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The Art of Excellence: Tony Bennett’s Columbia Catalogue Reissued On CD and Digital Formats

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Tony Bennett - Yesterday I Heard the Rain“My ambition has always been to create a hit catalogue rather than hit records,” wrote Tony Bennett in 2011.  Of course, the modest Mr. Bennett has managed to do both.  He’s charted successful singles and continues to chart albums, but has also crafted a catalogue distinguished by its sustained excellence.

On the same day as the release of Bennett/Brubeck, the landmark 1962 concert performance of Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck, Sony’s Legacy Recordings also made good on a couple of other catalogue initiatives for the legendary entertainer.  His original Columbia Records albums – plus eight discs of singles and bonus material first released on 2011’s The Complete Collection box set – can now be purchased as digital downloads via iTunes and, while Amazon and Barnes and Noble will be offering all titles as CD-Rs as part of their “Made on Demand” programs.  (At the time of this writing, Amazon links are only available for some of the albums, but each is expected to be “released” soon.)

Alongside the digital/MOD initiative, ten selections from the recently-remastered Bennett catalogue were released on Tuesday to Barnes and Noble stores and as exclusive (pressed) CDs.  As these are currently listed on the retailer’s website for five bucks and change each, these discs are quite a bargain.  (In stores, the $6.99 retail price is currently discounted to just $4.99 for each title!)

Tony’s titles returning to print via Barnes and Noble as physical CDs include:

  1. Cloud 7 (1955)
  2. In Person! (with Count Basie and His Orchestra) (1959)
  3. Sings a String of Harold Arlen (1960)
  4. I Wanna Be Around (1963) (*)
  5. When Lights Are Low (1964)
  6. If I Ruled The World – Songs For The Jet Set (1965) (*)
  7. Yesterday I Heard the Rain (1968)
  8. The Art of Excellence (1986)
  9. Bennett/Berlin (1987)
  10. Bennett Sings Ellington – Hot & Cool (1999)

(*) contains bonus tracks

Hit the jump for a closer look at these titles plus a list of the complete Bennett catalogue as released to iTunes, and as digital downloads and/or MOD CDs!                              

Bennett Sings ArlenCloud 7, I Wanna Be Around, If I Ruled the World – Songs for the Jet Set, The Art of Excellence, Bennett/Berlin and Hot and Cool – Bennett Sings Ellington have all been previously available on CD in readily available editions, but the remaining four titles should prove treats for longtime Bennett fans who don’t already own The Complete CollectionIn Person!, a swinging collaboration with The Count Basie Orchestra, was previously available on audiophile editions from both Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab and Sony’s own Mastersound series.  Sings a String of Harold Arlen received a hard-to-find pressing from Columbia Special Products, and When Lights Are Low was only available in the U.S. as part of the 2007 box set The Classic CollectionYesterday I Heard the Rain has never been available on stand-alone CD before.

The new CD of I Wanna Be Around includes the bonus tracks “Indian Summer,” “If I Love Again (Alternate)” and “Someone to Love (Alternate).”  If I Ruled the World – Songs for the Jet Set makes room for the bonus track “Falling in Love with Love.”

The digital download/MOD CD(-R) program features a number of new-to-CD titles, including the long-shelved On the Glory Road, the heartfelt concept album Hometown, My Town and the notorious, pop-inspired Tony Sings the Great Hits of Today!. Two volumes of Rarities and six volumes of The Columbia Singles, first compiled for the Complete Collection box set, round out the offerings.  The full list, with original album release dates, is as follows:

