Special airs on Tuesday, Dec. 20
2-hour event hosted by Alec Baldwin to feature performances by Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Bob Dylan, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Elton John, Diana Krall, k.d. lang, Leslie Odom Jr., Kevin Spacey, Stevie Wonder, Rufus Wainwright - and Tony Bennett
NBC will commemorate the 90th birthday of one of America's most treasured musical icons, Tony Bennett, with the two-hour special "Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet to Come," on Tuesday, Dec. 20 (9 p.m. ET/PT).
Filmed at New York's Radio City Music Hall in September, the program is hosted by Alec Baldwin and includes performances from music's leading artists and special birthday tributes to Bennett. Performers include Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Bob Dylan, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Elton John, Diana Krall, k.d. lang, Leslie Odom Jr., Kevin Spacey, Stevie Wonder, Rufus Wainwright and Bennett. The telecast also features appearances by Garth Brooks, Steve Buscemi, Robert De Niro, Celine Dion, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, Wynton Marsalis, Paul McCartney, John McEnroe, Miss Piggy, Regis Philbin, Keith Richards, Don Rickles, Homer Simpson, Carrie Underwood, Bruce Willis, Oprah Winfrey and Trisha Yearwood, as well as retrospective segments featuring Bennett's personal reflections on his extraordinary life and career highlighted with archival footage and photos.
A companion CD to the NBC special, "Tony Bennett Celebrates 90," featuring musical performances from the broadcast, will be released on Dec. 16. The CD package includes an extended 28-page booklet featuring appreciation essays contributed by President Bill Clinton, Martin Scorsese, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Mandel, Bill Charlap and Everett Raymond Kinstler. Additionally, a deluxe three-CD package, which includes the companion CD plus two additional CDs featuring rare and never-before-released archival studio and live Bennett recordings, is available exclusively on Amazon.
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, he has achieved unprecedented success as a recording artist.
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.