Albums

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Crooners - Released April 1, 1955 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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International Pop - Released February 20, 2004 | Columbia - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Crooners - Released October 14, 1997 | Columbia - Legacy

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Recorded on June 9, 1962, one week before the release of the I Left My Heart in San Francisco album that would catapult Tony Bennett's career into the stratosphere, this concert album effectively sums up his accomplishments so far. Some of the hits -- "Stranger in Paradise," "Rags to Riches," "Because of You" -- are still on the set list (although drastically rearranged), but clearly he has found his true repertoire in reinventions of older material like "All the Things You Are" (the version here is exquisite) and good choices of new songs -- he champions the team of Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh, and introduces "San Francisco," which some in the audience already know. (Released as a single in advance of the San Francisco album, it was in the charts already.) And on the album's original four LP sides, Bennett managed to find time for such experiments as an up-tempo "Ol' Man River" featuring percussionist Candido, a throwback to his innovative Beat of My Heart album. More than his greatest-hits collections of the '50s and early '60s, it gives a broad sense of Bennett's work, and it does so in the format with which he's most comfortable -- live in concert. ~ William Ruhlmann
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International Pop - Released October 19, 1993 | Columbia

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Of course, the first thing that strikes you listening to the first Barbra Streisand album, recorded and released before the singer's 21st birthday, is that great voice. And it isn't just the sheer quality of the voice, its purity and its strength throughout its register, it's also the mastery of vocal effects that produce dramatic readings of the lyrics -- each song is like a one-act musical. Streisand opens with Julie London's signature torch song, "Cry Me a River," and she doesn't only surpass London, she sets off a thermonuclear explosion. From there, versatility and novelty are emphasized -- a breakneck version of "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?," a slow, emotion-drenched performance of "Happy Days Are Here Again." But Streisand's debut, inventively arranged and conducted by Peter Matz, is notable as much for the surprising omissions as the surprising selections. Arriving in 1963, ten years into the revival of sophisticated interwar theater songs led by Frank Sinatra and followed by all other adult pop singers, Streisand virtually ignores the modern masters like Gershwin and Berlin. When she does do Rodgers & Hart or Cole Porter, she picks obscure songs; her idea of a good 1930s number is Fats Waller and Andy Razaf's "Keepin' Out of Mischief Now." She is much more comfortable with recent theater material, choosing two songs from The Fantasticks (1960) and the title song from the stage play A Taste of Honey (1962). The Barbra Streisand Album is an essential recording in the field of pop vocals because it redefines that genre in contemporary terms. (The Barbra Streisand Album won Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, Best Female Vocal Performance, and Best Album Cover.) ~ William Ruhlmann
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Crooners - Released November 8, 1988 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
Along with his producer, Ernest Altschuler, and his arranger/pianist, Ralph Sharon, Tony Bennett had been searching for a repertoire and a musical approach beyond his long-gone pop work with Mitch Miller of the early '50s and his artistically pleasing but commercially dicey jazz work of the mid- to late '50s. It seemed to be a combination of Broadway songs and other contemporary material, carefully selected and arranged to show off Bennett's now-burnished vocals, which, as he approached the end of his thirties, were starting to be located in a more comfortable range closer to a baritone than a tenor. With this album, they found the key, not only by happening across a signature song in the title track, but also in the approach to songs like "Once Upon a Time," a gem from the flop musical All American, and Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh's "The Best Is Yet to Come," which Bennett helped make a standard. (Frank Sinatra didn't do it until two years later.) From here on until the world changed again toward the late '60s, Bennett would not have to feel that he had to compromise his art for popularity, making up-tempo singles in an attempt to meet the marketplace while longing to do ballads and swing material instead. I Left My Heart In San Francisco, a gold-selling Top Ten hit that stayed in the charts almost three years, demonstrated that he could have it all. (Tony Bennett won two 1962 Grammy Awards for the title song: Record of the Year and Best Solo Vocal Performance, Male.) ~ William Ruhlmann
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International Pop - Released August 23, 1988 | Columbia

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Released in 1982, MOMENTS is an outstanding example of Julio Iglesias's considerable charm. With their sweeping, synth-laden arrangements, these songs, particularly "Nathalie" and "Esa Mujer," provide the perfect format for Iglesias's expressive croon, which effortlessly conjures up romantic scenarios. Paired with 1100 BEL AIR PLACE, this album reveals the Spanish performer at the peak of both his vocal abilities and his popularity.