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Tony Bennett Sings the Blues - 2001-11-18

It's hard to believe that 10-time Grammy Award-winning singer Tony Bennett ever gets the blues. Best known for crooning pop and jazz classics, Tony delivers an entire album of blues on his new release Playin' With My Friends: Bennett Sings The Blues, featuring some of today's top vocalists.

On his first-ever all-blues album, Bennett gets plenty of help from his friends, including Stevie Wonder, on "Everyday (I Have The Blues)." "Everyday (I Have The Blues)" is a blues standard. Composed by Peter Chatman, it hass been recorded by everyone from B.B. King and Joe Williams to Sarah Vaughan and Fleetwood Mac. The version from Playin' With My Friends: Bennett Sings The Blues, marks the first time Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder have ever sang together on an album.

At 75, Tony Bennett is on top of his game. The son of an Italian father and American mother, Tony studied music and painting at the High School of Industrial Arts in his native New York. He first sang with the U.S. Army's entertainment unit during World War II.

His post-war appearance in the Pearl Bailey Revue led to a singing engagement at New York's Paramount Theatre with comedian Bob Hope. Tony signed his first recording contract in 1950, and a year later topped the chart with the hit singles "Because Of You" and "Cold, Cold Heart." One of his biggest hits is "I Left My Heart In San Francisco," which earned him a Grammy Award in 1955.

Tony Bennett has always paired himself with great musicians, including jazz bandleaders Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans and Woody Herman. In 1986, he performed a duet with Ray Charles on the album The Art Of Excellence. Tony teamed up with Charles again on "Evenin'", one of 15 cuts from his new release Bennett Sings The Blues.

Other friends appearing with Tony on the new album include Billy Joel, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Diana Krall and Kay Starr. Bennett goes solo with the Ralph Sharon Quartet on four tunes, including "Don't Cry Baby."