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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 04: Tony Bennett speaks at The Art Students League's 2019 Gala at The Edition Hotel on November 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Shorefire)

One night, a long time ago, Lisa and I got to meet Tony Bennett.

Today, August 3rd, Tony Bennett turns 96 years old. Happy Birthday, Tony!

He’s the last of the great singers of the great American songbook.  I discovered Tony late in life and by that I mean twenty to twenty five years ago.

He’s famous for singing a song, ABOUT A CITY, A CITY!  But you know what, every time I hear “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” I tear up a bit.

 

Here’s the story about our brush with Mr. Bennett.

So we were invited to see Tony perform at Chastain Park in Atlanta, now more than 25 years ago.  We were guests of his record label, as we often were in those days.  It was a wonderful night in the park.

We were told early on that there wouldn’t be any backstage visits after the show, he just wasn’t up to it, and he had to get on the plane for the next stop in the tour.  But then something changed, at intermission, yes, there was an intermission, we were told that that there would indeed be a little time to have a meet and greet backstage but that because of his tight schedule, there wouldn’t be time to pose for photos.  Ok, at least we’ll still get to meet him.

So, at the end of the show, we were gathered up and taken backstage.  Once we gathered in the room, we were told he’d be there in just a couple of minutes, but that there wouldn’t be time for photos.

In he walks, looking great in a linen suit.  It as summertime in Atlanta.  He speaks to us as a group, answers a couple of questions and then looks around and asks, “lets take some pictures, why aren’t we talking any pictures?” .  We tell him we were told that there would be no photos.  He said, “that’s ridiculous, looks at Lisa and says, “come here, sweetheart, lets take a picture”.  And there it is.

Tony & Us

Tony performed for the last time, earlier this year at Radio City with his friend Lady Gaga.  It was supposed to be a two night event, but in the end, his family said there was just no way he could do two nights.  He’s suffering from Alzheimer’s.  We’re losing him.  Although, put him behind a piano, and ask him to sing a song, he’s still wonderful.

It was a night, more than 25 years ago, that Lisa and I will never forget.  And I will listen to Tony for as long as I live.

If you’d like to see my “Rescue of the Week”, click here.