Joe Biden On Tony Bennett: He “Didn’t Just Sing The Classics – He Himself Was An American Classic”
President Joe Biden said that Tony Bennett, who died on Friday, “didn’t just sing the classics – he himself was an American classic.”
In a statement, Biden praised Bennett’s talents as a singer who won over generations of fans, while recognizing his performances before political and world leaders as well as his social activism.
Biden said, “Resisting the pull to adjust his style to fit in with the times, his distinct voice gave melody and rhythm about the good life, how the best is yet to come, the way you look tonight, and leaving your heart in San Francisco.
“Starting out as a singing waiter in New York City, he became one of America’s most beloved performers, selling tens of millions of records and winning over generations of fans. He always found new audiences and collaborators to enchant – the mark of a truly timeless artist.
“Along the way, he lived history. He helped liberate prisoners at a subcamp of Dachau. He joined the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. He performed for Nelson Mandela, John F. Kennedy, and Queen Elizabeth II, and recorded music with everyone from the Count Basie Orchestra to Lady Gaga. Bob Hope gave him his stage name. Frank Sinatra was his mentor. There’s no doubt about it – Tony Bennett’s life was legendary. And his contributions to the arts in America will endure.
“Jill and I have been fans of Tony’s music for a long time – not only because of his beautiful voice, but also the joy that he brought to everything he did. We send our deepest condolences to his family and fans around the world.”
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Bennett performed for presidents including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. A recording of Bennett’s sessions with Dave Brubeck, performed near at the Washington Monument in 1962, was released in 2013. John F. Kennedy’s White House had booked Bennett and Brubeck to perform for college summer interns, but it had to be moved from the White House grounds because of the crowd size, according to the AP.
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