Tony Bennett Day

August 2, 2023
Recording studio

Resolved, that the Senate … proclaims August 3, 2023, as ‘Tony Bennett Day’ across the country, urging all citizens to join together in honoring this extraordinary man …

A resolution which was unanimously passed in the United States Senate in honor of American singer Tony Bennett, who passed away in July at age 96. Similar legislation was also introduced in the House in support of Tony Bennett Day.

About Tony Bennett: Bennett (born Anthony Dominick Benedetto) was born on this day 97 years ago in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, New York to Italian immigrants. From a young age, he was passionate about painting and singing. Soon after he turned 18, he was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II. In 1945, Bennett (Cpl. Benedetto at the time) was among soldiers who liberated a concentration camp in Germany. He later sang jazz with the 314th Army Special Services Band, using the stage name, Joe Bari.

In 1946, he returned to New York and continued singing as Joe Bari until he was noticed by actor and comedian Bob Hope, who took interest in his singing. However, there was just one problem. Bennett later recalled, "He asks what my real name is. I say Anthony Benedetto. That doesn't do it for him, either. So he goes out and says to the audience, 'And here's a new singer, Tony Bennett!' He had to introduce me twice, 'cause I didn't know who he was talking about.'"

Several years "and a whirlwind of fame later, Bennett participated in the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march in 1965," and throughout his life, he spoke out for civil rights and social justice (NYT). In 2016, he said, "All the tribulations, the wars, the prejudice—and everything that divides us—simply melt away when you realize that we’re all together on one planet and that every problem should have a solution."

Throughout his career singing songs of the "Great American Songbook," (known for performing songs including "Fly Me To The Moon" and "I Left My Heart In San Francisco"), he sold more than 50 million records, won 20 Grammy Awards, and several other accolades.

In his later years, he and his wife Susan established a public high school in Queens, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. Bennett and his wife also founded a nonprofit, Exploring the Arts, which "funds arts programming at schools in need of support" (NYT).

In 2016, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, though he continued to paint and sing. His last public performance came in August 2021, when he sang with Lady Gaga in a show called, "One Last Time." In late July, a statement on his Twitter shared, "Tony left us today but he was still singing the other day at his piano and his last song was, 'Because of You,' his first #1 hit."

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by Jenna Lee,