Posts Tagged ‘Tony Bennett’

Tony Bennett becomes oldest living artist to top US charts

October 1, 2011

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At the age of 85, Tony Bennett has entered the record books as the oldest living artist in history to top the US charts. His latest album, Tony Bennett: Duets II, has reached the summit of the US Billboard chart 54 years after his album Tony reached No. 14 in 1957.

The record for ‘oldest chart-topper’ was previously held by Bob Dylan who reached No. 1 at the age of 67 in 2009 with his album Together Through Life.

The all-star line-up of artists joining Bennett live in the studio on Tony Bennett: Duets II includes Lady Gaga, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Natalie Cole, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, the late Amy Winehouse, and many more. 


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Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse ‘Body and Soul’ duet released as a charity single

September 15, 2011

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Photo: Mark Allan

A recording of the 1930s jazz standard  ‘Body and Soul’, featuring Amy Winehouse and jazz legend Tony Bennett, is being released as a charity single.

Proceeds from sales of the record will go toward a foundation and rehab centre for young people being set up in the late singer’s honour by her father, Mitch Winehouse.

Bennett, who celebrated his 85th birthday on 3 August, recorded the duet with Amy at London’s Abbey Road Studios in March for his new album, Duets II, which will be released on September 20.

The track was one of Amy Winehouse’s last recordings prior to her death on 23 July at the age of 27.

Watch the VIDEO of ‘Body and Soul’ and read the full story HERE…

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George Michael adds extra UK dates to Symphonica tour

June 12, 2011

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George Michael, who quit touring in 2008, is set to return to live performing in August. A major tour of Europe will kick off in Prague in the Czech Republic on 22 August, with the 47-year-old singer backed by a full symphony orchestra.

   Symphonica: The Orchestral Tour will now include 19 concerts in the UK in October, November and December – with six extra UK dates having been added in Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and London.

   A special charity performance will be held at the Royal Opera House on 6 November in aid of the late Dame Elizabeth Taylor’s Aids foundation.

   During the Symphonica tour, Michael is expected to perform a “carefully chosen selection” of his old songs, as well as some of his favourite songs by other artists.

   “I think musically this tour and album will be surprising because I’m being far more true to myself,” said the former Wham star. “I feel very re-energised after my recent troubles.”

   He added: “The idea of singing with symphonic orchestras around the world is because I heard Tony Bennett had done it recently, and I thought, ‘What a nice idea’. Singing with this kind of backing has been very attractive to me for a long time.”


October 25 – LONDON, Royal Albert Hall

October 26 – LONDON, Royal Albert Hall

October 28 – LONDON, Royal Albert Hall

October 29 – LONDON, Royal Albert Hall

November 1 – DUBLIN, 02 Arena

November 6 – LONDON, Royal Opera House

November 26 – CARDIFF, Motorpoint Arena

November 27 – CARDIFF, Motorpoint Arena

November 30 – LIVERPOOL, Echo Arena

December 2 – SHEFFIELD, Motorpoint Arena

December 3 – NEWCASTLE, Metro Radio Arena

December 6 – GLASGOW, SECC

December 7 – GLASGOW, SECC

December 9 – BIRMINGHAM, LG Arena

December 10 – BIRMINGHAM, LG Arena

December 12 – MANCHESTER, MEN Arena

December 13 – MANCHESTER, MEN Arena

December 16 – LONDON, Earl’s Court

December 17 – LONDON, Earl’s Court

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Tony Bennett marks 85th birthday with new Duets album

May 8, 2011

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Tony Bennett is set to celebrate his 85th birthday on August 3 with a sequel to the highly successful album Duets: An American Classic which was released in 2006 to mark his 80th year.

   Produced by Phil Ramone, the new album, Tony Bennett: Duets II, will be released on September 20.

   The all-star line-up of artists joining Bennett live in the studio will include Mariah Carey, Natalie Cole, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones and Amy Winehouse – along with leading country music stars Faith Hill, Willie Nelson and Carrie Underwood.

   The Duets II album will also feature Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, Spanish singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz, Josh Groban and John Mayer. Also collaborating on the album will be Michael Bublé and k.d. lang, who were both featured on the original Duets album.

   “I love the Great American Songbook and have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to introduce many of these songs to the public,” says Bennett. “It is a thrill to perform them once again with artists that I admire to create new interpretations of the music I love so much.”

   Bennett’s long-time manager and son, Danny Bennett, observes: “The Duets CDs – the first one and this latest project – truly shine a light on the creative process that takes place between Tony and each of his singing partners. It’s fascinating to witness how each song unfolds – all recorded live, as it happens in the studio.”

   Producer Phil Ramone adds: “The way Tony builds and shares the song is extraordinary. He is generous and warm and gives his partner great solo moments. Watching the duet come to its climax is thrilling. The preparation and care allows the guest to experience a live recording session as Tony records. It’s a large canvas with no style limitations.”

   The recording sessions for Tony Bennett: Duets II are also being filmed by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Dion Beebe. The film will be released as a documentary in conjunction with the new album, and will provide an in-depth study of Bennett’s creative and artistic process.

   The first Duets album – Duets: An American Classic – won three Grammy awards in 2006 and is Bennett’s best-selling album to date.

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It’s FREE TO JOIN, and we’ll send the magazine direct to you when published.

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Telling it like it was: Clay Cole’s “Sh-Boom! – The Explosion of Rock ‘N’ Roll, 1953-1968”

August 22, 2010

The name Clay Cole may not be too familiar to some Sh-Boom! Magazine readers in the UK and Europe, but anyone who grew up loving all those great US hits of the late 1950s and early 1960s owes him a debt of gratitude.

