Aidin Vaziri | This year, Tony Bennett turned 85 and scored his first No. 1 album ever. Not a bad start for the dapper New York singer, who has been at this for more than six decades. It helps that “Duets II,” which made him the oldest living artist to top the Billboard 200, features collaborations with Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey and Amy Winehouse. But that’s not all. It seems as if Bennett is intent on making Justin Bieber look like a slacker. There is also a new boxed set, “The Complete Collection,” that brings together all 70-plus of his studio albums; plus another compilation of his most popular holiday songs, “Tony Bennett: The Classic Christmas Album.”
Q: Barring the present moment, do you have a favorite Tony Bennett era?
A: Wow, that is a tough question. I loved the time I lived in London in the ’70s, as I got to work with the master Robert Farnon.
Q: I read a quote where you said, “I was the Justin Bieber of my time.” Does that mean he’s going to be around for 60 more years?
A: I hope all the young artists of today have the chance to have long careers. I think it is very tough to do that as the emphasis is on the next big thing and there is so much pressure on artists in today’s music business to sell millions of albums right away and fill stadiums the first time they go on tour.
Q: What do you think would happen if, just once, you left the stage without singing “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”?
A: I think as an entertainer your job is to please the audience, so I have been blessed with a beautiful signature song that has made me a citizen of the world. I love to perform it for everyone.