The Good Life: Tony Bennett's Top 5 Hits

Tony Bennett
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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Today - August 3 - marks Tony Bennett's 94th birthday. We are paying our respects to the "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" crooner and his classic tunes that have been scaling the charts since 1951. The legendary singer locked in his timeless legacy when he made history in 2011 as the oldest act to score a No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with his Duets II album. Tune in below to see his Top 5 Billboard hits.

5. "Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)"

Peak Position: No. 33

Peak Date: November 21, 1964

Written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, "Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)" first made its appearance in the 1964 musical The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd. Bennett breathed new life into the song when he recorded it later that year, boosting the musical's popularity on Broadway and popularizing his recording of the song as the definitive rendition of the tune. Years later, he teamed up with Queen Latifah in 2011 and Gloria Estefan in 2012 to re-record the song for his albums Duet II and Viva Duets.

4. "The Good Life"

Peak Position: No. 18

Peak Date: June 22, 1963

One of his most-performed songs, "The Good Life" flies high in Bennett's wide-spanning career of jazz standards. The song, which also inspired the title of his 1988 autobiography, reigned on the charts for 10 weeks.

3. "Firefly"

Peak Position: No. 20

Peak Date: October 13, 1958

Popularized by Bennett in his 1959 album In Person!, "Firefly" was written by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh, initially as an audition song for the musical. The singer recruited Lady Gaga in 2014 for their jazz collaborative album

2. "I Wanna Be Around"

Peak Position: No. 14

Peak Date: March 30, 1963

This lilting crooner began as an afterthought by a cosmetician named Sadie Vimmerstedt in Youngstown, Ohio. Complaining about the lack of decent songs on the radio, she penned a letter to songwriter Johnny Mercer suggesting the lyric, "I want to be around to pick up the pieces when somebody's breaking your heart." 

Two years later, Mercer responded - with the iconic Bennett ready to record the tune. Vimmerstedt earned her first co-songwriter credits and Bennett returned to the charts for a 16-week stay with his 1963 recording of the song. The iconic hit has since been covered by Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Bobby Darin and Aretha Franklin. 

1. "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"

Peak Position: No. 19

Peak Date: October 20, 1962

Had it not been for the constant pleas of Bennett's music director Ralph Sharon, this timeless recording may have never seen the light of day - or changed the course of the crooner's career. 

As Bennett reminisced on the signature tune, "That song helped make me a world citizen. It allowed me to live, work, and sing in any city on the globe. It changed my whole life."

Bennett has performed "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" live for a number of grand occasions, including the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1987, the reopening of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and several World Series game in support of the San Francisco Giants. 

BONUS:

Stevie Wonder paid his respects to the legend today (Monday) on Twitter with an outpouring of admiration and praise, sharing "I'm so glad you're on this planet. Even though we're in crazy times. But I know, when I think about you, I go back to when I was a little kid, wanting to sing with you and we sang together in my lifetime. 

He continued, "But I even think of deeper things. Like how when people didn't feel it was proper, or it wasn't someone people wanted to be associated with publicly, you associated yourself with equal civil and social rights for African and people of various ethnicities of color. You were there... I know that Congressman John Lewis, in heaven, has told God of what kind of human being you are."

He wrapped his loving note with a wonderful performance of "The Best Is Yet to Come."

 

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