Music News from ABC

Singing until the end: Billy Joel, Elton John & more pay tribute to the late Tony Bennett

Mark Seliger

Tributes to legendary crooner Tony Bennett flooded social media following the news that he passed away Friday, July 21, at age 96.

A post on the singer’s official social media accounts revealed that music was part of Bennett’s life even at the end. “Tony left us today but he was still singing the other day at his piano and his last song was, ‘Because of You,’ his first #1 hit,” the post read. “Tony, because of you we have your songs in our heart forever.”

As for the tributes, Billy Joel, who duetted with Bennett on “New York State Of Mind” at Joel’s Last Play At Shea concerts in 2008, and appeared on Bennett’s collaborative albums Playin’ with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues and Duets: An American Classic, honored the singer on his website. He called Bennett “one of the most important interpreters of American popular song during the mid to late 20th century.” 

“He was a joy to work with. His energy and enthusiasm for the material he was performing was infectious,” he continued. “He was also one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever known.”

Former President Barack Obama also paid tribute to Bennett, calling him “an iconic songwriter and entertainer who charmed generations of fans.” He added, “He was also a good man—Michelle and I will always be honored that he performed at my inauguration.” 

And former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also praised Bennett, sharing that they “loved and admired” him. They said they “marveled at the breadth of his talent and depth of his commitment to creating a better world.” 

Elton John also shared his condolences, writing, “So sad to hear of Tony’s passing. Without doubt the classiest singer, man, and performer you will ever see. He’s irreplaceable. I loved and adored him.” 

Among the other tributes:

The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards shared a photo of him and Tony from 2015, writing, “May you Rest in Peace, Tony Bennett!”

David Letterman shared a clip of Bennett performing on his late night talk show, writing, “The great Tony Bennett sings ‘Everybody Has The Blues.’ RIP, Tony.”

Mariah Carey: “Rest in Peace Tony Bennett. It was such an honor to work with one of the world’s most beloved, respected and legendary singers of the past century. We will miss you.”

Steven Van Zandt: “RIP Tony Bennett. The best of the best. The last of the legends. A man whose heart was as big as his voice. The world’s foremost practitioner of the ‘Art Of Excellence.’ Deepest love and condolences to my friend Danny and the family.”

Ozzy Osbourne: “Very sad to hear about Tony Bennett’s passing. Rest in Peace.”

Harry Connick, Jr.: “rest in peace, tony… you changed the world with your voice… thank you for always being so kind to me… i love you and i’ll miss you very much…@itstonybennett.”

Michael Bublé: “Tony Bennett is one of the greatest vocalists, storytellers and interpreters of all time. To say he was an important part of who I became is an understatement. … it was the honor of a lifetime to learn from him. Having my hero take me under his wing was one of the greatest moments of my life and my career.”

Nile Rodgers: “My most heartfelt condolences go out to Tony Bennett’s family and friends. They’re also my emotional family and friends.”

Carole King: “RIP Tony Bennett. Such a big loss. Deepest sympathy to his family and the world.”

KISS Gene Simmons: “Today we lost an icon of icons. Kind, considerate and as Sinatra was quoted as saying, the best singer of them all. Rest In Peace, Tony Bennett.”

KISS Paul Stanley: “RIP Tony Bennett. His gift for melody and his depth of grasping a lyric was without compare. To the end the master.”

Richie Sambora: “We’ve just lost one of the greats of all time.. Tony Bennett.. I’m profoundly sad. God bless you brother and thank you.. for all you have shown us and bestowed upon us.”

Flea: “i love the immortal Tony Bennett, what a dude, what a class act, what a singer. so grateful to have shared a stage with him. a beautiful human being.”

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