Tony Bennett: Duets II
About the Program

Tony Bennett made music history with the Grammy-nominated CD Duets II when it debuted at the top of the Billboard Album charts, making Bennett the oldest vocal artist ever to achieve the number one spot.  Recently nominated for three Grammys, including Best Traditional Pop Vocal, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, and Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), the critically acclaimed album followed the 85-year-old singer’s Grammy-winning 2006 Duets CD, which had, in turn, been released in honor of his 80th birthday.

Tony Bennett: Duets II, a presentation of THIRTEEN’s Great Performances, features the singer’s greatest hits, performed by Bennett and today’s biggest stars, including John Mayer, Michael Bublé, k.d. lang, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Queen Latifah, Norah Jones, Josh Groban, Faith Hill, Alejandro Sanz, Carrie Underwood and more.

The sessions, filmed to capture the magic of these performers singing with the master of the Great American Songbook, airs on Friday, January 27, 2012, at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

Watch a preview:

Great Performances is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local arts programming to the New York community.

The album took more than six months to record, with each track recorded face-to-face with his singer partners in studios around the world, from LA to Nashville to London.  Among the many highlights is Amy Winehouse’s last recorded track (“Body and Soul”), which was produced in London’s famous Abbey Road Studios in March.  Other tracks were recorded in New York in late July: the Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart classic, “The Lady Is a Tramp” with Lady Gaga, and the Alan and Marilyn Bergman classic, “How Do You Keep the Music Playing,” with Aretha Franklin, and “Stranger in Paradise” with Andrea Bocelli, recorded at the singer’s Italian home (see full track listing below).

The CD received kudos from all quarters. The Wall Street Journal noted that the singer was “…constantly reaffirming his position as pop music’s greatest living patriarch,” and Associated Press observed, “Tony Bennett is as timeless as the songs he sings on ‘Duets II.’”

The musical segments are highlighted by insights on the process from the performers, making for an up-close look at one of the year’s most celebrated recordings. The sessions were filmed by Oscar-winning cinematographer Dion Beebe (“Chicago,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Collateral”), providing a personal, behind-the-scenes look at Bennett’s latest collaborations and his artistic approach with each song.

Entering his seventh decade as a recording artist with more than 100 albums and 15 Grammy Awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Bennett has earned his legendary status many times over.  He remains the Columbia recording artist with the greatest longevity at the label.  His 2007 primetime special, “Tony Bennett:  An American Classic,” won seven Emmy Awards and was directed by Academy Award winner Rob Marshall.

He has performed for Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, Geroge H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama.  He also worked with and marched alongside Martin Luther King in his 1965 civil rights march and was honored with the Martin Luther King’s Salute to Greatness Award.

In addition to performing, he is a visual artist as well, with three of his original paintings featured in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian, including his portraits of Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington.  His humanitarian efforts are renowned, and the United Nations honored him with their Humanitarian Award in 2007.

He has published three books — his autobiography, The Good Life, and two collections of his paintings, Tony Bennett: What My Heart Has Seen and Tony Bennett in the Studio: A Life of Art and Music.  Bennett founded, in association with the Department of Education in New York City, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts — a public arts high school in his hometown of Astoria, Queens. With his wife, Susan, he established Exploring the Arts, a charitable organization that supports arts education in NYC public high schools.  Exploring the Arts supports 14 public high schools throughout New York City.

In the fall of 2007, a documentary of Bennett’s life and career, produced by Clint Eastwood, “Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends,” aired on THIRTEEN’s American Masters on PBS.

The full song program follows:

“The Lady Is a Tramp” (Lady Gaga)
“One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)” (John Mayer)
“Body and Soul” (Amy Winehouse)
“Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” (Michael Bublé)
“Blue Velvet” (k.d. lang)
“How Do You Keep the Music Playing” (Aretha Franklin)
“The Girl I Love” (Sheryl Crow)
“On the Sunny Side of the Street” (Willie Nelson)
“Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)” (Queen Latifah)
“Speak Low” (Norah Jones)
“This Is All I Ask” (Josh Groban)
“Watch What Happens” (Natalie Cole)
“Stranger in Paradise” (Andrea Bocelli)
“The Way You Look Tonight” (Faith Hill)
“Yesterday I Heard the Rain” (Alejandro Sanz)
“It Had to Be You” (Carrie Underwood)

Great Performances is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, Vivian Milstein, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, the Starr Foundation, the Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, public television viewers, and PBS.

