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Tony Bennett at Paris for New Year’s Weekend

Dec 24, 2001 1:31 AM

Tony Bennett has proven to be one of the most resilient musical talents of the 20th century. The multiple Grammy award winner comes to Paris Las Vegas Saturday and Sunday at 9 p.m., and Monday at 10:30 p.m. For ticket information, call (702) 946-4567 or (877) 374-7469.

Anthony Dominick Benedetto was born in Queens, N.Y. in 1926. From an early age, Bennett worked on his musical craft. As a teenager, Bennett waited tables and practiced his singing. During WWII, Bennett sang in military bands entertaining the troops in Europe. His training took place at the American Theatre Wing School. While performing with Pearl Bailey, he attracted the attention of comedian Bob Hope who suggested that the singer change his name from Joe Bari to Tony Bennett.

His early fame came in the 50s due to hit singles such as “Because of You” and “Cold, Cold Heart.” From 1950 to 1964 Bennett’s career soared with 24 hits making the Top 40 charts. During this time, Bennett won a Grammy for his hit “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” He also released many singles during this time that have become synonymous with his name including “Stranger in Paradise” and “Rags to Riches.”

During the 60s and the beginning of the 70s, Bennett shifted his career toward album-oriented recording, with 25 records landing on the charts between 1962 and 1972. His skill and talent as a singer are proven not only by the popularity and hits he garnered but also by the integrity and genius of those who performed and recorded with him including: Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Ray Charles, Ruby Braff and Woody Herman.

In the later part of the 70s and into the 80s, Bennett took time away from recording to concentrate on performing live, and to work on his skill as a painter. He ended the sabbatical with the 1986 release, The Art of Excellence.

Bennett’s popularity continued into the 90s. Generation Xers have become acquainted with him due to many young artists citing him as an influence, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers.