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San Francisco Honors Legendary Singer, Classic Song


Tony Bennett gestures after singing "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" during a sound check for a Valentine's Day benefit concert in the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Bennett returned the hotel to celebrate the 50th anniversary of

Tony Bennett gestures after singing "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" during a sound check for a Valentine's Day benefit concert in the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Bennett returned the hotel to celebrate the 50th anniversary of

Legendary American singer Tony Bennett was the guest of honor Tuesday in San Francisco at an event celebrating both Valentine's Day and a song he made famous.

More than 1,000 people packed City Hall to mark the 50th anniversary of Bennett's recording of "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," the classic ballad that has become his signature song. The 85-year-old singer sat and listened as a number of performers offered varying renditions of the song, including an ensemble of symphony musicians and a children's choir.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee issued a proclamation declaring Tuesday "Tony Bennett Day" and gave the native New Yorker a symbolic key to the city.

Bennett later performed the song at a benefit at the iconic Fairmont Hotel, where he first performed it in 1961.

"I Left My Heart in San Francisco," written by area natives George Cory and Douglass Cross, became a huge hit for Bennett shortly after he recorded it in January 1962. The song won a Grammy Award for record of the year and eventually became one of the city's two official songs.

Bennett says the ballad "helped make me a world citizen."

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