Tony Bennett‘s name has been popping up in the news lately because of his new duet album with Lady Gaga, Cheek to Cheek, which finds the musicians transcending their 60-year-age gap through the Great American Songbook.
Building on that, a comprehensive new book, LIFE Unseen: Tony Bennett was released Nov. 4, from the editors of LIFE. The book contains a foreword by Martin Scorsese and contains rare and never-before-seen photographs. (The book is the second in the series; the first covered Johnny Cash and was released in August 2013.)
But even with all that, we don’t really need a reason to run a bunch of pictures of the man born Anthony Dominick Benedetto, who at 88 remains one of the coolest human beings on the planet. Enjoy.
Bennett told The Huffington Post that the best advice he ever got was from Frank Sinatra, who told him it was okay to be nervous, because it showed that he cared, and if he cared, the audience would also care and root for him.
Bennett’s 1957 album The Beat of My Heart featured contributions from jazz musicians like Herbie Mann, Nat Adderley as well as Latin jazz stars like Louis “Sabu” Martinez and Céndido Camero.
Bennett has sold over 50 million records over the course of his 60-year career.
Bennett’s recording of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” in 1962 spent close to a year on various charts, won two Grammys and became Bennett’s signature song.
Bennett worked with a number of jazz musicians throughout his career, including Art Blakey, Count Basie (he was the first male pop vocalist to sing with Basie’s band) and guitarist Kenny Burrell.
Bennett participated in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches and continued to honor his commitment to civil rights through the years by refusing to perform in South Africa during apartheid.
Bennett sang at the Metropolitan Opera on his 85th birthday, which he called “the riskiest thing I’ve ever done.”