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The Essential Tony Bennett (Rm) (2CD) Limited Edition, Original recording remastered

4.6 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Limited Edition, Original recording remastered, September 22, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

39 of Tony's top tracks from the Columbia vaults, spanning five decades of incredible performances! Includes Because of You; Cold, Cold Heart; Blue Velvet; Rags to Riches; Stranger in Paradise; The Boulevard of Broken Dreams; Just in Time; I Left My Heart in San Francisco; Firefly; I Wanna Be Around; For the Good Life; Fly Me to the Moon , and more.

Tony Bennett has a typical lack of effusiveness about the kudos of his seven-decade career, but he does reportedly display an inscribed picture from a longtime colleague and fellow saloon singer in his Manhattan apartment. It reads: "To the best goddamned pop singer I've ever heard." It's signed "Frank Sinatra." But don't take the Chairman's word for it. Just listen as these two discs bound from one masterly performance to the next, documenting a career whose ups and downs--Bennett actually went long years without a record contract--belie a robust evolution of vocal strength and subtlety of phrasing. The arc of Bennett's art in the decade from "Cold Cold Heart" and "Rags to Riches" to "The Best Is Yet To Come" and his signature "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" is remarkable enough, but it just keeps getting better. When the singer's management shrewdly orchestrated his MTV-powered "comeback" in the late 1980s and '90s, Bennett delivered considerably more than mere hype. Indeed, the highlights of those efforts (a warm, semi-autobiographical collection of ballads; tributes to Sinatra, Astaire, Ellington, and the blues; the obligatory MTV Unplugged set) included here barely skim the surface and arguably warrant a double-disc collection all their own. Still, the 39 tracks here represent the best kind of anthology: one that leaves you craving more. --Jerry McCulley

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Because Of You
  2. Cold, Cold Heart
  3. Blue Velvet
  4. Rags to Riches
  5. Stranger in Paradise
  6. Sing You Sinners
  7. The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams (Gigolo And Gigolette)
  8. Just In Time
  9. It Amazes Me
  10. Love Look Away
  11. Firefly - Tony Bennett with Count Basie & His Orchestra
  12. Put On A Happy Face
  13. The Best Is Yet to Come
  14. Tender Is the Night
  15. Once Upon a Time
  16. I Left My Heart in San Francisco
  17. I Wanna Be Around
  18. The Good Life
  19. This Is All I Ask
  20. When Joanna Loved Me
  21. The Rules Of The Road

Disc: 2

  1. Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me) - Tony Bennett; Arranged & conducted by George Siravo; featuring The Ralph Sharon Trio
  2. If I Ruled The World
  3. Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)
  4. The Shadow Of Your Smile
  5. Smile
  6. The Very Thought of You
  7. For Once In My Life
  8. Yesterday I Heard The Rain (Esta Tarde Vi Llover)
  9. My Favorite Things
  10. I Do Not Know A Day I Did Not Love You
  11. How Do You Keep The Music Playing? - Tony Bennett with The Ralph Sharon Trio
  12. When Do The Bells Ring For Me?
  13. Night and Day
  14. Last Night When We Were Young
  15. Steppin' out with My Baby
  16. It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing
  17. Mood Indigo
  18. Keep the Faith, Baby - Tony Bennett & k.d. lang

