TONY BENNETT EXCLUSIVE PART 2

April 13, 2019 at 4:45 am

Tony Bennett is back! The music icon and artist shows us a more personal side.

Tony Bennett will be appearing at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall on Saturday, April 13th at 8 pm. For more information, click here. 

Aired on April 12, 2019. 

Transcript Print

OUT OF THE TREE OF LIFE I JUST
PICKED ME A PLUM §
>> LEGENDARY SINGER AND
PERFORMER AND ARTIST, TONY
BENNETT, IS BEST KNOWN FOR THE
RECORDS HE'S SOLD.
BUT HE'S PASSIONATE ABOUT
ANOTHER ASPECT OF ART.
HE'S BEEN PAINTING ALL OF HIS
HIGH OF AND HAS A REPUTATION AS
AN ACCOMPLISHED VISUAL ARTIST
WITH THREE PAINTINGS IN THE
SMITHSONIAN.
SEVERAL HAVE BEEN COMMISSIONED
THAT I SUCH ORGANIZATIONS AS THE
UNITED NATIONS.
AND SOME OF HIS WORKS ARE IN THE
PRIVATE COLLECTIONS OF LADY
GAGA, PRESIDENT CLINTON AND
OTHERS.
I HAD THE CHANCE TO CATCH UP
WITH HIM AND HIS WIFE, SUSAN
BENNEDETTO, AT THE PAILLE
CENTER.
I BEGAN BY ASKING HIM HOW IT ALL
CAME ABOUT ON THE STREETS OF NEW
YORK IN THE CITY OF QUEENS.
>> IN THE APARTMENT BUILDING
WHERE I LIVE, JAMES IS A
WONDERFUL ARTIST, TEACHER, AND
HE SAID, COME ON.
LET'S GO TO CENTRAL PARK AND
PAINT.
I SAID WOW, THAT WOULD BE NICE.
I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT.
HERE I AM DOING WATER COLORS
NEXT TO HIM.
I COULDN'T BELIEVE HOW WONDERFUL
HE PAINTED.
HE INSPIRED ME TO KEEP DOING
THAT THE REST OF MY LIFE.
>> SO YOU STARTED YOUR PAINTING
AS A VERY YOUNG BOY.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
>> YOU ALSO STARTED YOUR SINGING
AS A VERY YOUNG BOY.
WHAT DID YOUR FAMILY THINK ABOUT
ALL OF THIS?
THE PAINTING, THE SINGING, THE
PERFORMING?
>> MY MOM WAS WONDERFUL.
SHE SAW WHICH WAY I WAS GOING
AND SHE DID SO MUCH TO ENCOURAGE
ME AT THE RIGHT TIME AND THE
RIGHT PLACE.
WHEN SHE SAW THAT I WAS
INTERESTED IN SHOW BUSINESS, I
SAID, MOM, IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY.
LET'S GO SOMEWHERE.
SHE SAID I WANT TO SEE ELLA
FITZGERALD.
I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT.
WE WENT TO SEE ELLA FITZGERALD.
SHE CAME OVER TO ME AND I WAS
JUST STARTING TO RECORD AND SHE
SAID I LOVE YOUR RECORD.
I NEVER GOT OVER THAT.
TO THIS DAY.
IT WAS SOMETHING THAT I DID AT A
VERY EARLY AGE.
>> WHEN I WAS WALKING AROUND,
LOOKING AT YOUR PAINTING HERE IN
THE CENTER, THE EXHIBIT, I WAS
STRUCK BY THE EXPANSE OF THE
TYPES OF PAINTINGS THAT YOU'VE
DONE.
I SAW WATER COLORS, OILS, I SAW
PASTELS, I SAW CHARCOAL
SKETCHES.
IS THERE ONE AREA THAT YOU
PREFER TO WORK IN?
>> I LIKE ALL OF IT.
>> HOW DO YOU DECIDE?
YOU HAVE STILL LIVES AND SCENES,