  1. Rarities, Vol. 1                                                                                            
  2. Rarities, Vol. 2                                                                                                         
  3. The Columbia Singles, Vol. 1                                                                                 
  4. The Columbia Singles, Vol. 2                                                                                 
  5. The Columbia Singles, Vol. 3                                                                                 
  6. The Columbia Singles, Vol. 4                                                                                 
  7. The Columbia Singles, Vol. 5                                                                                  
  8. The Columbia Singles, Vol. 6                                                                                 
  9. Cloud 7 – 2/7/55
  10. Tony  – 1/14/57
  11. The Beat Of My Heart – 12/9/57
  12. Long Ago And Far Away  – 7/28/58
  13. In Person! (with Count Basie and His Orchestra) – 4/27/59
  14. Hometown, My Town – 7/13/59
  15. To My Wonderful One – 2/15/60
  16. Alone Together – 7/11/60
  17. Sings a String of Harold Arlen – 10/24/60
  18. Tony Sings For Two – 2/6/61
  19. My Heart Sings – 8/7/61
  20. Mr. Broadway – 3/19/62
  21. On The Glory Road – originally scheduled for 6.18.62
  22. I Left My Heart In San Francisco – 6/18/62
  23. Tony Bennett At Carnegie Hall (CD 1) – 7/3/62
  24. Tony Bennett At Carnegie Hall (CD 2) – 7/3/62
  25. I Wanna Be Around – 2/18/63
  26. This Is All I Ask – 7/22/63
  27. The Many Moods Of Tony – 1/20/64
  28. When Lights Are Low – 4/20/64
  29. Who Can I Turn To – 11/16/64
  30. If I Ruled The World – Songs For The Jet Set – 4/19/65
  31. The Movie Song Album – 1/31/66
  32. A Time For Love – 8/20/66
  33. Tony Makes It Happen – 3/20/67
  34. For Once In My Life – 12/6/67
  35. Yesterday I Heard The Rain – 7/22/68
  36. Snowfall: The Tony Bennett Christmas Album – 11/6/68
  37. I’ve Gotta Be Me – 7/30/69
  38. Tony Sings The Great Hits Of Today! – 1/7/70
  39. Something – 10/14/70
  40. Love Story – 2/10/71
  41. Get Happy – 9/22/71
  42. Summer Of ’42 – 1/12/72
  43. With Love – 5/24/72
  44. Sunrise, Sunset – 6/22/73
  45. The Art Of Excellence – 5/12/86
  46. Bennett/Berlin – 11/10/87
  47. Astoria: Portrait of the Artist – 5/31/90
  48. Perfectly Frank – 9/15/92
  49. Steppin’ Out – 10/5/93
  50. MTV Unplugged  – 7/27/94
  51. Here’s To The Ladies – 10/24/95
  52. On Holiday – 2/4/97
  53. The Playground – 9/29/98
  54. Bennett Sings Ellington: Hot & Cool – 9/28/99
  55. Our Favorite Things (with Charlotte Church, Placido Domingo and Vanessa Williams) – 10/23/01
  56. Playin’ With My Friends – 11/6/01
  57. A Wonderful World (with k.d. lang) – 11/5/02
  58. The Art Of Romance – 11/9/04
  59. Duets – An American Classic – 10/11/06
  60. A Swingin’ Christmas (with The Count Basie Orchestra) – 10/14/08
  61. Duets II – 09/20/11
  62. Viva Duets – 10/23/12

Of course, the newly-issued Bennett/Brubeck is available in both CD and DD formats.

Upon the release of his catalogue in the 2011 box set, Tony Bennett commented, ““I’m thrilled about it, because 50 years from now, or 100 years from now, it won’t sound dated.  And that’s really important to me. I’m anti-obsolescence.”  You can hear what he means by checking out any of the above, recently-reissued titles on CD, MOD CD-R or DD from Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings.

Written by Joe Marchese

May 31, 2013 at 10:12

3 Responses

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  1. Meh!


    May 31, 2013 at 20:09

  2. I must say, “Ho Hum”
    This came out almost two years ago as an incredible boxset, as most “Second Disc” fans know. It had probably the longest thread in the history of this blog.

    I still don’t believe in spending your cash on downloads which have absolutely zero value the second you make the purchase, and (more importantly) zero stability or longevity. Show me a hard drive that will last.

    Imagine the kid of the future, exploring music, who says to his friends, “I found some really cool downloads in my parents attic.” It ain’t gonna happen.


    June 1, 2013 at 16:11

  3. … and I’m still waiting for the custom-made, 1000 disc 78 RPM edition you promised me… I knew this was going to take forever when you mumbled something about recicling old vinyl…


    June 3, 2013 at 12:26

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