More like 87.A great American success story, as he started way back when as a singing waiter in New York. I vividly recall one conversation with one vocal buff on the Bennett vs. Sinatra question,who was better? This guy replied,Bennett is just a singing waiter and could not serve Sinatra his meatballs.I found out not too long after that conversation what he meant.Bennett is just not everyones cup of tea.I was sitting down for dinner last night at Carmine's in the Village and now I know why my meal was 75 minutes late.
13 responses Add your response
The "Bennett vs Sinatra debate" is one of those pointless exercises that will never have a clear winner.
****Bennett is just not everyone's cup of tea****
Funny, I always felt that way about Sinatra. Bennett is one of those singers that has that hard-to-explain quality of sincerity; no pretense. It could be argued that Sinatra has the higher level of technical vocal skill. Bennett, even in his prime (and, if one wants to split hairs), demonstrates less than perfect intonation, and perhaps less impeccable control. But, HE CONNECTS with the listener in a clear and simple way; his delivery is unparalleled. For me, Sinatra (especially later in his career) had a certain quality of self-importance in his singing that I find difficult to take. Early Sinatra is a beautiful thing, and his straight forward delivery of a melody has always been a model for all singers AND instrumentalists. But, later in his career that Rat Pack "baby" and "broads" persona became a little hard to take. A little bit like Hugh Heffner spending all day in a silk bath robe; PLEASE ..... I can imagine Bennett singing a lullaby to his grandchild. Sinatra? I'm not so sure.
I had the chance to see Sinatra twice, very late in his career, and also at Radio City each time. A very different experience, a full orchestra, his son conducting, and a great experience. At the same stage of his career Tony Bennett STILL exudes the sincerity you describe here. I am just glad I have been alive at the time of them both, and then got to see them each perform, multiple times. I feel the same way about Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Jesse Winchester, the list is endless. A bit off-topic, but I tend not to be overly critical, just happy to be able to be a part of it, while I still can do so.
Frank was quoted concerning Tony " You know why Tony is so popular, he's got the voice, man". Could Frank be humble?
Mid 1980s a "beautiful" blond women friend of mine had the same voice coach as Tony in Manhatten. Teacher had asked her to bring a lesson cassette to Tony while he had a date at Atlantic City. We arrived. After asking for him and being checked, we were ushered to his dressing room. We both hung out with Tony for 45 minutes until he was close to his performance time. He initiated to shake my hand five times while we were there. He then asked "Hey, are you going to see my show?" We had only come to deliver the tape. Tony said "Don't worry, follow him". We were ushered to the theatre area. The venue had normal theatre type seating with a single front row of "reserved" small cabaret round tables. We were given front center with all compliments, on Tony. Am I biased? Tony was about the friendliest person you could ever meet! His own paintings projected on a large back screen during his performance. A great show!!