Singer TONY MARTIN Still Amazes at 96

begin_the_beguine_tony_martin It’s sure good to see someone like Tony Martin still  singing – and singing well into his late 90s.  After all, probably the closest in age still on the circuit is Tony Bennett, and he’s a baby still in his mid-80s. Martin was raised right in my hometown of Oakland, and attended St Mary’s  College despite being Jewish. After  taking on a non-ethnic -sounding name, Tony Martin, Hollywood beckoned him. Martin became one of the top singers and actors of his day.  During the night we saw him at the Razz Room in San Francisco last year, Martin dropped many of those names of people he worked with  during the 40s and 50s and beyond, like Sinatra and Crosby, though his long-time conductor had to frequently help with the actual names.  But that’s ok, Martin sang well – and sang his familiar songs like ‘Begin the Beguine and ‘There’s No Tomorrow (same tune as Elvis Presley’s ‘It’s Now or Never,’ but recorded long before Presley, as he noted.  After Martin’s long-time movie-star wife Cyd Charisse (above right, with Martin in younger days) passed a few years ago, Martin called up his agent and said he needed to get busy and renewed his career, to the fortune of old and new fans, like us. If you want to hear the last of a breed of  powerful balladeers from the big band era, try to see Martin if you can, or at least listen to his music , like this one: