Tony Bennett

“Duets II”



It’s hard to believe that 85 year-old Astoria native Tony Bennett had his first-ever #1 album in his career when “Duets II” hit the top of the Billboard album charts last month.

There is no doubt that one reason for the quick sales success was the appearance of Stephanie Germanotta, better known these days as one Lady Gaga. Tony sounds as if he is struggling to keep a straight face as Lady Gaga, who does possess a fine voice, ad-libs new lyrics to “The Lady Is A Tramp” in which she mentions her love of Coney Island and the New York Yankees. “Jeter’s just fine,” Bennett quickly replies.

On a more somber note, the late Amy Winehouse made her final recording, dueting with him on “Body And Soul.” She sounds eerily like the late Dinah Washington who also died from a drug overdose a few weeks after the assassination of JFK.

Tony sounds most comfortable sharing the mike with Michael Buble on “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” and old buddy Willie Nelson on a tune he successfully revived in 1976, “On The Sunny Side Of The Street.”

The effects of age have frayed his magnificent voice some but Tony clearly steps up his game when he shares the studio with the operatic stylings of Josh Groban on “That’s All I Ask” and Andrea Bocelli on “Stranger In Paradise.”