Happy Birthday, Tony Bennett!

I was reminded by ABC News this evening that today is Tony Bennett’s 90th birthday. Later on the Empire State Building will light up in his honor. Way to go!  He’s awesome. I just found the CDs so I can play them for my aunt. We’ve seen him in concert a couple of times. In many articles and interviews today, he said he still has a lot to learn. That’s the way to look at life.

And I always loved that he is a serious painter…and very good, too.

Here are my two top favorite Tony Bennett songs. But how can anyone really choose? They are all so good.

  1. Steppin’ Out with My Baby:

And, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”:

Singing, For the Joy of It

One of my assistants likes to sing hymns in twi.  She’s originally from Ghana, and that is one of the five languages she knows. Sometimes my aunt will hum along with the melody, and my assistant will translate for me. I asked her recently if she was in her church choir. Unfortunately she is not; her schedule doesn’t allow it. “I just love to sing,” she says. “I always have.”

When I was growing up, I liked singing hymns, and I remember my aunt singing all the time–with the radio and without, and just about anything. As my mom and all her siblings were growing up, they sang together as well–as entertainment in the evenings. This was in the days before television, and some people didn’t have radios.

Music and singing bring out a range of emotions; mostly, I think, music is here to make people happy,so that they can bring that joy and enthusiasm to others. My aunt always says that it would be a very dull world without it.

These conversations and memories made me think of  “How Can I Keep From Singing?” Here’s Pete Seeger‘s version:

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation.

I hear the real, though far off hymn
That hails the new creation

No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I’m clinging.
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

What though the tempest round me roars
I know the truth it liveth
What though the darkness round me close
Songs in the night it giveth

No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I’m clinging.
Since love is lord of Heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble, sick with fear,
And hear their death-knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near,
How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging.
When friends by shame are undefiled,
How can I keep from singing?

Copyright: Figs. D Music Inc. O.B.O. Sanga Music, Figs. D Music Inc.

I’m also remembering the saying, “He who sings, prays twice.” Here is its interesting history.

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