Tony Bennett Caps Off an Outstanding Year With Three Grammy Nominations & Platinum Sales for 'TONY BENNETT: DUETS/An American Classic'

'TONY BENNETT: An American Classic' DVD & Grammy-Nominated DUETS CD Available Now


It's been a very good year for Tony Bennett, the musical icon who celebrated his 80th birthday with star-studded tributes and parties, an NBC television special, and the release of TONY BENNETT: DUETS/An American Classic, a critically-acclaimed blockbuster of an album that's already become one of the best-selling titles in a catalog that stretches back more than fifty years.

TONY BENNETT: DUETS/An American Classic was certified platinum (for sales of 1,000,000 copies) by the RIAA this week while also earning Tony three Grammy nominations. The album is up for a Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album trophy while Tony's duet with Stevie Wonder, "For Once In My Life," is contending for both the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals and the Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist Grammys.

"The success of this project has always been driven by Tony's artistic integrity and passion for his music," said Danny Bennett, Tony's son and manager, who'd begun planning his father's 80th birthday tribute more than a year in advance. "He is an icon whose art resonates beyond boundary or category."

Released on September 26, 2006, TONY BENNETT: DUETS/An American Classic has become Bennett's top-selling album since he first began recording in 1950. When the album entered the Billboard Top 200 album chart at #3, with first week's sales of 201,536 copies, it marked the singer's highest-debuting and highest-peaking album in the history of the Top 200. DUETS/An American Classic has maintained exceptionally strong sales since its release, spending five straight weeks in the Top 10 (it's currently at #15). Weekly sales on the album nearly tripled after "TONY BENNETT/An American Classic," presented by Target, premiered on NBC-TV on Tuesday, November 21, kicking off the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The special may be seen on Bravo during the month of December.

A DVD version of "TONY BENNETT/An American Classic," featuring bonus footage, is currently #4 on Billboard's Top Music Video chart.

Tony Bennett's upcoming TV appearances this month will include "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (December 11), "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (December 18) and the CBS "Early Show" (December 19). Also in December, PBS will begin airing a "making of" documentary of DUETS as part of the network's winter pledge drive campaign. Bennett also performed for "Nissan's Live Sets on Yahoo! Music" which is set to air December 15.

TONY BENNETT: DUETS/An American Classic reprises some of the best-loved songs in Tony's repertoire as duets performed side by side with some of the top names in contemporary music: Bono, Michael Buble, Elvis Costello, Celine Dion, Dixie Chicks, Billy Joel, Elton John, Juanes, Diana Krall, k.d. lang, John Legend, Paul McCartney, Tim McGraw, George Michael, Sting, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor and Stevie Wonder. A significant factor that set Bennett's duet project apart from most contemporary recordings was the fact that the album was recorded live in the studio with Tony and his musical guests.

The unprecedented promotional and marketing campaign for TONY BENNETT: DUETS/An American Classic kicked off with a star-studded party, hosted by Target, for Tony's 80th birthday on August 3rd. Tony's 80th birthday received extensive media coverage with The New York Times calling him " ... the embodiment of heart in popular music ... and a rock of integrity." The singer was featured in Time, Vanity Fair, Parade, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal among other print publications. Bennett also made television guest appearances on the nation's top-rated television programs including three appearances on "The Today Show," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Saturday Night Live," and "The Late Show with David Letterman."

The album's first single, "Just in Time," featuring Tony Bennett and Michael Buble, was released on Tony's birthday, and received significant airplay from many AC stations around the country while charting in the Top 25. The CD was launched with a direct response TV marketing ad campaign; advertising on TV, radio, print and on-line; and an aggressive retail presence with multiple point-of-purchase items, along with a variety of contests and promotions. Target, a key sponsor of the campaign, has offered the CD, with exclusive bonus duet tracks as well as a "making of" video, in their stores, all supported by an extensive national TV and print ad campaign. Starbucks, Yahoo, Amazon and iTunes all partnered as well, with print advertising and a variety of on-line promotions and added value items. During launch week TONY BENNETT: DUETS/An American Classic maintained #1 positioning at Target, Starbucks, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders and was #3 on iTunes and continues to achieve top positions since its release.

CD sales were furthered with the prime-time airing of "TONY BENNETT/An American Classic," presented by Target, on NBC. Directed by Rob Marshall ("Chicago" and "Memoirs of a Geisha") and his Oscar winning team the special featured Tony performing with Christina Aguilera, Michael Buble, John Legend, Elton John, Juanes, Diana Krall, k.d. lang, Barbra Streisand and Stevie Wonder with narrative introductions on Tony's career were contributed by Billy Crystal, Robert DeNiro, Catherine Zeta-Jones, John Travolta and Bruce Willis. TV Guide critic Matt Roush observed, "This is the rare music special that looks as good as it sounds. And it sounds spectacular."

A host of tribute events also kept the spotlight on Bennett, which included an all-star tribute to Tony hosted by Paul Newman, Billy Crystal, George Clooney and Bruce Willis held on November 9th at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

Most recently, Tony Bennett received this year's Billboard Century Award, in honor of his outstanding musical achievements, during a live presentation broadcast on the FOX network on December 4th from Las Vegas with an award presentation by duet partner Stevie Wonder.

SOURCE: RPM/Columbia Records

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