Top 10 Tony Bennett Songs

Tony Bennett Songs

Photo: Andy Witchger, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Tony Bennett songs list looks back over the career and songs of one of the greatest and most loved singers of all time. Who doesn’t love Tony Bennett? The man has been around forever and he has continued to be relevant while connecting continually with young and old audiences through every decade he has recorded. Even rock stars love him as they all jump at any chance to work with him. From Billy Joel to Lady Gaga, from the late Amy Winehouse to the wonderful Diana Krall, all theses talents have performed with Tony Bennett.

Tony Bennett released his first single entitled “Because of You,” in 1951. From that point on, Tony Bennett has released sixty studio albums, eleven live albums and eighty three singles. That is a lot of material to choose only ten songs from. So, of course many great ones will be missing from this list. Nonetheless, we still hope you enjoy the top 10 we have picked to pay tribute to one of the greatest artists of all time.

# 10 – Because Of You

We open up our grand Tony Bennett songs list in the most appropriate way with the legendary singer’s first single release entitled “Because of You.” Tony Bennett started out his career with a number one single. There are not many musical artists who’s first single goes straight to number one. Tony Bennett did it in 1951. The song “Because of You,” was written by Arthur Hammerstein and Dudley Wilkinson. It would become a standard covered by many more more musical artists over the second half of the decade. However, no one has ever matched the beauty of Tony Bennett’s original recording. And this pick is also personal as it was my mom and dad’s wedding song in the 1950s. It just might have been yours or your parents too.

# 9 – The Good Life

Continuing with our Top 10 Tony Bennett songs list we turn to the great song “The Good Life.” Tony Bennett captures the listener instantly with his magical acapella vocal opening on this celebratory song. The song was released on Tony Bennett’s great album I Wanna Be Around. The album was released in 1963. “The Good Life,” was the third single released from the album. It became a top 20 hit for Tony Bennett as it peaked at number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100.  The song was featured in the 1962 motion picture The Seven Deadly Sins. Tony Bennett recorded the song multiple times throughout his career including a great duet version with Billy Joel in 2006.  The song “The Good Life,” was written by Sacha Distel and Jean Broussolle.

# 8 – I Wanna Be Around

One more time we go back to the classic I Wanna Be Around album. This time we present the splendid record’s title track “I Wanna Be Around.” This was an important recording for Tony Bennett as it served as the follow up album and single to his huge career defining record “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.” The song “I Wanna Be Around.” was the first single released from the album. This one swings right from the start with that great piano opening that leads right into Tony Bennet’s swinging lyrical line filled with hopeful revenge. It’s a short tune but it goes straight to the point and finishes brilliantly like so many of Tony Bennett’s songs. “I Wanna Be Around.” was written by Sadie Vimmerstedt and Johnny Mercer.

# 7 – Rags To Riches

The classic Tony Bennett song “Rags to Riches” stands as Tony Bennett’s third number one single. It was released in 1953. It would also become Tony Bennett’s last number one single of his career. A career that would continue on for close to another 70 years which is unbelievable. “Rags to Riches” was released as a stand alone single in 1953. Singles were more popular in the early to mid 50s than full length albums. So many of the early recordings by artists such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Chuck Berry and so many others were all released initially as singles. “Rags to Riches” like so many of the other Tony Bennett songs on this list and many others that we could could not fit here would become standards that he would perform for years. These songs would also become a part of pop culture appearing in countless movies, television shows, commercials and so forth.

# 6 – My Foolish Heart

Tony Bennett released two albums with the brilliant pianist Bill Evans. The first one entitled the The Tony Bennett Bill Evans Album stands as one of the all time great jazz vocal albums. These were two masters coming together and creating music that was as organic as it gets. No orchestrations, no special effects just a piano and a voice. One of the greatest jazz pianists of all time collaborating with one of the greatest vocalists in history. The result was a masterpiece. We could have chosen any song from the album to represent that great record. However, our favorite track was the standard “My Foolish Heart.” Make sure you take a listen to this if you never heard it before.

# 5 – Stranger In Paradise

As we enter the second half of our Tony Bennett songs list, we once again go way back in time to another Tony Bennett classic.  The legendary song “Stranger In Paradise,” was released on the album Alone at Last with Tony BennettThe record was released in 1952. The song was taken from the musical play Kismet. “Stranger In Paradise,” just missed scoring Tony Bennett another number one single as the song peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. However, it went to number one in the land down under.

# 4 – The Way You Look Tonight

Tony Bennett had a career resurgence in the 1990s for various reasons. One reason that fueled his so called comeback was his appearance on MTV Unplugged. That appearance brought him an entire new audience of younger people. The other reason was the inclusion of the song “The Way You Look Tonight,” on the soundtrack to the motion picture My Best Friends Wedding. A great film starring Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz. Tony Bennett delivers a stunning performance on this one. So much class!

# 3 – Fly Me To The Moon

“Fly Me To The Moon,” is one of the most widely recorded standards of all time. Everyone has recorded a version of this one. Nonetheless, I will take Tony Bennett’s ballad version over everyone. Listen to him song that opening line. It will send chills through your body. Tony Bennett first recorded the song in 1965 on the album If I Ruled The World. He also released a great live version on the MTV Unplugged album. The 1965 version is spectacular!

# 2 -Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)

Frank Sinatra always said his favorite singer was Tony Bennett. Listen to Tony Bennett sing this one and you will so understand why Old Blues Eyes claimed Bennett as his favorite. Tony Bennett delivers one of the finest vocals of his career on the song “Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me).” Tony Bennett always had great endings on his songs, this one is his best. The song “Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me).” was released on the album Who Can I Turn To in 1963.

 

# 1 – I Left My Heart In San Francisco

We close out our Top 10 Tony Bennett Songs list with Tony Bennett’s signature song. “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.” The song was first released in 1962. Everyone loves this one. Ask any professional musician who made a living playing weddings or nightclubs over the past fifty plus years what are the most popular songs requests they receive from people and this will surely be one of them. I know that quite well. Surprisingly, when the song was first released it was not a real big hit, although it did break the Billboard Top 20 peaking at number 18. Over time, the song’s legacy just continued to grow as it became one of the most loved songs ever released.

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