Thursday, July 19, 2018

Stax ( featuring: Booker T & the MGs, Memphis Horns, William Bell and Sam and Dave)

Stax started life as the Satellite label in 1959. The founders were brother and sister, Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton. Satellite Records was renamed Stax in 1961. The name was formed by the first two letters of Stewart and Axton and the studio concentrated upon Southern soul music featuring a mix of both black and white musicians and production staff. The roots of soul music lay somewhere between Blues (which praises fleshy desire and human frailty), and Gospel (spiritual inspiration). Soul music was born in Memphis and featured melancholic and melodic horns, organ, bass and drums. The first successful artists were Rufus Thomas and his daughter Carla Thomas.

Whilst Stax stable brought forth many artists it was like Tamla Motown in Detroit and held a group of studio based musicians who appeared on most of the recordings What the Funk Bros did in Detroit, Booker T and the MGs and the Memphis Horns (a splinter horn section of the Markeys) were the resident house bands for Stax.

Mar-Keys (formerly known as The Royal Spades) were signed to the company and shortly after Booker T Jones joined the label. They soon began performing as Booker T. and the Memphis Group in 1962. Many people associated MGs with the sports car from Abingdon, England which did Stax and the band no harm. Booker T & the MGs was made up of Booker T Jones, Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn, and Al Jackson. All were to appear in the movie the Blues Brothers which became a cult film in the 80s.

Al Jackson can be heard on drums on many Stax releases. Each of the classy hits hold their own stories and legends about just how they came about like the Stax Classic, In the Midnight Hour (1965). Appeared Wilson Pickett and Steve Cropper were sent to a motel room with a supply of Jack Daniels and told not to come without a hit song.

William Bell started with Stax in 1961 and began writing with Booker T Jones not long after. In 1965 the pair scored a hit with "Crying All By Myself " which was issued with a flip side "Don't Stop Now". All nighters, i.e. dance clubbers picked it up and the song remains a firm favourite ever since.

Many other hits followed with the best known in coming in 1968 " A Tribute To A King". This was written a few days after the tragic Death of Otis Redding.

Isaac Hayes was an important songwriter, producer, and session pianist during the company's earlier period; with David Porter, he was responsible for writing and producing Sam and Dave's "Hold On, I'm Coming" and "Soul Man."

On his own, Hayes developed a unique blend, part jazz, part soul, part easy listening. He talked on his records in a mellow, bantering manner, and he used an orchestra to provide instrumental cushioning. In many ways Hayes was a founding father of the sweet soul of the 1970s. Stax sadly became bankrupt in 1975 with virtually all the assets, including masters, both completed and unfinished recordings, together with all Stax contracts, were purchased by Fantasy Records.

Worth a listen:
Rufus Thomas
Walking the dog

Booker T and the MGs
Green Onions

Wilson Picket
In the Midnight hour (1965)

Otis Reading
Sitting in the Dock of the Bay

William Bell
A tribute to the king (1968)

The Story of Scottish Pop : BBC Radio Scotland

The Story of Scottish Pop BBC Radio Scotland. Vic Galloway celebrates the story of Scottish pop music to mark the opening of a new exhibit at The National Museum of Scotland.

(Video Courtesy: NationalMuseumsScotland Youtube Channel)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Rod Stewart (Faces)

Roderick David Stewart was born on 10th January 1945 in Highgate, London. The youngest of the family, Rod has two older brothers and sisters. Apart from Mum who was a Cockney, father and Rod’s siblings were all born in Scotland. Rod was spoilt as the youngest but showed interest in singing and was very much influenced by Al Jolson. Rod grew up a fanatical Scottish Soccer Fan and was quite handy as a player himself because he became an apprentice footballer with Brentford Football Club in West London. Ever impetuous Rod could not take being a boot boy and left. He went to Art School but did not complete the course, worked with his brother Bob as a sign writer but could not settle then eventually he hitched to Paris with folk singer Wiz Jones. Rod had learned to play the guitar at school and taught himself the harmonica. By day they busked and by night they went clubbing. A chance meeting with Memphis Slim saw Rod with his first professional engagement. Deported from France for vagrancy in 1963, Rod joined his first R&B outfit, Jimmy Powell and the Five Dimensions where he played harmonica (harp).