Many early US rock and pop artists might never have been heard in Europe had they not first been popularised on Clay Cole’s TV and radio shows in New York, and then gone on to achieve huge chart success across the United States.

In his new book Sh-Boom! – The Explosion of Rock ‘N’ Roll (1953-1968), New York television personality Clay Cole gives a compelling personal account of his years spent hosting his own Saturday night pop music television show, The Clay Cole Show.

But this is no typical showbiz autobiography. In a fast-paced, conversational and witty style, Cole combines highly personal recollections with a comprehensive and detailed history of rock ‘n’ roll itself. Packed with fascinating facts and funny anecdotes, it’s a behind-the-scenes look at the shaping of an era. It’s pop music history told from the inside out, by someone who was there at the beginning.

He was only 15 – and still at high school in Ohio – when, in 1953, he began presenting his own local teenage music TV show. By 1955, the music had evolved and he recalls: “I was, without fully becoming aware, now hosting a rock ‘n’ roll show”.

In 1957, he moved to New York City to try his luck, armed with “a 10 year plan” for success. In fact, it only took a few months for him to land a Saturday evening live TV show in Providence, Rhode Island.

By 1959, at the age of 21 (although the TV channel’s publicity department claimed he was only 19), he was hosting a major TV show in New York. He was the youngest host on US TV – and already challenging for the crown held by the legendary Alan Freed and Dick Clark.

When Alan Freed’s TV career was ended by the great music industry payola scandal of 1959, it proved to be a stroke of luck for Clay Cole. After less than two months on air, he now had a “clear reign” on New York television. “I was spotless … I was never offered, nor would I accept, payola,” he says.

The Clay Cole Show attracted all the big names of the day, including Bobby Darin, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Brenda Lee and Connie Francis (who later confessed she’d always had a secret crush on him).

With a good ear for a hit, Cole also became a champion of talented newcomers, such as Paul Anka, Neil Sedaka, Tony Orlando, Dionne Warwick, Neil Diamond, Bobby Vinton, the Four Seasons, and Dion. In 1960, he launched a nightclub tour and hired three teenage sisters as dancers. They would later become The Ronettes.

He was the first to introduce Chubby Checker performing ‘The Twist’. And the first to present the Rolling Stones in America. He also pioneered music video clips and go-go girls, and gave debuts to young stand-up comedians like Richard Pryor.

Cole also helped to break the colour barrier on US television. He was the first rock ‘n’ roll TV host to have a multi-racial audience and regularly featured soul and R&B artists such as Ray Charles, Little Anthony and The Imperials, Steve Wonder, The Supremes and Dionne Warwick – often in direct defiance of his TV bosses who warned him he was welcoming too many black artists onto the show.

A singer and dancer himself, he once sang on stage with the Four Seasons after being invited to “sing along” by his friend Frankie Valli. “I was so intimidated by their perfect harmonies,” says Cole, “I simply mouthed the words and snapped my fingers – to their great relief, I’m sure.”

Sh-Boom! – The Explosion of Rock ‘N’ Roll (1953-1968) covers Clay Cole’s “fifteen years of TV fame” – and explores every pop music phenomenon from rhythm and blues, cover records, rockabilly, folk-rock, teen idols, and girl groups … to the arrival of The Beatles, the British Invasion, the creation of the American boy band, and Flower Power.

It was the shift to acid rock and heavy metal that eventually prompted Clay Cole to walk away from his highly popular TV show in 1968, at the age of 30. He realised he’d become “a black-tie, tuxedo guy, adrift in a tie-dyed T-shirt world”. His final show featured Jerry Lewis, Paul Anka, and the Cowsills.

Over the 40 years since, he has been the writer, producer and director of over 3500 broadcast TV shows, including several award-winning programmes.

Sh-Boom!’ … great title for a song … great name (we think) for a music magazine for ‘baby boomers’ … and now a great title for an important book that doesn’t just chronicle the early beginnings of rock ‘n’ roll, it tells you how it felt to be there.

Sh-Boom! – The Explosion of Rock ‘N’ Roll (1953-1968) can be purchased from and It is also available direct from the Clay Cole website at

UPDATE:  We are sad to report that Clay Cole died on December 18, 2010 at his home on Oak Island, N.C. He was 72. The cause was a heart attack, his brother Richard Rucker said. In addition to his brother, he is survived by another brother, James Rucker, and a sister, Tama Rucker. 


Elvis Costello turns TV chat show host

July 14, 2008

Elvis Costello is set to follow in the footsteps of Michael Parkinson and Jonathan Ross with his own ‘music and chat’ TV show, titled ‘Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…’.


The 13-part, one-hour TV show – recorded in New York – is expected to be broadcast later this year in the USA and Canada, and on Channel 4 in the UK. It will feature Elvis chatting and performing with special guests Sir Elton John, Tony Bennett, Lou Reed, and former US president Bill Clinton.


Other guests being lined up are said to include Elvis Presley’s former guitarist James Burton, legendary producer, pianist, songwriter, arranger, singer Allen Toussaint, and jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny.


The show’s producers reportedly approached Costello to host the show after seeing him successfully fill in for David Letterman a couple of years ago. Costello, who lives in New York and Vancouver with his wife Diana Krall, agreed to give it a shot.


According to the production company, one of the early shows will see Costello performing with Elton John, while in another episode saxophone-playing Bill Clinton will discuss the influence of music on his career.


“I’ve always been curious about the things that make people motivated to make music throughout their life,” said Costello. “It’s not a show about trying to uncover a dark secret that somebody’s got hidden. Rather, it’s their opportunity to talk about some things that they don’t get to talk about in the regular showbiz interview.”

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