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Monday, November 21, 2011

Tony Bennett Makes Me Feel Normal!

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Tony Bennett has long been one of my favorite singers and thankfully I am not alone in this. For once in my life (my favorite of his, by the way) I can mention someone I love without the next word being "Who?"

I can't tell you how frustrating it has been my entire life to be "a few generations behind." I love films from the 30s and 40s. Music from the 40s and 50s. As someone who communicates in analogies way too much, often the analogies are lost on anyone who isn't over the age of 60. My cultural references are outdated. Even as a teenager, swooning over Gregory Peck or Perry Como, I was constantly asked "Who's that?" Apparently, Peter Frampton and Shaun Cassidy were hot back then? Ha!

Well, Tony Bennett is the master at staying current. When I express how much I love Tony, no one has to ask "Who?" They all know him whether they're nine or ninety.

With the release of his latest, *Duets II, he proves once again that he is relevant and I'm beginning to see yet another reason why. We all know his voice is incomparable, timeless. That's a given. But there's something else that I'd never been able to put my finger on. He's totally adorable, intelligent, amiable, multi-talented. Still, it's more than that. Just what is it? This is a man with a voice that clearly outshines all the rest and still he has the unique talent of making anyone who sings with him sound good. Do you know how HARD it is to be head and shoulders above anyone else in your field and still be able to make THEM sound good next to you? I can't imagine how he does it, but he definitely does it. He has the ability to adapt his voice to go with anyone else's.

As I mentioned previously in another post, You're Never Too Old To Learn,  I'd always been sort of a "music snob." And until I bought *Duets II, I'd honestly never heard Lady Gaga sing. Probably the most famous person on the planet right now and I'd never heard her sing! I just assumed, seeing all of the gimmicky crap, that she couldn't really sing and I wasn't about to waste my time on such ridiculousness. I mean after all, if you can really sing, you don't need all of that, right? Tony didn't need that. Perry didn't need that. Dean didn't need that. But that was a different world.

So I hear Lady Gaga singing Lady is a Tramp with him and I sit and listen in stunned silence. She can actually sing! And Amy Winehouse! And even Mariah Carey. Now I realize these people are hugely popular and don't need the likes of me to validate them. But how many people like me are out there, writing them off willy nilly because the type of music that's popular today doesn't showcase the actual voice? If you can scream and be over the top ridiculous, you can become a star, whether or not you have singing talent. I know a lot of people who are going to be pleasantly surprised, as I was, to know they have actual tangible talent. And that can only help them and their careers.

And they can thank Tony Bennett for that.

What I can thank Tony Bennett for, in addition to all the years I spent listening to his music, in addition to that voice being with me through tough times and good times, is that he has continued to make himself relevant and by extension, make me feel "normal."  And that's no small feat.

*Duets II,,, 2011 release from the legendary crooner. Duets II is the follow-up to Tony Bennett's multi-platinum CD, Duets

1 comment :

  1. Lady Gaga has talent? Hmmmm you're going to have to prove that one to me. LOL


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