Tony Bennett must have left his heart in Atlanta, considering he returned nearly every year to perform.

“Rosemary Clooney and I were the first ‘American Idols,’” he noted in 2013 while performing a 75-minute set at the tender young age of 86 (two months shy of turning 87).

Bennett, who enjoyed a decades-long music career, died Friday, just two weeks shy of his 97th birthday.

The crooner died in his hometown of New York, publicist Sylvia Weiner told the Associated Press. There was no specific cause, but Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.

In 1982, Bennett performed at the MLK Gala at the Atlanta Civic Center. A special moment backstage — with Stevie Wonder — was shared in a Twitter post Friday.

In 2002, he was honored by the King Center for his lifelong fight against racism.

At age 88, the “always-old-school-dapper” Bennett, as the AJC described him, returned with Lady Gaga, who was 29 at the time. It seemed an odd pairing at first, but the pair sold out Chastain Park Amphiteatre on a steamy, sweaty July evening.

In 2017, then-90-year-old Bennett sold out Atlanta Symphony Hall, where the recorded voice of Frank Sinatra told fans they were about to witness “the greatest singer in the world.”

The timeless singer again sold out the venue in 2020 — the third time since 2017 — this time on Valentine’s Day.

“Throughout the show,” the AJC wrote, “Bennett smashed several big notes, most impressively to cap ‘The Way You Look Tonight,’ which prompted a houselights-up ovation and a genuine reaction from Bennett.”

“Thanks for being so good to us tonight,” the 93-year-old told his fans that night.

It was his last trip to the Peach State.

Beloved crooner Tony Bennett left his heart at Johnny’s Hideaway. 
Courtesy of Johnny’s Hideaway

Credit: Handout

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Credit: Handout

Atlantans and others shared their memories of the standards-setting singer on social media Friday morning.

I had the pleasure of being around Tony Bennett twice in my career, both times at Christmas. We performed on Christmas...

Posted by Reba McEntire on Friday, July 21, 2023