Tony Bennett has been rolling out clips from his “Duets II” set and today’s treat is the 85-year old warbling through “The Way You Look Tonight” with the long-absent Faith Hill. This video is much more stylized than the previous ones we’ve gotten from his sessions with Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse (and certainly more restrained than Bennett and Gaga). It replicates the recording session, but it’s on a larger, beautifully lit stage. Five things jumped out at us that made us love the feel and sound of the video.
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1) They both need lyric sheets. There’s something endearing about the fact that both Bennett and Hill are holding the music as opposed to looking at a teleprompter and that Bennett doesn’t remember the words to a song that he’s sung maybe 1000 times.
2) Faith Hill is dressed as if she’s stepped back in time to when the song first appeared in the ‘30s. I love the respect she shows for Bennett. I was in the studio five years ago when Bennett recorded “Rags to Riches” with Elton John for “Duets.” It was an early morning session and both John and Bennett were dressed to the nines in gorgeous suits. You do not go to see Mr. Bennett in sweat pants. We just wish Hill had on elbow-length gloves.
3) The guitar opening and arrangement. Simple, spare and lush all at the same time. Gorgeous. Not an extra note anywhere.
4)The song itself. “The Way You Look Tonight,” written by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, won the Oscar for best original song in 1936 after appearing in Fred Astaire’s “Swing Time.” It’s the very definition of romantic and elegant. Swoon.
5) The last few seconds of the video when they start to slow dance. So lovely. But really, how short is Tony Bennett?
(If you watch the video on CMT’s site, the next clip will be Hill performing “Middle of the Road” with the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde. Despite the fact that Hynde could eat Hill for lunch—which she’d never actually do since she’s a vegetarian—their duet comes off much better than I would have thought possible).
What do you think of the clip?