The Good Life: The Autobiography Of Tony Bennett
"Tony Bennett has not just bridged the generation gap, he has demolished it," praised The New York Times. Since his appearance with the Red Hot Chili Peppers of the 1993 MTV Video Awards, and the addition of his seminal video, "Steppin' Out," to the MTV playlist, Bennett has become the hottest -- and coolest -- pop-culture icon for today's younger listeners, while remaining beloved by their parents and grandparents. An astonishing four generations have experienced the Tony Bennett magic -- the mesmerizing spell of a singer in love with singing, who embraces his audience with a soulful serenity communicated by both the man and his music.
Honored with countless awards, including eight Grammys, and with more than ninety albums to his credit (more than thirty million sold for the Columbia label alone), no other recording artist has attained Bennett's stature -- or garnered the half-century of memories shared in The Good Life. From Sinatra, Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald, to k.d. lang and Elvis Costello, Bennett shares his unique takes on the most fascinating talents of our time. Here is the story of his lifelong love affair with art, music, and performing -- from his childhood in Depression-era Queens, where opera and Billie Holiday flowed freely; to his stint as a singing waiter; to soaking up the New York jazz scene in the 1940s. With crisp wit and firmly grounded emotion, Bennett captures the people and places that shaped his sublime performances. The dozens of hits he introduced to the great American songbook, including "Because of You," "Rags to Riches," "Cold, Cold Heart," and his signature song, "I Left My Heart in Son Francisco," remain a legacy of truth and beauty for the classic art of intimate singing.
In this wonderfully revealing self-portrait, we get to know Tony Bennett as he really is: an unpretentious and thoughtful human being. His key to success is consistency: His constant dedication in his pursuit of excellence has never wavered, despite the trials and tribulations one can encounter when placing integrity above all else. Through all of his personal and artistic challenges, he has remained, in his own words, "a humanist" whose Zen-like philosophy of life is an inspiration for all ages. Like the fascinating story he shares in The Good Life, Tony Bennett is one of a kind, an American treasure, an enduring artist seasoned with experience and self-knowledge, and a true class act.
Read an Excerpt
My paternal grandfather, Giovanni Benedetto, who died before my father was born, grew up in the small, isolated village of Podargoni in Calabria, Italy.
Because the Benedetto family originally came from the north of Italy, they were fair-skinned and fair-haired, like northern Europeans, and quite unlike their fellow dark-haired, dark-skinned Calabrese. My father's mother, Maria, was so fair that she was known as "La Germanesa," the German woman. The Benedettos were essentially poor farmers, producing olive oil, figs, and wine grapes. My mother's side of the family was named Suraci, and they also made their living farming... see more