Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Elton John and Stevie Wonder lead an all-star lineup of performers for a TV special celebrating Tony Bennett’s 90th birthday.
Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Diana Krall, k.d. lang and Rufus Wainwright will also come to the party for NBC’s Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet to Come, which will air Dec. 20.
“I turn 90 tomorrow (Aug. 3) and feel like I’m just getting started and look forward to each day,” Bennett said in a statement. “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.”
Few recording artists can match Bennett's longevity. The legendary crooner has amassed 19 Grammy Awards over his 60-years-plus in the business. His prolific career has yielded a studio album almost each year on average (he's up to 57 studio sets and 11 live LPs), and Bennett has earned a reputation as a late bloomer. He set the record for the oldest-living artist to land a No. 1 album with 2011's Duets, at which time he was 85. He set a new mark in 2014 when, at age 88, his album Cheek to Cheek, a compilation of duets with Lady Gaga, went to No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
NBC last hosted a special on Bennett to mark his 80th birthday, back in 2006. Tony Bennett: An American Classic won seven Emmy Awards, more than any other show that year.
“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.”
Actors Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta and Bruce Willis will participate in the special, and others celebs will be announced in due course.