MARVELOUS SCENES OF CENTRAL
PARK.
THE SCENES IN NEW YORK, THE CABS
IN THE RAIN.
THEN WONDERFUL SCENES IN FRANCE,
IN ITALY.
WHAT IS IT THAT STRIKES YOUR
ATTENTION?
THAT MAKES YOU SAY, YOU KNOW
WHAT?
I WANT TO PAGE THAT.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE THAT?
>> THAT'S A VERY GOOD QUESTION.
I LOOK AT IT AND SAY THIS WOULD
BE A GOOD OIL PAINTING OR A GOOD
WATER COLOR PAGING OR A SIMPLE
SKETCH.
IT COMES ABOUT SPONTANEOUSLY.
>> HOW ABOUT THE PORTRAITS YOU
DO?
I SAW SOME OF THEM.
WHO IT IS ARMSTRONG.
SKETCHES.
LADY GAGA, STEVIE WONDER.
I WOULD THINK THE PORTRAITS ARE
VERY DIFFERENT TO DO.
WHO DO YOU DECIDE YOU WANT TO DO
PORTRAITS OF?
>> PEOPLE THAT I RESPECT AN
AWFUL LOT.
I RESPECT THEIR TALENT.
I RESPECT THEM AS HUMAN BEINGS.
THEN I TRY TO PAINT THEM OR
PHOTOGRAPH THEM OR GIVE AN
IMPRESSION OF THOSE PEOPLE THAT
I REALLY RESPECTFUL.
>> WHAT DO YOU THINK?
I WAS WATCHING YOU, THEY BROUGHT
IN THE PAINTING HERE AND I SAW
YOU GO FROM PAYMENTING TO PAGING
AND LOOK AT THEM AND STEP BACK.
ALMOST AS IF YOU WERE OBSERVING
THEM FOR THE FIRST TIME.
SO WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU
WALK INTO A ROOM AND THE WALLS
ARE COVERED WITH YOUR WORKS?
>> I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT.
I WAS SO KNOCKED OUT.
I WALKED INTO A ROOM WHERE ALL
THESE PAINTINGS WERE DONE
INDIVIDUALLY, THROUGH THE YEARS,
AND ALL OF A SUDDEN, THEY WERE
ALL IN ONE ROOM.
>> I WAS STRUCK BY THE FACT, AS
I LOOKED AT THE PAGING, THEY'RE
ALL SIGNED BY YOU.
AND THEY'RE SIGNED BENNEDETTO.
>> IT IS MY FAMILY NAME.
>> WHY DID YOU STILL CHOOSE TO
USE THAT?
>> TO TRY TO COMMUNICATE AND SAY
IN SHOW BUSINESS, I STYLIZED MY
NAME TO SAY BENNETT.
TO SIMPLIFY IT SO PEOPLE GET TO
KNOW ME.
BUT BENNEDETTO IS A VERY
WONDERFUL NAME.
IN ITALIAN IT IS TRANSLATED --
>> THE BLESSED ONE.
>> THE BLESSED ONE.
>> AND I SUSPECT YOU WOULD LOOK
AT YOUR LIFE AND SAY THAT WAS
APPROPRIATE.
TO BE THE BLESSED ONE.
>> VERY TRUE.
VERY TRUE.
>> AND SUSAN, YOU USE
BENNEDETTO.
>> DO I.
IT IS A BEAUTIFUL NAME.
WHY WOULD NOT I?
>> IT EMBRACES THE WHOLE FAMILY
AND THE SUPPORT YOU'VE BEEN
GIVEN.
THE TRADITION OF THE FAMILY.
>> THAT IS HIS FAMILY NAME, HIS
REAL NAME.
I'M VERY PROUD TO HAVE IT.
>> I SAW A SORRY THAT THAT CAME
FROM BOB HOPEF.
HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
>> HE SAW ME IN THE VILLAGE.
HE TOOK ME ON THE ROAD WITH HIM.
>> YOU WERE A YOUNG GUY JUST
TRYING TO MAKE IT IN THE
BUSINESS.
>> HE TOOK ME TO THE WEST COAST.
I'VE BEEN IN SHOW BUSINESS EVER
SINCE.
>> AND HE WAS THE ONE WHO SAID
TO YOU, HERE'S THE NAME YOU'RE
GOING TO USE.
NOT ANTHONY BENNEDETTO.
