[Allen with Tony Bennett, September 1985. Photo. c. Allen Ginsberg Estate]
Following yesterday's Michael C Hall and Dustin Hofmann "sightings", here's another unusual cross-cultural pairing - Allen Ginsberg and... vintage crooner, Tony Bennett!
Some years back, writing in Time magazine, Robert Sullivan made the unlikely connection:
"Allen Ginsberg, Allen Ginsberg," Bennett said, that voice of his full of sand, his narrow eyes all but closed. "Allen.. Very interesting cat, Allen. I like him very much. Met him long ago at a party in the Village for Franz Kline. We hit it off. I had been looking for this art book and Allen told me where to find it.." "Allen was into Blake. We talked about Blake. I was trying to put some Blake poems to music, and so was Allen.".."Tell Allen I said hi. Interesting cat, Allen."
Sullivan dutifully fulfills his "assignment":
"Tony Bennett says hi."
"Tony Bennett," said Ginsberg in that acute staccato of his. "Tony Bennett. Tony Bennett. I met him at a party for Franz Kline." Remarkable, I thought. "He was very much into Blake. Do you know Blake visited me in a vision in 1948? In Harlem? He did.".."Tony Bennett said he was putting Blake to music and I told him there was no need — I'd already done it myself."
I suppressed a smile as I mused that Ginsberg's chanting might not fill the void for Bennett's fans.."
For the rest of Sullivan's article, see here.
and here's a little Tony Bennett serenade - Fly Me To The Moon, The Very Thought of You, My Funny Valentine, The Way You Look Tonight, The Shadow of Your Smile, The Good Life, Young and Foolish (with Bill Evans), But Beautiful (with Bill Evans), and, of course, this.