Great Performances Presents Tony Bennett: Duets II

With over 100 albums recorded and as the winner of fifteen Grammy Awards,  it’s no wonder legendary artist Tony Bennett has become a household name.  Bennett has performed for Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama.  Bennett was honored with the United Nations Humanitarian Award and with the Martin Luther King Salute to Greatness Award.

Bennett’s music has captured the hearts of America for seven decades.  His latest album, Duets II, took more than six months to record and was recorded in studios around the world.  When the CD was released in September of 2011, it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.  This was the first album from Bennett to reach number-one status.  It also rose to the top ten on music charts in the UK, Portugal, Poland, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, among other places.

A follow-up to his Grammy Award-winning album, Duets (released in 2006), Duets II brings together a whole new line-up of artists who collaborated with the crooner and brings new life to old favorites such as “The Lady is a Tramp”, “It Had To Be You” “Blue Velvet” and “Body and Soul.”

The list of seventeen collaborators include artists such as Lady Gaga, John Mayer, Amy Winehouse, Carrie Underwood, Josh Groban, Natalie Cole and more.  Duets II has been nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award for “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.”

In honor of Bennett and the beauty of his music, THIRTEEN for WNET will be premiering an episode of Great Performances to showcase the album in its entirety.  Oscar-winning cinematographer Dion Beebe (“Chicago”, “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Collateral”) filmed Duets II behind-the-scenes giving viewers a personal look into how Bennett creates the magic and art of each of his songs and performances.

PBS aired this special on Friday, January 27th at 9pm, but select PBS stations will be re-airing it.  Check here to view your local listings and see when Great Performances airs for you.  Whether you’re new to the world of Tony Bennett or you’re a long-time fan, this album is worth checking out.  You can preview the songs from Duets II and buy the album from  Check out the photos of Bennett and some of his musical partners below.  You can also check out the short preview of the program here and to view an interview with Tony Bennett take a look at YouTube.  To learn more about Great Performances and other programming, LIKE the PBS Facebook Fanpage and follow their Twitter.

In the studio with guest artist Andrea Bocelli

Mr. Bennett with the late Amy Winehouse

Pop sensation Lady Gaga joined Bennett in studio

Norah Jones joined Bennett on the track "Speak Low"

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