TONY BENNETT TRIBUTE

PBS gives us a front row seat as legendary singer Tony Bennett is honored with the Gershwin Prize For Popular Song. And the celebration continues in the Big Apple where he and his wife sit down with us to share their secrets for living “The Good Life.”

Aired on January 12, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

♪ THE TREE OF LIFE I JUST PICKED ME A PLUM ♪

AT AGE 91, TONY BENNETT FEELS THE BEST IS YET TO COME.

AND HE MAY WELL BE RIGHT.

HE WAS RECENTLY HONORED BY THE LIBRARY PRIZE FOR POPULAR SONG FOR HIS LIFE-TIME CONTRIBUTIONS THAT EXEMPLIFY THE STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE.

PBS WILL PREMIERE MUSICAL SPECIAL HONORING THE RECEIPT OF THIS PRIZE JANUARY 12th AT 9:00 P.M. EASTERN TIME.

♪ I LEFT MY HEART

JOIN AN ALL-STAR MUSICAL SOLUTE TO THE 2017 RECIPIENT OF THE LIBRARY OF POPULAR SONG WITH PERFORMANCES BY MICHAEL BUBLE, JOSH GROBAN, VANESSA WILLIAMS, STEVIE WONDER AND MORE.

I RECENTLY TALKED TO HIS WIFE TO TALK ABOUT THEIR COMMITMENT TO THE ARTS AND HOW HE FIRST BEGAN HIS CAREER WHEN BOB HOPE CHANGED HIS NAME FROM ANTHONY BENIDENO TONY BENNETT.

HE TOOK ME ON THE ROAD WITH HIM.

YOU'RE JUST TRYING TO MAKE IT IN THE BUSINESS.

HE TOOK ME TO THE WEST COAST AND I'VE BEEN IN SHOW BIZ SINCE.

HE WAS THE ONE THAT SAID TO YOU HERE IS THE NAME YOU'RE GOING TO USE, NOT ANTHONY BENENDIDO.

YOU'RE TONY BENNETT.

HE JUST ANNOUNCED YOU LIKE THAT ONE NIGHT?

HE DID.

WALKED AROUND, WHO IS THIS TONY BENNETT GUY?

YOU REALIZED, WAIT, A MINUTE, THAT'S ME.

IT WAS AT THE PARAMOUNT THEATER.

IT WAS THE FIRST TIME I EVER HEARD THAT NAME.

YOU TALK ABOUT COUNT BASIE AND THE BEETLES WERE POPULAR AND WHERE SHOULD I GO NOW AND HE GAVE YOU ADVICE.

HE WAS AT BIRD LAND.

EVERY NIGHT IT WAS THE MOST POPULAR THING TO DO IN NEW YORK CITY AND AS CLOSE AS YOU AND I ARE RIGHT NOW, THAT'S HOW WE LIKE THE FIRST TO BE, REAL CLOSE TO HIM HERE.

HE LIKED EVERYBODY CLOSE TO HIM.

AND HE TAUGHT ME TO WORK INTERMITTENTLY.

IT COMMUNICATES.

I READ SOMETHING ONE TIME WHERE SOMEBODY WAS TALKING TO YOU ABOUT THEIR SINGING AND THEY SAID YOU HAVE THIS MAGICAL ABILITY TO TAKE A SONG FROM DECADES AGO AND MAKE IT FEEL AS COMFORTABLE FOR YOUR AUDIENCE AS IF YOU'RE SITTING OVER A CUP OF COFFEE AND HAVING A CONVERSATION.

IS THAT A GOOD WAY TO EXPLAIN HOW YOU LIKE TO PERFORM?

YEAH, IF YOU DO IT WITH GOOD MUSIC AND A SONG THAT WILL ALWAYS BE GOOD NO MATTER WHAT YEAR IT IS, IF YOU DO SOMETHING THAT'S SO GOOD THAT IT'S GOOD NOW AND GOOD TEN YEARS FROM NOW AND GOOD 20 YEARS FROM NOW, IF IT'S THAT GOOD, IT'S ALWAYS GOING TO BE GOOD.

IT'S QUALITY.

I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO.

THAT WAS A BIG ONE.

CERTAINLY THE BIG ONE, THE FAVORITE.

♪ I LEFT MY HEART

I IMAGINE WHEREVER YOU PERFORM, THEY EXPECT YOU TO SING THAT SONG.

RIGHT.

DOES IT EVER AS A PERFORMER, DO YOU EVER GET TIRED OF BEING ASKED TO SING 'I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO'? DOES IT EVER TIRE --

NEVER.

NEVER AT ALL?

NEVER.

I LOVE THE CITY.

I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT.

WHEN I SING IT, I TRY TO SHOW PEOPLE WHAT A WONDERFUL CITY THAT IT IS.

SO MUCH SO THAT I DECIDED NOT TO LIVE THERE BECAUSE I WOULD BE BOTHERED BY ALL OF THE PEOPLE THERE.

SO YOU GOT TO ENJOY IT FROM A DISTANCE.

WHEN I GO THERE, IT'S A BIG MOMENT FOR ME.

FOR SO MANY YEARS NOW, YOU HAVE BEEN PAINTING AND YOU'VE BEEN SINGING.

DO YOU SEE A CONNECTION BETWEEN YOUR ART AND YOUR MUSIC?

OH, ABSOLUTELY.

WHAT KIND OF CONNECTION?

IT'S AN ART FORM.

MUSIC AND ART.

AND IT'S SO GREAT TO BE SWIMMING AROUND IN ALL OF THAT.

IT'S A WONDERFUL FEELING.

DO YOU STILL GET TO PAINT EVERY DAY OR ALMOST EVERY DAY?

EVERY DAY.

WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT TO DO THAT EVERY DAY?

YOU'RE TRYING TO KEEP GROWING.

YOU WANT TO IMPROVE.

YOU WANT TO SIMPLIFY IT.

SOMEBODY MIGHT SAY, TONY, YOU'RE 90, YOU DON'T NEED TO KEEP GROWING IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SO WHY DO YOU WANT TO KEEP GROWING?

I'M 90 BUT I'M JUST STARTING OUT.

THERE IS THAT MUCH TO LEARN.

A LOT MORE THAT YOU CAN DO.

THE WHOLE IDEA IS TO GET BETTER AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.

WELL, IT'S BEEN A FASCINATING JOURNEY, OF COURSE, AND WE'RE ALSO THRILLED IN SOMEWAY WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO ACCOMPANY YOU ON THIS JOURNEY.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE TALKING WITH BOTH OF YOU.

BOTH BE WELL.

THANK YOU, JACK.

WE ALL CONGRATULATE TONY BENNETT ON RECEIVING THE PRIZE FOR POPULAR SONG AND WISH HIM AND HIS WIFE A GOOD LIFE.

AGAIN, YOU CAN WATCH THE PBS MUSICAL SPECIAL HONORING TONY BENNETT JANUARY 12th AT 9:00 P.M.

CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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