The title refers to Bennett’s birthplace. Astoria, Queens. Other notable singers born in Astoria: Maria Callas (opera singer), John Frusciante (guitarist for Red Hot Chili Peppers), Cyndi Lauper (singer, songwriter, actress, LGBT activist), Dee Snider (singer of rock band Twisted Sister) Astoria is a middle-class and commercial neighborhood with a population of 154,00 (2010) in the northwestern corner of the New York City borough of Queens. The area now known as Astoria was originally called Hallet’s Cove in 1649. Beginning in the early 19th century, affluent New Yorkers constructed large residences around 12th and 14th streets, an area that later became known as Astoria Village (now Old Astoria).
Anthony Dominick Benedetto (born August 3, 1926), known professionally as Tony Bennett, is a retired American singer of traditional pop standards, big band, show tunes, and jazz. He is also a painter, having created works under his birth name that are on permanent public display in several institutions. He is the founder of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, Queens, New York.
Bennett began singing at an early age. He fought in the final stages of World War II as a U.S. Army infantryman in the European Theater. Afterward, he developed his singing technique, signed with Columbia Records and had his first number-one popular song with "Because of You" in 1951. Several tracks such as "Rags to Riches" followed in early 1953. He then refined his approach to encompass jazz singing. He reached an artistic peak in the late 1950s with albums such as The Beat of My Heart and Basie Swings, Bennett Sings. In 1962, Bennett recorded his signature song, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco". His career and personal life experienced an extended downturn during the height of the rock music era. Bennett staged a comeback in the late 1980s and 1990s, putting out gold record albums again and expanding his reach to the MTV generation while keeping his musical style intact. He remains a popular and critically praised recording artist and concert performer to date. His work includes a collaboration with Lady Gaga, having toured and recorded two albums together, Cheek to Cheek (2014) and Love for Sale (2021).
He has won 20 Grammy Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Award presented in 2001) and two Primetime Emmy Awards, and was named an NEA Jazz Master and a Kennedy Center Honoree. Bennett has sold over 50 million records worldwide. Bennett has amassed numerous accolades and is a Guinness World Record holder, being the oldest ever recording artist to release an album of new material.
In February 2021, it was revealed that Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2016. Despite the slow progression of his illness, he continued to record, tour, and perform until his retirement from concert performances in August 2021 due to physical challenges.
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