordings that will entertain generations to come. Rest easy Tony, your work is done here. We salute you as a human who only came to share your beautiful gift with us all.

Peace 🙏

At 7/23/2023 12:27:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

On Thanksgiving Day, Bennett was in Mannheim when he bumped into his old friend Frank Smith. They had been in a quartet together at the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan in 1942 and were excited to see each other again.

“I was thrilled to see a familiar face from back home after being surrounded by strangers for so many months,” Bennett remembered. “He took me with him to a holiday service at a Baptist church he’d found. We wanted to spend the whole day together — it just felt so good to be with a friend.”

Bennett invited Smith to join him for Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the fixings for American servicemen. The pair got as far as the lobby of the building the Army was using as a mess hall when they were berated by an irate officer. In the segregated military of the day, the two men were not allowed to be seen with each other at a military function, never mind share a meal together.

“This officer took out a razor blade and cut my corporal stripes off my uniform right then and there,” Bennett wrote. “He spit on them and threw them on the floor, and said, ‘Get your ass out of here!’”

Bennett was reassigned from Special Services to Graves Registration, where he dug up the bodies of American soldiers killed in combat for reburial in military cemeteries. The experience “was just as bad as it sounds,” he recalled.

At 7/23/2023 01:16:00 PM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

Attended 2004 BSB. McCartney also as you mentioned. Just before the election I remember. SF Giants play his I Left My Heart in SF after every win. Gone but not forgotten.

At 7/23/2023 03:15:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Tony Bennet, RIP. Thank you for the music. He was one of a kind, so talented. His 2014 album with Lady Gaga (“Cheek to cheek”) was very good. He was always very good, or superb. It is inspiring reading the story about his demotion on Turkey Day for treating his friend as he would any other. Thank you all for sharing. It reminds me of Chris Pierce from LA, who opened the shows for Neil on the Coastal tour.

I meant to include my thoughts on Chris Pierce’s set earlier, but am a bit wiped out.He played a fantastic set on acoustic guitar and harmonica. His songs mostly had themes focused on social justice. One song gave voice to those black folks murdered 102 years ago in OK. Hundreds of successful business owners and families were massacred by an evil mob of less successful white folks, who burned it all to the ground and lynch anyone they could who wasn’t white. This enormous crime went uninvestigated for 70 years!

Chris Pierce has tons of soul, ability, and can hold singing note for like 10 minutes! He has a unique sound which is part blues, part folk rock, part....? He is quite good. Writes great songs to awaken a slumbering nation from political apathy! And his songs are so good that his music and delivery were heartwarming to the core. He signed CDs and stuff after his set at White River Amphitheater.

I am SO glad I had the whole week off for my Anniversary, which coincided with my big concerts week of the summer, including Dave Alvin as well. I am a bit tired, said the aging upstart music fan, Neil Young being #1 for me! I am pleased to report Neil Young did indeed crack open the Heavens that night in Auburn, and it rained Love on the Earth.

Hi set was awesome overall. He recorded this tour on video and I am sure he will release a concert video from the tour. We can all watch it again & enjoy. The soundboard doesn’t hear loud drunks. I know some miss the crowd interplay and energy. About that crowd chatter in live recordings! You’d be glad to miss it at some of the tour stops, I am sure!

Neil Young has achieved another gorgeous chapter of his career (a few more shows to play yet… and then? What comes next?!
Hopefully Neil will visit the rest of you before long.

Your Brother Alan in Seattle


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