Tony Bennett: Duets II is produced by RPM TV Productions, Inc. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer; David Horn is executive producer.

  • Joanne (Jojo) Mentzer

    Love Tony Bennett and will surely watch this program.

  • http://sarahauerswald.com/2012/01/06/the-rise-of-the-oldn-tony-bennet-can-sing-betty-white-is-freakin-funny/ The Rise of The Old’n: Tony Bennet Can Sing & Betty White Is Freakin’ Funny |

    [...] I have not been a life-long fan of his; I never really got into the whole Ocean’s 11/Rat Pack kind of thing until George Clooney remade the movie, and I really had not paid much attention to the man until he did a Duet with Lady Gaga, whom he by the way said was his favorite partner for his new PBS Great Performances series called Tony Bennett: Duets II. [...]

  • Betty Riley

    Unlike Betty White ,I have loved Tony Bennett longer than I loved my husband, who died 13 years ago! There was a lull when the kids were little and I simply didn’t do much but “mother”. However, back in the groove to the point where my understanding hubby would call me from grading papers or in the kitchen with your “sweetie” is on TV! Even a 3 year old grandson called and said excitedly,”Gammy, your sweetheart is on Sesame Street!” The kids subsequently began giving me tickets when Tony would have a concert in Indianapolis. I would sit in the 10th or 12th row and be absolutely positive he was singing just for me! If you never heard him in a live concert, you have truly missed something special.. I also attend a showing of his art in Indy and would have bought an art piece if I hadn’t been just a school teacher! What a gifted man, my secret love! And every time I see or hear him, I marvel at the constancy of his miraculous, well-tuned voice! There aren’t many Antonio! Bennedettos in this world. Thanks for all the sheer enjoyment Mr. B! As Ever EGR

  • DJ Nicoletti

    Hope to see this on my local PBS station…

    AT&T U-VERSE MIAMI:
    WPBT
    WLRN

  • ginger35

    Will this be shown on San Francisco pbs stations? I’m a Josh Groban fan.

  • sarafranco

    Looove Tony Bennett Hes Actually a Relative By Marriage (his sister married my moms cousin) i have always loved his music and I”m also a HUGE!!! Fan Of Michael Buble and Josh Groban and oh..and the AMAZINGLY STUNNING!! Voice Of Andrea Bocelli

  • margaret reynolds

    I am a huge fan of both Tony Bennett and Josh Groban and I am wondering if I will be able to get PBS where I live which is South Wales, United Kingdom.

  • Edi

    I’m trying to set my DVR to view, and I’d like to know how long the program is.

  • Virginia

    Would love Tony to do an interview on our radio show ” International Caravan ”
    when he tours Melbourne Australia in April.

    Producer : Virginia Sumarac

  • Barbara Hustwick

    I wish Michael Buble and Josh Groban good luck with their show tonight.Happy Valentines day!

  • mark

    This was wonderful, just wonderful. I’m so inspired!

  • mark

    Is the show available for sale? If so, where?

  • Steve F

    WOW!!! Amazing .. sitt’n here watching it with my honey ..

  • Becky T

    Just saw the show –what a wonderful gift!!! FANTASTIC, beyond words, THANK YOU PBS for showing this masterpiece!!! Loved every note simply WONDERFUL!!!!! Already pre-ordered the DVD of the Great Performances -this is A KEEPSAKE!!!!!

  • NH Guy

    I caught the last half hour of this and I was spellbound. Like other viewers, I was not a big Rat Pack fan, or a Tony Bennett fan in my youth, even though I grew up in metro NY. I must say, he is still has it. Smooth to listen to, and classy to watch- his true colors are revealed when you witness his warm interaction with each of his guest singers.
    I hope to see this program again.

  • Phillip James

    Don’t miss Amy Winehouse’s final studio recording…Body and Soul!