He soon built up a reputation and was lured into joining the higher profile, Long John Baldry’s Hoochie Coochie Men (formerly Cyril Davies' All Stars), when he was 19 years old. The band evolved into the Steampacket, (Long John Baldry, Stewart, Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll, Mickey Waller and Rick Brown) and did some recording.

When nothing came 'Rod the Mod' left to join Shotgun Express in 1965. He shared the vocal spotlight with Beryl Marsden and played in front of an impressive line-up which included Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac) and Peter Bardens (Camel).

Another move found him in the Jeff Beck group where he got the kind of exposure he was after and got the experience of touring North America. He teamed up with Ronnie Wood and the musos joined forces with the Small Faces, a mod band with considerable amount of chart success who had lost their lead singer/guitarist Steve Marriott. Rod and the Faces were viewed as out of step with the trends of the time. Whilst Rod strutted around the stage in brightly coloured satin suits, silk scarfs and platform shoes His spiky mullet was a fashion antithesis to his contemporaries who wore faded jeans and long flowing locks. But as the new age music grew to adopt Glam Rock Rod and Faces were seen as trend setters. In 1969, Rod Stewart released An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down. This is considered to be a mile-stone recording.

Simultaneously Rod and the Faces recorded their debut album called First Step, but this did only modest business.

The popularity of Rod and the Faces grew in the States and by mid 70s when Rod released his second solo album Gasoline Alley it reached the Top 30 and stayed in the listings for over a year.

Rod’s third album Every Picture Tells A Story (which he produced himself) saw him established as a brilliant interpretive singer, a prolific songwriter and a notable record producer. Rod was also an accomplished musician as his guitar work on Mandolin Wind would attest. Reason To Believe was the A side single from the album but DJ across the States played the flip side for preference. This was unusual since the song was over five minutes long, had no chorus or hooks line and was not immediately catchy. Despite this, the song took off and very soon radio stations all over were playing Maggie May. Rod achieved the impossible - a feat that had evaded both the Beatles and Elvis Presley at their peak! Maggie May hit No. 1 in Britain and America at the same time as the album Every Picture Tells A Story hit No. 1. Rod was at No.1 simultaneously in other countries too. This feat had never been achieved before.

Rod Stewart fever followed and the wee man became a No 1 Pop Star with many of his previous recordings released to cash in on his sell ability. He still fronted the Faces albeit the success was so far as a solo performer. Back in the studio the band put together their third and arguably best album, A Nod's As Good As a Wink to a Blind Horse. The album shot to the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic and the single Stay with Me was an enormous hit.

For the first time many fans were made aware (thanks to television) their favorite solo singer was also the lead singer in the Faces. Rod's newly found army of fans could not get enough of him and whilst he and the Faces shared the limelight with other Glam rockers including Elton John and the Electric Warrior, Mark Bolan, Rod’s popularity was international. However, all was not well behind the scenes and Ronnie Lane (founder of the Small Faces) was frustrated at Rod's solo career fearing the Faces would become Rod’s backing band. When in 1974 Rod, famously disowned the Faces Oh La La album Ronnie “Plonk” Lane quit in protest.

Tetsu Yamauchi (former bassist with Free) gave the band a much tighter feel but they were beginning to lose their edge and rumours of a split were rife. Soon individual members were involved in solo projects and the future of the Faces was in serious doubt. As a swan song they released You Can Make Me Dance Sing Or Anything which arguably was their finest work.

In 1975 Rod was now a tax exile in the US and signed as a solo artist to Warner Brothers with no intention of using the Faces as musos. His Smiler album had mass appeal and attracted a much wider and more mature audience.

When the sequel Atlantic Crossing was released it was divided into a slow and a fast side, but all the high profile tracks were ballads. The album was incredibly popular and sold very well. Rod had crossed over and left his Rock’n’Roll to become a crooner.

Rod quit the Faces in 1975. Rod’s career continues unabated to this day and he remains as popular with the middle of the road buying public as he did in the 70s era with the pre-punk rockers. For preference I enjoy earlier Rod Stewart work, how about you?

