It’s going to be a big Bay Area weekend for Anthony Dominick Benedetto, born Aug. 3, 1926 in Astoria.
Today at noon, Bennett and a large group of dignitaries will unveil an eight-foot bronze sculpture of the singer created by Bruce Wolfe. The art will permanently sit in front of the Fairmont Hotel, where Bennett first performed “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” in 1961. As part of this creative process, Bennett posed for Wolfe for three days at the artist’s Piedmont studio.
Tonight, Bennett, 90, as part of special pre-game ceremonies before the Giants take on the Mets, will sing his signature song, one of San Francisco’s two official anthems. And who knows, maybe the singer will even drop by to say hi to whomever is occupying the Tony Bennett Suite. A special ice cream flavor, Duet, has also created by local shop Humphry Slocombe and a gala fundraiser dinner and concert will be held tomorrow night at the Fairmont Hotel’s Venetian Room to benefit the singer’s local hospital fund.
There’s another central New York strand pulsing at the heart of “I Left My Heart.” Per a recent feature in SF Weekly, the pair of songwriters who wrote it, George Cory and Douglass Cross, did so after failing to find success in our fair city:
New York had been a bad fit for the pair — “It was a hard, ruthless city,” Cross once said — and they really did pine for the cable cars and the fog. The only reason they’d moved to New York in the first place — or Brooklyn, actually — was to be close to the hub of the music business, and it was there they wrote hundreds of songs, including the forgettable “The Little Sailboat” and “Carry Me Back to Old Manhattan,” and where they wrote a few others that were sung but never recorded by Billie Holiday and Pearl Bailey.
Artist Wolfe told KQED he used 1500 pounds of clay to create the mold for the sculpture and tried to capture that “feeling of the graciousness … The love of singing … that look Bennett has, when he comes and belts something out. He puts his heart into it.”