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 22, 2009)
  • Limited Edition edition
  • Original Release Date: September 22, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Limited Edition, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • ASIN: B000069JIL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,569 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Growing up in the 60s, Sinatra and Bennett were the kings of sophisticated pop songs with Mathis and Andy Williams nipping at their heels. Sinatra was the most emotional. Mathis and Williams always seemed to be skimming the surface, and for much of the time, so did Tony Bennett. But of the group, he was the best singer, and Frank Sinatra acknowledged that in a personally signed photo he gave Bennett. Growing up in San Francisco, his monster hit--I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO--was played in practically every saloon in town and it still is. LOVE LOOK AWAY, RAGS TO RICHES, BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS, BECAUSE OF YOU, FLY ME TO THE MOON, THE BEST IS YET TO COME, FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE(Bennett's effortless top G always tore my own larynx to shreds attempting to imitate him), are bonafide classics. While I always admired the beautiful timbre, the range, and the sheer showbiz pizzaz of his delivery, much of his work was superficial. Or so it seemed.
But this new ESSENTIAL TONY BENNETT has some gems I ignored. Anyone who wants to question Bennett's skills as an intepreter should listen to his performances here of IT AMAZES ME and most importantly, I DO NOT KNOW A DAY I DID NOT LOVE YOU. This Richard Rodgers gem was new to me, and it just knocked me out. I had to play the song four times in a row. Bennett sings both with depth and a world-weary sense of inevitability. Here you'll find outstanding examples of his extraordinary breath control (only Streisand is his equal here). His tuning on the latter song is utterly impeccable and his legato exemplary. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Two CDs are crammed with great cuts and if you listen really carefully, you'll be staggered too.
Like Sinatra I came to appreciate Bennett's skills a bit late in the day.
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Format: Audio CD
Tony Bennett is one smooth singer. Having been a star, a has been, and a retro-icon, he has known every degree of fame, and deserves all the kudos his recent renaissance has afforded him.
This career review is rightly called "essential". It covers 50 years of Bennett recordings, from Because of You (1951) through his wonderful duet with KD Lang of "Keep The Faith, Baby" (2001). In between these bookmarks are some of the most well-orchestrated songs recorded over the last 50 years.
Tony isn't one to blow you away. He's more quiet ocean breeze than tsunami, and is a master of underdelivery. You don't realize how good he is until you hear a certain phrase or note that simply demands attention.
Disc 2 is incredible,mainly because the standards recorded here are perfect matches for the Bennett voice. "Stepping Out" and "It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing") are two prime examples of what happens when the perfect singer meets the perfect song with the perfect arrangement. It's rare that this happens more than once in a lifetime for a singer. Toss in "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" and Tony hits this benchmark at least three times on this set.
This is sheer enjoyment from start to finish. Buy this recording, and indulge yourself.
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My musical tastes range from old standards to Steve Miller Band, The Moody Blues, Alan Parsons Project, and Blue Oyster Cult. Tony Bennet is one of my perrenial favorites, and when I listened to this remastered album I really understood why. Firstly, Tony is happy and loves to sing. He has a fine voice, has great backing musicians, and all his songs are carefully arranged. You may grumble about some aspects of his phrasing, tempo, or delivery, but it all fits together just right - maybe due to Mitch Miller havign produced his early works. What I noticed for the first time was the driving power of many of his songs - like Grace Slick's "White Rabbit", you better hold on to your seat because Tony is going to knock you over. But when you get up you always feel better - his happiness and love of music is contagious. My personal favorite is "Firely" - short, full of energy, and perfectly packaged.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
June 2008 update
Recently pulled an old LP from my collection - Tony's Greatest Hits (CBS 62821) - I bought this album sometime in the late 70's, it has 12 tracks of which 10 are on the reviewed CD. The comparison with the CD was night and day - the LP is focussed, clear, warm, just a delight. The CD .. well, see below. Something really rotten happened on the way to the remastering studio.


This two CD set is a disappointment. Yes, all the great Tony Bennett songs are here and there are many glimpses of his timeless artistry. But before you buy you need to know:
- The sound quality of both CDs is poor. Sony claims this collection has been "remastered". In Sony's world this must mean that the master tapes were played back through a 1960's transistor radio, recorded on a 1970's cassette player then transferred to CD. The sound is tinny, lacks depth, atmosphere and range. In places it's just unlistenable.
- Around half the tracks of the first CD are from early, 1950s recordings. These are not the masterful later recordings but immature and poorly recorded versions.
- The tracks are crammed together with just a second or so between the end of one track and the beginning of the next. These clumbsy, jerky transitions make for fatiguing listening.
- The liner notes are limited to a track listing and a few photos ... no bio, no perspectives on Tony Bennett's career ... nada. What a missed opportunity.

Overall a poorly engineered collection that is unworthy of this great artist.
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