The Good Life-Tony Bennett with Will Friedwald (1998)

The book traces his life from his grandparents coming over from Italy to his success with MTV and winning several Grammy Awards. Even though things continue to happen for him the book is still well worth reading, especially if you’re a music fan.

This is not a scandal ridden account of Bennett’s life. His contacts with the mob, his cocaine habit, two failed marriages….it’s all mentioned but mostly in passing. This is really about how music influenced his life and the performers that helped him along the way.

Bennett relates his admiration for Frank Sinatra and their friendship. He also tells how one of his biggest early boosters was Pearl Bailey. Others he greatly admired include Bob Hope, Louis Armstrong and Jimmy Durante.

He talks about his early desire for a career as an artist and how he learned painting. He also relates his days as a beginning singer using the name Joe Bari. He goes into accounts of his sessions with Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

Also related are his battles at Columbia Records with Mitch Miller and then Clive Davis. They had ideas of how his direction as a singer should go and he had to fight to record what he wanted  What he eventually wanted was out of Columbia. The low point was when he had to record “Tony Sings The Hits Of Today.” He moved on to MGM/Verve and then started his own failed label Improv records. The label did have two stellar albums he recorded with pianist Bill Evans.

If you’re a Jazz fan and want to know how the music and the performers influenced one of the best singers of all time, read this book. There are three sections with pictures including one with several of his paintings.

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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