Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Elton John, Diana Krall, k.d. lang, Rufus Wainwright and Stevie Wonder to perform with the beloved Bennett
In celebration of one of America's most treasured musical icons, NBC will air the two-hour special "Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet to Come" on Tuesday, Dec. 20 (9 p.m. ET/PT).
The program will feature the music industry's most prominent artists, with the first list of performers to be announced including Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Elton John, Diana Krall, k.d. lang, Rufus Wainwright and Stevie Wonder, as well as a performance by Bennett. Also making appearances will be Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, Bruce Willis and Homer Simpson.
Additional talent participants will be announced at a later date.
"Since we celebrated Tony's 80th birthday on NBC, it only seemed fitting that we should also stop and pay tribute to his 90th, a true milestone for the greatest living vocalist of popular music," said Robert Greenblatt, chairman, NBC Entertainment. "Happy birthday, Tony, your achievements are epic and your voice has been the soundtrack of four generations. We and the entire music business are in awe."
Bennett is a musical legend and 19-time Grammy Award winner whose songs cross all generational lines and encompass several genres and styles. His voluminous discography includes 57 studio albums, 11 live albums, 31 compilation albums and 81 singles, and he holds the industry record of being the oldest artist, at the age of 88, to place an album at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 list.
Born in Astoria, Queens, on Aug. 3, 1926, Bennett has achieved unprecedented success as a recording artist.
"I turn 90 tomorrow and feel like I'm just getting started and look forward to each day," Bennett said. "I have loved performing for the public and sharing the music I love with the world. It's a thrill to have NBC air a special in honor of my birthday and to have so many wonderful artists that I have worked with and admire participate."
In an illustrious career that spans more than 60 years, Bennett's best-selling albums are "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" (1962), "MTV Unplugged: Tony Bennett" (1994), "Duets: An American Classic" (2006) and "Duets II" (2011) — all of which sold more than 1 million copies. In the past 10 years alone, Bennett has sold 10 million records.
His previous NBC special, "Tony Bennett: An American Classic," which aired on the occasion of the singer's 80th birthday in 2006, won seven Emmy Awards, making it the most honored program of that year.