  • Sonia

    Many years ago, in 1961, Tony was at the Café de Paris in London . My escort was young and handsome. We had a magical evening and Tony put the icing on the cake. Ever since he has been one of my knights in shining armour. I came to New York in 1961, had my 50th anniversary last year, and now include him as one of the touch-stones in life. Thank you, Tony, for staying true to your star, without getting old and fusty. Your are even more handsome now than you were then! Right now I’m watching the PBS programme “Duets 2.” The music is stirring up so many memories I decided I must thank you. I agree that if you sang the phone book it would sound great. I only occasionally get back to the Big Apple. Thank heavens for TV and PBS. Thank you again for reassuring us all that one can add years without getting old, that old is a state of mind, separate from calendar years.

  • eva

    like so many i was never a great fan, grew up in europe and came to the US when Elvis was popular. my children gave me duetts for x mas and tonight i watched PBS and fell in love with Tony,what took me so long ? so now i am sorry i did not see him in Asburry Park , i hope he will come back again and i will surely be there. by the way i changed my mind about Lady GaGa she is very funny, would love to see her on Broadway ,
    and so liked Amy Winehouse, it is sad she is gone.

  • Ron Bowles

    Too cool from start to finish.

  • Ruth Boin

    What a fabulous show!! I’m so sorry I missed the first ten minutes which included one of my favorites, Michael Buble. I certainly hope you show this again. The duet with Andrea Bocelli was awesome. Tony Bennett has so much charm, talent and musical ability and sounds fabulous with all those different styles of singers. He just sweeps you in to each song and the photography in each scene was outstanding!! Thank you so much PBS for such quality entertainment and please keep on bringing us these wonderful music tributes.

  • Want to know

    What year was this released? And where to buy the DVD or Blueray?

  • Anne L

    Loved it but only caught the last part, will it be airing again soon?

  • Gale Cady Williams

    Betty, What you say about Tony could be my own words. I also am a teacher (English/writing) and love all sorts of genres of music, from Marvin Gaye to Springsteen to Miles to Billie to Arcade Fire and the Black Keys, but I have always, above all, loved Tony Bennett. The man knocks me off my feet. On this album, the set with Lady Gaga particularly blew me away; she as channeling Ella Fitzgerald and it was old-school WONDERFUL.
    Only difference? my husband calls Tony my “boyfriend”… ah, Tony Bennett, he is a true Renaissance man. <3

  • Diane Louise

    This entire show touched my heart like nothing else I have seen – for some reason I had tears in my eyes through almost the entire program – the warmth of Tony’s soul radiates through his voice, his love for music and for mankind. In a world of takers, Tony is a big-time giver – and we all benefit – the ultimate artist, in so many ways.

  • Morgan

    What a voice and what a show! Thank you PBS for airing this incredible collection of music that so many us have grown up with, sung with, enjoyed and will continue to do so for decades to come. Just left me breathless. I pray for a Duets III !!!!

  • Bruce R

    It’s almost over here in Seattle. What a fun show, and such great talents all around!

  • Angela pedalino

    Diane Louise channeled my feelings. Tears flowed. It was that moving, loved it..

  • Kasikarine

    Couldn’t sleep, this was on and really couldn’t sleep, it was a wonderful, wonderful program. Who doesn’t love to listern to Tony Bennett, but the duets with other greats were soft, warm and amazing. Especially loved “Speak Low” with Nora Jones………. so smooth! I recorded this in bedroom, will watch for other showing times and record throughout the house and will buy. Sit back, watch, listen and enjoy.

  • Kasikarine

    oops. should read will buy CD for car

  • Maureen G

    Loved it Josh Groban had me in tears!!please bring it out on DVD

  • Joe Hay

    Will somebody PLEASE tell me how to get a DVD of this show! I went to the WNET site, buytheshow.org, and it’s not listed. It seems only the CD is available on shopPBS.org. Help!

  • art milberg

    WHEN WILL YOU HAVE THE DVD OF THIS TRULY GREAT SHOW FOR SALE?

  • wayne butler

    missed phone no. at conclusion of showing 1/27/12 for purchasing cd of this event. ???

  • Rayell W

    Can this Great show be purchased on CD? Hope I am able to order it online! I was hypnotized to the screen and Tony Bennett..Love him. His voice does not seem to age.. has that dreamy, romantic sound, still!

  • Joyce S

    Mr. Bennett sure showed more enthusiasm singing with Lady Gaga than the others……..was disappointed they didn’t feature Jackie Evancho and Tony singing ‘Somewhere’…..hope PBS airs Duet II many more times this year!!!!!!

  • Al G

    I watched the show last night and I must say that it was the best Tony Bennett I’ve ever heard! He certainly had an eclectic group of singing partners… most of them with beautiful voices and styles of their own! The show is a must watch and I now have it on DVR so I don’t have to watch your promos… anyway, I donate to PBS, so I don’t feel guilty.

    Keep up the excellent programing PBS, no one else does….

    AlG

  • Knut

    Just fun!
    Always loved Tonys music style and it is so neat to watch him paired against some musicians very unlike him and yet they pull it off beautifully!

    Way to go PBS!

  • shirley Knight

    Just saw this full performance tonight at 1:00am but could NOT go to bed. Fantastic ! I want it ! Is it available for purchase on DVD?? If not, MAKE IT HAPPEN ! This should be made available to the public so that we can enjoy it whenever we want in our homes….have people over….make it a Tony Bennett party !!!

  • Donna

    Tony was never a member of the “Rat Pack”. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop were the “Rat Pack” members. Tony Bennett has always been his own man and a stunning artist who never needed to be surrounded by his pals to bring great music and art to the world.

  • stephen didovich

    ran across this show last night on nj tv . simply wonderful

  • david ernst

    The CD was released last September 2011 and is available on shoppbs.org. Click here for Duets II products on shoppbs.org. Duets II products can also be found on http://www.thirteen.org

  • Brian V

    The DVD is available for pre-order at the Barnes & Noble Web site.

  • rosemary pombar

    It is the best way to relax and lower your blood pressure. Tony Bennett just gets better!

  • Bob Benson

    Will this program be played again on TV? When and what SC station?

  • david ernst

    Hi Bob,

    This program is likely to be aired again in March, but it’s up to your local PBS station to decide when they want to air it so you’ll have to check your local listings in late February to see when Tony Bennett: Duets II will be on. Here’s the link to the PBS schedule widget.

    http://www.pbs.org/tv_schedules/

    Thank you for your question.

  • Jim Aquino

    Awesome and it was absolutely entertaining. Hope they put the show on CD video.
    IT would be great to listen and see Tony work his magic over and over .The video will certainly be a great part of Tony’s contribution to art and music.

  • Mike Soulakis

    Listening to Tony Bennet brings back a rush of pleasureable emotions from the days when my wife and I first met and we danced to his great songs. He sets an instant mood, especially when you’re dancing, and he does justice to the great poetry that are the lyrics for his great songs.

  • Elz

    Didn’t think Tony Bennett was part of The Rat Pack, who hung around Las Vegas and drank a lot. Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr, Peter Lawford… Tony was singing the same genre of music, but it’s sort of like mixing up the Beatles and Rolling Stones (oops, also too long ago).

  • Teresa

    Flawless Performances:

    Aretha Franklin doing anything,
    Elaine Paige as Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd,
    Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice singing “People” on Broadway,
    and
    Tony Bennett in Duets II, Great Performances.

    Bravo!

  • Tony

    If Frank said he was the “greatest saloon singer” , 35 years ago, he knew that the best was yet to come!
    Anthony Benedetto is truly an artist.

  • America A. Iglesias

    Favuloso, que programa de canciones tan bellas. Mr. Bennett is the gratest. I am a translator, and that CD and program is Whao………I love the spanish song Thank you Mr. Bennett! America Iglesias

  • orest Michaels

    Being a 42 yr old gay man, everything about is show reminds me of learning how to dance and
    Appreciate music for what it’s meant to be. All the performers and artists were amazing and lived up
    to singing with the amazing and talented Mr. Tony Bennett. I was amazed and enthralled by each and every performer.

  • robert janke

    Having enjoyed Tony for I don’t know how long (I am 79) but I think it would be nice to see him do a number with Jacki Evancho. Would be an interesting pair 85 and 12.

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