Worth a listen:
The Steampacket
Baby take me

The Faces
Can Make Me Dance Sing Or Anything

Rod Stewart
Handbags and glad rags
Reason To Believe
Mandolin Wind
Maggie May
You Wear It Well (1974)
I Don't Want To Talk About It
Amazing Grace

Small Faces
Itchycoo Park

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Herman's Hermits

The Heartbeats formed in Manchester (UK) in 1963 and the original lineup was Keith Hopwood (guitar and vocals), Derek “Lek” Leckenby (guitar and vocals), Karl Green (bass and vocals), and Jan Barry Whitwam (drums). They were soon joined by a 16 year old called Peter Noone (lead vocals), Peter Noone had attended the Manchester School of Music and Drama and acted under the professional name Peter Novak. He appeared in several roles but his most famous was a cameo role in Granada Television's "Coronation Street" where he played Stanley Fairclough (Len’s son).

The change to Herman came after the lads misheard the name Sherman when someone said Peter was a look alike a cartoon character. Originally they were called Herman and the Hermits, and it soon became abbreviated to Herman's Hermits. Herman had a cute face and was ideal front man for the band. Like Molly Meldrum in Australia, Herman became the face of 1964. Herman’s Hermits were produced by Micky Most. The truth was most of their records used session musicians including Jimmy Page, Big Jim Sullivan and John Paul Jones. The Hermits were competent musicians but Most preferred professional session men and the band did the live performances. I’m into something good was the only Number 1 the group had in the UK.

Herman’s Hermits followed The Beatles to the USA, and soon established themselves as four alternative mop heads with their non-threatening, clean-cut image. They were an instant smash and placed six singles in the US Top Ten as their pop records sold like hotcakes.Their records were smooth, pleasant pop/rock, the British invasion equivalent of easy listening, which set them apart from most of the rival acts of the time. Their remake of the Rays' 1950s hit, "Silhouettes" and cover version of Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World" (which reached number four in America) are good examples of their pop recordings.

HH toured the States in 1965 and when an American disc jockey heard the song "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter" he convinced MGM to issue it as a single. The song had been put together as a joke by the group and light tribute to musical hall. The song was recorded as an afterthought and done in two takes using two microphones with Hopwood on guitar, Green on bass, and Whitwam on drums. The band disliked the songs, and was really taken aback when it shot to the number one spot in the US. It sold 14 million copies worldwide.

Mickie Most recognized a winning formula for the American market and got the group to record more songs in the same vein, including an actual Edwardian-era music hall song called "I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am." Despite making the group cringe over what it would do to their image in Britain, I’m Henry the Eight; I am, became the fastest-selling song of the time and went to Number one in the US.

Although the music styles had progressed in the UK and HH too as a group, they were never quite able to convince the record buying public they were anything other than a bubble gum group. Their record sales remained healthy in America well into 1966 but their British successes gradually slackened in sales until the group recorded Graham Gouldman's "No Milk Today," which put them back in the U.K. Top 10.

Soon the Monkees replaced Herman's Hermits as the simple pop rock act, and the Hermits' career declined even further. The irony there was both Herman and Davy Jones had previously appeared in Coronation Street. Then "There's a Kind of Hush (All Over the World)" engendered a revival, but the Hermits never again cracked the top 10 in the U.S.

In their heady days HH appeared in a couple of movies including When The Boys Meet The Girls (1965) with Connie Francis, and Hold On! (1966) Shelly Fabares. They also featured in all the major US shows including Dean Martin and Ed Sullivan, but also in 1966 "Herman's Hermits Hilton Show" was aired on Australian television. In 1968 the group made one more feature film, entitled Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter. The song served the group one last time, yielding a movie about dog racing that gave Noone a lead acting role and which was a decent box office success in 1968.

Peter Noone left the band in 1971 to follow a solo career in singing and acting. The group soldiered on for another three years, cutting singles that were duly ignored. Peter Noone returned briefly to the fold in 1973 to capitalize on the rock & roll revival boom then left to pursue his own career. Despite their undoubted commercial success as a 60s group, HH remain undervalued and often dismissed as a novelty act. Noone continues to tour and has performed in Australia.

