Tony Bennett died

July 21, 2023 • 12:45 pm

Well, the great singer lived a long, full life, making duets with Lady Gaga into his nineties. He died today at 96. I’ll say a bit more in tomorrow’s Nooz, but here’s a pair of songs that are among my favorites. What a rich voice the man had!

I’ll put up first my favorite Bennett solo, though not many people know of it and it never appears on Bennett “best of” lists. It’s “Love Look Away” from the musical “Flower Drum Song.” This song, with its gorgeous melody and Bennett’s belting, always gives me tingles. It was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein and first performed in 1958, the year of this recording.

I found one site that said this: “While the score is quite beautiful, Flower Drum Song is seldom performed today due to concerns regarding Asian-American stereotypes.” Perhaps that’s true (I’ve never seen the play or movie), but I can’t say that this song evinces any stereotypes.

This is the best of quite a few covers of this song (you can hear the original cast recording here and see the movie version here).

This is my favorite duet: Bennett and Lady Gaga singing “The Lady is a Tramp“, again written by Rodgers (but this time with Lorenz Hart) for the 1937 musical “Babes in Arms.” What fun these two are having!

20 thoughts on “Tony Bennett died

  1. A talent for the ages. His latest work with Lady Gaga was some of his best. It was so touching how she treated him with such respect and tenderness during their performances, even as his abilities started to fail him. Simply beautiful.

  2. A profound loss.

    Indeed, Bennett did a lot for the art in his later years – to say nothing of his early years.

    Thank you, Tony.

  3. Knowing that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s, Tony Bennett’s death didn’t come as a shock, but it does sadden me knowing that the last of my favorite singers from the classic era of American singing is gone. As the NY Times story today pointed out, he led just about the least scandal-plagued life any celebrity could, and by virtually all accounts was a fine human being. I have many favorites among his songs and albums but will mention just a few: The Movie Song Album is great from start to finish. His version of The Shadow of Your Smile is beautiful. Songs for the Jet Set (also known as If I Ruled the World) is also terrific. I love his versions of Fly Me to the Moon and How Insensitive from that album. He had a 70-year career! Fabulous.

    1. “I always enjoy ‘Rags to Riches.’”

      Yes, 1953. I was a freshman in high school. I think that was his first big hit although “Because of You” may have been a year or two earlier.

      1. I knew Ken would make with the Goodfellas – Indeed, the shortest, plainest of lines was made instantly indelible – that’s what makes Bennett immortal – a sound like no other.

  4. Tony Bennett was from the greatest generation and made it into WWII in Europe. He was one of a kind and one of our greatest singers.

  5. In the mid 70s, Bennett did a couple of duet records with jazz pianist Bill Evans that are excellent. Always with the understated but hip sense of swing.

  6. I absolutely love Tony Bennett’s “Love Look Away.” I imagine it in a medley with Johnny Mathis’s “You Are Beautiful,” also from “Flower Drum Song.”

    Professor Ceiling Cat’s posting of “Love Look Away” shows Glenn Osser as the instrumental arranger on “Love Look Away.” He also arranged not a few songs for Johnny Mathis, as both singers were with Columbia Records. Though Ray Ellis arranged ” You Are Beautiful.” Two great arrangers. Absolutely gorgeous arrangements.

    I’m also reminded of Franz Waxman’s score of “Sayonara” and John Barry’s score of “You Only Live Twice.”

    Am looking forward to seeing Johnny Mathis for the third time in the fall. He endures, turning 88 in September of this year.

    Tony Bennett and Andy Williams:


    I do carry on. As Kris Kristofferson once wrote in some liner notes quoting William Blake;

    “Excess of sorrow laughs; excess of joy weeps.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *