Tony Bennett’s Gershwin Prize Ceremony to Air on PBS

Legendary singer saluted by the Library of Congress in a music special hosted by Bruce Willis

Tony Bennett in the early '60s image 0

Tony Bennett in the early '60s

On Friday, Jan. 12 at 9 pm ET, PBS will air the music special Tony Bennett: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Bennett, the first “interpretive singer” to be awarded the prestigious award that has been generally awarded to noted songwriters, was presented with the Gershwin Prize back in November in a ceremony that featured performances by Chris Botti, Michael Bublé, Gloria Estefan, Savion Glover, Josh Groban, Wé McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Lukas Nelson, Vanessa Williams and 2008 Gershwin Prize honoree Stevie Wonder, plus a special presentation by Wynton Marsalis. In that event held at DAR Constitution Hall, Bennett also performed with his working band of Tom Ranier (piano), Gray Sargent (guitar), Harold Jones (drums) and Marshall Wood (bass).  The house band was led by drummer and producer Gregg Field and included Shelly Berg on piano and Reggie Hamilton on bass. The ceremony and subsequent TV special was hosted by actor and sometime musician Bruce Willis.

Previous recipients of the Gershwin Prize include: Smokey Robinson (2016); Willie Nelson (2015); Billy Joel (2014); Carole King (2012); Burt Bacharach (2011); Hal David (2010); Paul McCartney (2009); Stevie Wonder (2008); and Paul Simon (2007).

Here is a list of the performances and segments in the show:

  1. Vanessa Williams: “The Best Is Yet To Come”
  2. Josh Groban & Chris Botti: “Old Devil Moon”
  3. Michael Bublé: “The Very Thought of You”
  4. Gloria Estefan: “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”
  5. Brian Stokes Mitchell: “Just In Time”
  6. Wé McDonald: “For Once in My Life”
  7. Lukas Nelson: “Cold, Cold Heart”
  8. Chris Botti: “You Don’t Know What Love Is”
  9. Brian Stokes Mitchell: “The Good Life”
  10. Josh Groban: “Smile”

Special Presentation by Wynton Marsalis

  1. Vanessa Williams & Savion Glover: “Steppin’ Out With My Baby”
  2. Stevie Wonder: “If I Ruled the World”
  3. Gloria Estefan & Stevie Wonder: “What A Wonderful World”

The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song Award Presentation: Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, U. S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, U.S. Representative Kevin Yoder and U.S. House of Representatives Vice Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress Gregg Harper.

Tony Bennett Acceptance Speech

  1. Tony Bennett: “They All Laughed”
  2. Tony Bennett: “Our Love Is Here To Stay”
  3. Tony Bennett & All-Cast Finale: “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” 

Read an excerpt from David Evanier’s biography of Tony Bennett.