Worth a listen:
I'm Into Something Good (Goffin/King) (1964)
Can’t you hear my heartbeat (1965)
Silhouettes (1965)
Wonderful World (1965)
Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter (1965)
I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am. (1965)
No milk today (1966)
There’s a kind of hush (1966)
Something is happening (1968)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Shane Fenton (Alvin Stardust) (1942 -2014)

Bernard William Jewry was born in North London in 1942. His stage debut was in a production of Babes in the Wood at the age of four. He formed The Jewry Rhythm Band, with a couple of school mates and played skiffle. The best local electric guitar band at the youth club was Johnny Theakstone and The Beat Boys and Bernard that used guitars became. When the group took the residency at the Mansfield Palais, they changed their name to Johnny Theakstone and The Tremolo’s and the line up was Johnny Theakstone (vocals), occasionally Bernard Jewry, Gerry Wilcox (guitar), Mick Hay (rhythm guitar), future Hollies drummer Bobby Elliott, and a bassist remembered only as Bonny. The manager of the dance hall soon recognised the the popularity of Rock 'n Roll and to encourage local group he help weekly half hour talent spots. Bernard was determined to succeed as a singer and each week learned a new song to perform. Not only was he popular with the crowd but he became good friends with the band, and frequently joined them for mid week rehearsals.

In the late 50s, Johnny decided he needed a more American sounding name. He liked the sound of “Shane" from Albert Shane who had the written material for Gene Vincent, and "Fenton" came from a local printers he passed on the way home from a gig. Johnny Theakston & the Tremolos became Shane Fenton. The Fentones name didn’t come till a little later, but when it did, Shane Fenton and the Fentones became very popular in the Nottinghamshire area and beyond. Now professional, they send a demo tape recording to the BBC Light Programme (forerunner of Radio 1) and the response was positive with the invition to audition for the Corporation. Just two days before, 17-year old Johnny Theakston was taken seriously ill with rheumatic fever and sadly died suddenly. Theakstone's mother asked them to continue to use the name Shane Fenton and the Fentones as a tribute to her son. Bernard Jewry became Shane Fenton and the group secured a recording contract with EMI in 1961, "I'm a Moody Guy," was the debut single and released went to number 19 in the UK charts.

In 1962, Shane Fenton & the Fentones were invited to join a Larry Parnes' package tour, sharing the bill with Billy Fury & the Tornadoes. Despite proving to be a popular addition subsequent singles failed to make commercial success. Then in 1962 "Cindy's Birthday" returned the band to the charts.

After Cindy’s birthday fortunes dwindled and in 1963 the group split up. At first Shane Fenton tried a solo career but to no avail so he thought he would try his hand at management and took on, The Hollies. In 1964 Shane married Iris Violet Caldwell (Rory Storm’s sister) and for a time they appeared as a singing duo, playing the cabaret clubs of northern England. Iris had previous romantic associations with George Harrison and Paul McCartney and it is claimed she was the inspiration for, Love me do, She loves you and I saw her standing there.

Although Shane and Iris split they had a son Adam who is now an established artist/producer and DJ. Shane carried on working as a solo artist and won a new recording contract in 1972. His management was keen to re-launch the rocker but thought it best to reinvent him. Alvin Stardust appeared for the first time on the British scene in November, 1973.

Stage perfect in his tight leather cat suit and carefully quaffed hair, Alvin Stardust wore leather gloves with a diamond ring on the outside when he smolderingly sang, "My Coo-Ca-Choo. " Pete Shelley wrote “My Coo Ca Choo" and wanted someone special to sing the song.

He was looking for a rock singer like Gene Vincent with menace who would present the antithesis of trendy Glam Rock. The scowling Alvin, clad in S& M attire was perfect and together he they produced five more hit singles competing against in the charts with Marc Bolan, Rod Stewart, Gary Glitter and all the other sparklies. In 1981 Alvin was back again with another hit Pretend and after soon after Alvin teamed up with Mike Batt, (mastermind of the The Wombles). He recorded Batt’s I Feel Like Buddy Holly in 1984 and had a minor hit.

Inevitably the hits dried up and Alvin took to the stage and appeared in musicals including the title role in Phantom Of The Opera and most recently the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Alvin continued to do concerts and is a firm favourite at retro shows. He remained a tireless worker for charity and died aged 72 after a short illness in 2014.

