Bennett: I made so many mistakes
Tony Bennett was told to work less on stage by Fred Astaire.
The legendary jazz singer recently celebrated his 89th birthday, having spent more than 60 years in the music industry. With so much experience under his belt, Tony can see where he went wrong in the early days.
“I remember running into George Burns in those days. And he said: “Son, you’re doing all right. Just know that it’s gonna take you seven years to learn how to walk on the stage properly.” And he was so accurate. You make so many mistakes when you first start,” he told Variety. “I used to stay onstage too long.”
It took Tony quite a while to get his performance timings right. Over a decade after George’s advice, he was dealt some more words of wisdom by Fred Astaire.
“Fred Astaire saw me at the Hollywood Bowl 15 years later, and I guess I still stayed on the stage too long,” he laughed. “Instead of criticising me, he corrected me. He said, ‘You know, when you do a show and it’s absolutely perfect the way it is, just go right in there and pull out 15 minutes.’ That was his way of telling me to work less.”
Despite getting his first number one record in 1951 with Because of You, Tony shows no signs of slowing down. He’s just completed his Cheek to Cheek tour with pop star Lady Gaga and loved every minute of introducing classic songs to a new audience with her.
“To this day, when I go to Shanghai, and I sing those [American] songs, the audience starts singing them with me,” he added. “Now I’m with Lady Gaga, and she has all these young fans right down front, and the kids are singing all those songs to me. No other country in the world has given the world that many great songs. They’re not old songs, and they’ll never die.”
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