Tony Bennett Dies at 96
Tony Bennett, the iconic pop singer whose career spanned eight decades, has died. He was 96.
Bennett’s death was confirmed to the Associated Press by his publicist Sylvia Weiner. The cause of death was not disclosed. However, Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.
Bennett’s lengthy discography includes 61 studio albums and 11 live albums. He’s sold over 50 million albums worldwide. While having many hits in his incredible career, he notably became the oldest living musician to release a number-one debut album. In 2011 at age 85, Bennett released Duets II, which topped the Billboard 200 selling 179,000 copies in its first week of release.
Bennett’s career is obviously remarkable due to its length alone, but also for his ability to reintroduce himself to new generations. He did this on a few occasions. In the ’90s, he released a series of acclaimed albums: 1990’s Astoria: Portrait of the Artist; 1992’s Perfectly Frank; and 1993’s Steppin Out. The latter album featured a rendition of “Steppin’ Out with My Baby” that actually received airplay on MTV. In 1993, Bennett appeared with Flea and Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the MTV VMAs in a humorous segment that saw Bennett mimicking the Chili Peppers and vice-versa.
His surprising MTV popularity culminated with Bennett appearing on MTV Unplugged. The album from that television special would end up earning Bennett Album of the Year honors at the 1995 Grammy Awards.
The second notable resurgence happened in 2014 when Bennett released a traditional pop album with Lady Gaga. (Bennett and Gaga first collaborated on a cover of “The Lady is a Tramp” on Duets II.) Bennett and Gaga’s album, Cheek to Cheek, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart and won a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. The unlikely duo even toured in support of the album. Most recently, they released Love for Sale in 2021.