Worth a listen:
Shane Fenton
I'm A Moody Guy (1961)
Cindy’s birthday (1961)

Alvin Stardust
My Coo-Ca-Choo (1973)
Pretend (1981)

Gene Vincent
Be Bop a Lula

Billy Fury
Halfway to paradise (1961)

The Tornadoes
Telstar (1962)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Seekers

The Seekers came to England in 1963, Judith Durham fronted the four piece folk group with Keith Potger, Athol Guy and Bruce Woodley. Their debut UK single was released in 1964 and reached the number one position in February of the following year. Selling over 1.75 million copies, this was the first time an Australian group had a number one hit outside Australia. Meantime Judith Durham joined an elite group of four female singers to top the UK charts. I never find another you sold well in the states and was of course number one in Australia.

Keen to follow up with another success the group released and other Tom Springfield song. If you listen carefully to this song you may hear Judith on autoharp and the distinctive sound of Keith's 12 string guitar hook.

After the demise of the Springfields, Tom Springfield took on the Seekers and produced and wrote most of their hits songs. They say things come in three so it was no surprise when the Seekers released their third single written by Tom Springfield it would give the group a hat trick of number ones in the UK and Australia. Inexplicably the song did nothing in the States. “We shall not be moved,” was the B side to the Carnival is Over and vied with, You'll never walk alone as the UK soccer supporters anthem. A true folk song embraced by the populous.

Their next single was a Paul Simon composition but proved less commercially successful. Paul Simon and Bruce became close friends and wrote several songs together including Red Rubber Ball which was a smash hit for Cyrkle.

A folk group competing with beat music at the time was very difficult and the Seekers dipped in popularity. Still capable of reaching the charts with respectable sales Walk with me made the top ten.

Morning town ride was the group's Christmas single in 1966 and when released it firmly reestablished them in the number one position, yet again. The song had previously been included in an earlier album but was rerecorded and then released as a single. It sold over one million copies.

Their next success was a song written for a movie based on a Margaret Forster novel. It was never intended to be released as a single but when their record company did so, it proved to be their most popular works. The comedy, Georgy Girl was an important film at the time with a strong moral message. It starred James Mason and Lynn Redgrave, subject and stars determined an international success. The Seekers went to number one in the US displacing The Monkee's "I'm a believer".

Their next release was a Kenny Young song entitled When will the good apples fall and was the last Seekers song to make the top forty. This was at a time when the Beatles and Stones were in their heyday and the folk boom was well and truly over.

Judith's voice was every bit as crystal clear as Joan Baez but female singers were becoming passé. Tom Springfield produced their last chart success with Emerald City. Despite the hype surrounding their new producer, Mickie Most. The Seeker's next single failed to chart but was an excellent recording.

By 1968 the record buying public could be divided into two groups, those who slavishly bought single releases, and those who purchased albums. Whilst the Seekers had little success with their singles, the sales of their albums told a different story. The Bruce Woodley song, Love is kind, love is wine was a live recording and was taken from the highly successful album entitled "Live at the Talk of the Town."

Judith and the boys continued to release singles in Australia and in the States in 1968, although On the other side failed to chart, it does illustrate how the group had developed musically.

Their fans were out there and when "The Best of the Seekers" was released in the same year, it went straight to number one in the UK charts, and stayed there for 125 weeks! As a tribute to the Springfields, they released Island of dreams which had been produced by Tom Springfield and appeared on an earlier album "Come the day". The B side to Island of dreams was Red Rubber Ball, which perhaps in hindsight may have been a more successful A side.

The group changed record companies in 1969 and their first release was a Judith Durham and David Reilly composition. The song was released in Australia in 1993 where it raced up the charts peaking at Number 3 position and eventually going platinum with sales in excess of 140,000 copies. The Seekers were alive and well albeit the group had broken up several years before but would get together occasionally to perform and record.

Judith Durham continues to record and probably is better now as a singer than she was when playing with the Seekers. Far shore is a superior recording and displays the true voice of a diva. Despite extensive airplay in the UK, the single was only released in Australia.

