What Tony Bennett taught Lady Gaga

Gaga, John Mayer and Amy Winehouse helped Bennett to his first No. 1 album -- but the old vet makes the kids cool
September 29, 2011

There is something about singing with Tony Bennett, celebrating his 85th birthday this year, that seems to inspire every performer to bring his or her artistry to its highest, most sincere level.

Bennett, like so many singers of Italian-American descent -- from Russ Columbo to Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Dean Martin, Vic Damone and Bobby Darin -- possesses a certain kind of cool, a certain kind of smoothness and ease in his singing. He sings with a passion that nevertheless appears casual and easy.

Living With Music: A Playlist by Mark Rotella

The New York Times
October 06, 2010

We were in our early 30s, had been married for just two years and were thinking about starting a family when my wife learned she had breast cancer. The year was 1998.

Friends called, came by with food, offered to go for walks; our sisters and parents traveled from Florida, Massachusetts and upstate New York to visit and help during surgery and chemotherapy. We had all the support we could have wanted.

The Sound of Music... in Words

Music memoirs and bios are often all about the voice.
Publishers Weekly
September 06, 2010

For those of us who write about music, the songs or the singers or the musicians themselves are our inspiration. But as we try to put the sound we hear on the page—to use a different medium in which to communicate our experiences—it is often other writers who help us "transpose" the music to the written word.

Straight Out of Newark

The New York Times
October 2, 2005 Sunday

IT'S a long, long way from Newark to Broadway.
Just ask Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

Crooner: Overrated & Underrated

American Heritage
October 2005

Bing Crosby. The strong paternal voice of Bing Crosby has long soothed America’s soul. His career spanned almost six decades, and the crooners who followed him—Sinatra, Tormé, Bennett—have acknowledged him as one of their influences.

Melodies Echo in Little Italy

The New York Sun: On the Town
November 22, 2004

On the corner of Mulberry and Grand streets a doorway, flanked by American and Italian flags, opens into the past of Little Italy. Once inside, you're immediately confronted by a table of imported Italian ceramic plates and dishes; a handwritten sign implores you not to touch the pottery. Overstuffed cardboard boxes seem to erupt from the floor. On the walls are religious icons and kitschy bumper stickers next to cooking aprons with "Kiss Me, I'm Italian" emblazoned on them.

The King of Nostalgia, and Maybe of Belleville

The New York Times
September 5, 2004 Sunday

Mark Rotella is the author of Stolen Figs, and Other Adventures in Calabria (North Point) and is working on a book about Italian-American popular singers.

I FIRST heard Danny Stiles on the radio one rainy, spring night. At the urging of a friend who knew my crooner taste in music, I tuned into his Saturday show on WNYC around 9 p.m. Mr. Stiles, who lives in Short Hills, calls himself the "King of Nostalgia," the ''Vicar of Vintage," and on various radio stations—WNYC (820 AM), WNSW (1430 AM) and WPAT (930 AM)— you can hear him play pop standards and big band tunes performed by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Billie Holiday, Rudy Vallee and Fats Waller.