Tony Bennett has died. The singer was 96 - Bennett’s publicist confirmed the singer’s death to the Associated Press. Bennett's career lasted from the 1950s to the 2020s and he first scored a hit with 'Because of You'. He was still making chart success with Lady Gaga before illness forced his retirement. In recent years Bennett suffered from the effects of Alzheimer's. Known too as a consummate jazz singer, noted particularly for classic albums made in the 1970s with Kind of Blue pianist Bill Evans, Bennett - born Anthony Dominick Benedetto - grew up in New York and as a young man liked Bing Crosby and Al Jolson. He worked as a singing waiter and during the Second World War served with the 63rd Infantry in France and Germany. At the end of the 40s Bob Hope spotted him singing in a Greenwich Village club under the name Joe Bari. Hope renamed him Tony Bennett and he toured widely with the celebrated comic.
Bennett's first UK number one was for 'Stranger In Paradise' but it was 'I Left My Heart in San Francisco' that became Bennett's ultimate signature song. His long career saw rejuvenation later in the MTV era and his MTV Unplugged duets with KD Lang and Elvis Costello brought him new audiences as did his later work with Amy Winehouse. In 2011, Body and Soul in collaboration with Winehouse made the Billboard Hot 100, making Bennett the oldest living artist to chart in its history. Bennett turned to jazz again working with Bill Charlap on a sublime Jerome Kern songbook and with Lady Gaga. Cheek to Cheek was a huge seller for Bennett and Gaga followed up by a Cole Porter tribute album.