Worth a listen:
I’ll never find another you (1964)
A world of our own (1965)
The Carnival is over (1965)
We shall not be moved (1965)
Someday, one day (1966)
Walk with me (1966)
Morning town ride (1966)
Georgy Girl (1967)
When will the good apples fall (1967)
Emerald City (1967)
Days of my life (1968)
Love is kind, love is wine (1968)
On the other side (1968)
Island of dreams (1968)
Colours of my life (1969)
Waltzing Matilda (1987)
Keep a dream in your pocket (1993)
Far shore
Bush girl

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Tony Bennett

Christened, Anthony (Antonio) Dominick Benedetto was born in 1926 and grew up in the streets of Queens, New York City. His father was a grocer and his mother a seamstress. Music was always important to little Antonio who listened to Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, and jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, and Joe Venuti. He attended New York's High School of Industrial Arts where he studied music and painting but dropped out at age 16 to help support his family. Later he took a job as a singing waiter in several Italian restaurants. In 1944 Antonio was drafted into the army and served as a replacement infantryman in the U.S. 63rd Infantry Division in France and Germany. He saw action and was involved in the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp near Landsberg. Immediately after he was assigned to an Army military band and sang under the stage name Joe Bari. Here he met many musicians who would have post-war careers. Once demobbed he continued to perform where ever he could and developed an unusual style of phrasing that involved imitating other musicians—such as Stan Getz's saxophone or Art Tatum's piano. In 1949 Pearl Bailey spotted his talent and asked him to open for her in Greenwich Village. Bob Hope was in the audience and asked Jo to come on tour but with a new name, an anglified version of his real name. Tony Bennett was signed to Columbia Records in 1950. Tony Bennett began his career as a crooner singing commercial pop tunes with “Because of You", his first hit.

The lush orchestral background was provided by Percy Faith. A second hit followed, this time a cover version of Hank Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart", when he sang “Blue Velvet" live his audience mainly young girls would scream.

When he married in 1952 a couple of thousand female fans clad in black gathered outside the ceremony at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral in mock mourning. A year later Tony had his hat trick third with "Rags to Riches". This was up-tempo with a bold, brassy sound and a double tango in the instrumental break.

Tony Bennett began to diversify covering show tunes and his version of "Stranger in Paradise" (Kismet) was an instant hit, making the Queen’s crooner an international hit.

By the mid 50s the singer could see musical tastes were changing and encouraged by his musical director Ralph Sharon, Tony decided to explore jazz (his first love). He brought out a new album entitled Beat of My Heart (1957) which met with critical acclaim and started collaborating with the Count Basie Orchestra. A standout song from this period was Chicago.

By the early 60s he had established a reputation as a cabaret act and TV guest. Although his career was about to come to a temporary halt the singer was recording some of his best works including I Wanna Be Around and "The Good Life." (1963).

A year before Tony had a minor hit with a song written by George Cory and Douglass Cross, and taken from an album of the same name, both the single and album achieved gold record status. The song went on to win a Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Tiny won Best Male Solo Vocal Performance. In 2001 it was ranked 23rd on an RIAA/NEA list of the most historically significant Songs of the 20th Century, I left my heart in San Francisco become known as Bennett's signature song.

The British Invasion saw a marked commercial decline for Tony and by the middle of the decade his personal and professional life was in chaos. In the 70s he lost his recording contract and toyed with acting but to no avail. An ill fated record company called Improv did produce of couple memorable jazz orientated albums and the song “What is This Thing Called Love?", but Tony could not sustain the output, and Improv folded.

Further decline followed and Tony again out of contract became a drug addict. Then miraculously the golden tonsil crooner started to claw his way back. Son, Danny signed on as his father's manager and moved Tony back to New York, working the colleges and small theatres. A smart move and Tony now clean was entertaining a new younger audience with standard ballads form the penmanship of Cole Porter and George Gershwin. Ralph Sharon and Tony Bennett were reunited and Columbia Records re-signed the singer. By the 80s Tony could not put a foot wrong and had survived to become the last of the originals. Since then he continues to go from strength to strength and is equally at home as a guest on The Simpsons or in Austin Powers’s movie as he is in the studio or on stage. Unplugged was released in 1995 and confirmed the old fellow could match his rock contemporaries. At age 68, Tony Bennett was back.

Worth a listen:
Because of You Tony Bennett (1951)
Rags to Riches Tony Bennett (1953)
Chicago (Count Basie Orchestra) (1957)
I Left My Heart in San Francisco (1962).
Fly Me to the Moon (1965)
The Best Is Yet To Come