YOU'RE TONY BENNETT.
>> AND HE JUST ANNOUNCED IT ONE
NIGHT.
>> WHO IS THIS TONY BENNETT GUY?
>> AND YOU REALIZED, WAIT A
MINUTE, THAT'S ME.
>> IT WAS AT THE PARAMOUNT
THEATER.
TONY BENNETT.
THE FIRST TIME I EVER HEARD THAT
NAME.
>> YOU TALK ABOUT COUNT BASY.
HOW HE HELPS YOU.
ESPECIALLY AT A TIME IN YOUR
CAREER WHEN THINGS WERE
CHANGING.
THE BEATLES WERE GETTING POPULAR
AND YOU WERE LOOKING AT, WHERE
SHOULD I GO NOW?
AND HE GAVE YOU SOME ADVICE.
>> EVERY NIGHT, THE MOST POPULAR
THING COULD YOU DO IN NEW YORK
CITY, AS CLOSE AS YOU AND I ARE
RIGHT NOW, THAT'S HOW HE LIKED
THE FIRST CUSTOMER TO BE.
THIS CLOSE TO HIM RIGHT HERE.
HE LIKED EVERYBODY CLOSE TO HIM.
AND HE TAUGHT ME TO WORK
INTIMATELY, INSTEAD OF PUSHING
TO THE BACK OF THE HOUSE.
HE SAID JUST WORK THIS WAY.
IT COMMUNICATES.
>> I READ SOMETHING ONE TIME
WHEN SOMEBODY WAS TALKING ABOUT
YOU WHEN YOU WERE 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.
IF YOU DO A SONG THAT WILL
ALWAYS BE GOOD, NO MATTER WHAT
YEAR IT IS.
IF DO YOU SOMETHING SO GOOD THAT
IT IS GOOD NOW AND IT IS GOOD
TEN YEARS FROM NOW AND GOOD 20
YEARS FROM NOW.
IF IT IS THAT GOOD, IT IS ALWAYS
GOING TO BE GOOD.
SO YOU STAY WITH QUALITY.
>> I'M GOING TO ASK YOU ABOUT A
COUPLE OF YOUR SONGS.
I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO
WAS CERTAINLY THE BIG ONE AND
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"?
NEVER?
>> NOT AT ALL.
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.
WHEN I GO THERE, IT IS A BIG
MOMENT FOR ME.
>> FOR SO MANY YEARS NOW, YOU'VE
BEEN PAINTING.
AND YOU'VE BEEN SINGING.
DO YOU SEE A CONNECTION BETWEEN
YOUR ART AND YOUR MUSIC?
>> ABSOLUTELY.
>> WHAT KIND OF CONNECTION?
>> IT'S AN ART FORM.
MUSIC AND ART.
IT FEELS GREAT TO BE SWIMMING
AROUND IN ALL OF THAT.
A WONDERFUL FEELING.
>> DO YOU STILL GET TO PAGE
EVERY DAY?
ALMOST EVERY DAY?
>> EVERY DAY.
>> WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT TO YOU
TO DO IT EVERY DAY?
>> YOU TRY TO KEEP GROWING.
YOU WANT TO IMPROVE.
TO SIMPLIFY IT.
THE WHOLE IDEA IS TO GET BETTER,
AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.
>> WELL, IT'S BEEN A FASCINATING
JOURNEY, OF COURSE, AND WE ARE
ALL SO THRILLED THAT IN SOME WAY
WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO ACCOMPANY OUT
THIS JOURNEY.
>> THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE TALKING
WITH BOTH OF YOU.
>> THANK YOU.
>> WE ALL WISH TONY BENNETT AND
HIS WIFE SUSAN A GOOD LIFE.

Mutual of America PSEG

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.

WNET

© 2019 WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019