I recall the first time heard Tony Bennett perform in concert. I was still in high school and saw that he was appearing in Dallas at Flag Pole Hill near White Rock Lake in East Dallas with the Dallas Symphony. I had little or no knowledge of the iconic singer other than from his standard, I Left My Heart In San Francisco. What struck me that warm July 4th day was the man’s intensity and love for the Great American Songbook. Since that day I have seen Bennett no less than 25 times and look forward to his visits to our city.
Tony Bennett has an amazing background. In World War II he helped liberate prison camps. He had many close calls and actually engaged the forces in house-to-house and city-to-city clean up. It was after the war that Pearl Bailey discovered Bennett and invited him to open for her. That first evening Bob Hope was in the audience and was so taken that he invited Bennett to go on the road with him. Bennett went on to becomes a crooner of pop tunes of the day, and his first big hit was Because of You recorded in 1950, and it reached number one on the charts where it remained for ten weeks selling millions of copies.
In 1956, and many hits later, Bennett hosted a Saturday evening variety program on NBC. Years would pass where he enjoyed a good life and recorded many incredible tunes. But he hit hard times in the later 60′s and 70′s and developed a harsh drug habit. The IRS would eventually seize his homes. In 1979 he had a near fatal overdose and turned to his sons for guidance. There was a period where Bennett was under a career reconstruction managed by his son Danny Bennett, who has a strong business acumen. Tony Bennett went on to be booked on programs such as David Lettermen and eventually caught the ear of a younger generation. He made his official comeback after recording his MTV Unplugged album which shot his career into full on incredible once again.
Overcoming incredible odds Tony Bennett now plays for presidents and kings around the planet.
The AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Dallas POPS proudly present Tony Bennett, the 17 time Grammy Award-winning musician whose music spans over six decades, at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in the Dallas Arts District. The show is part of Capital One Bank Bravo Series.
Tickets range from $135 to $30, and can be purchased now online or by phone at 214.880.0202 or in person at the AT&T Performing Arts Center Information Center, 2353 Flora Street (Monday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Tuesday thru Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.).