Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Tony Bennett...receives key to City of San Francisco in gala celebration! 50th Anniversary of "I Left my Heart in San Francisco"!
The rotunda was all awash in festive red - from the plush carpet on the stairwell - to the pretty stand-up upholstered-seats tastefully arranged in the foyer to accommodate the gracious guests that streamed in from all corners of the picturesque city by the Bay.
Ah, perfect for the occasion.
And, today - in particular - because the City of Francisco was celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the recording of Tony Bennett's signature song - "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" - which the legendary singer first performed at the Venetian Room on the top of Nob Hill five decades ago.
While the local paparazzi excitedly jockeyed for position, and pretty hosts handed out complimentary chocolate treats, fans excitedly chatted each other up.
In moments, the man-of-the-hour would be in their presence, and they were ecstatic at the thought of being able to rub shoulders with the great one.
In fact, once he was spotted approaching the podium with his entourage in tow (which included the Mayor and his lovely wife) there was a loud outcry from fans who applauded wildly as they called out his name to get his attention.
"Sing for us, Mr. Bennett," one woman wailed, as members of the audience nodded in approval.
Unfortunately, their would be no crooning today by the Grammy award-winner (who just racked up two more of the coveted trophies over the weekend for his "Duets 2" album), but, the folks in attendance didn't seem to mind.
The house was treated to a catchy opening set by a talented Jazz band, which was followed up later in the proceedings by a beautiful rendition of - "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" - by the San Francisco Boys' and Girls' Choirs.
In spite of the fact Mr. Bennett had a hectic schedule ahead (he is performing tonight at a chi chi fundraiser for the Heart Foundation) he unselfishly took a trek down to city Hall at noon to meet-and-greet well-wishers - which included the tony elite, a handful of beaming City Officials pressing palms, and regular down-to-earth folks - all fans!
When Mr. Bennett took to the stage, after receiving the prestigious key to the city from Mayor Lee, he noted that it was one of his colleagues who recommended that he perform the song on his first visit to San Francisco so many moons ago.
"I thought it might become popular locally. But, I had no idea it would become such a recognized tune around the world," he humbly fessed up to the rapt audience.
And, the city of San Francisco has never forgotten that romantic contribution to the city, no Sir!
For good reason, today - "Valentine's Day" - has been named "Tony Bennett Day" in San Francisco for evermore.
Congrats, Mr. Bennett!