SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — S.F. Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced plans for a Citywide civic celebration to honor the acclaimed, award winning singer Tony Bennett whose signature song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” was recorded 50 years ago. The free public tribute with Tony Bennett will take place on Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, February 14, 2012, at noon in the City Hall Rotunda.

“Thanks to Tony Bennett, people have been experiencing the magic of San Francisco for 50 years no matter where they are in the world,” said Mayor Lee. “The song reminds us of why we love our City so much and when we are away, it calls us home. Mr. Bennett’s signature voice is celebrated around the world, and when he comes back to San Francisco, our hearts will surely be lifted.”

“Performing ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco’ in the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel was one of the most fortunate moments of my career, and from that moment on I have been commissioned to sing this beautiful song about one of America’s greatest cities throughout the world,” said Tony Bennett, who celebrated his 85th birthday last year and released a #1 Grammy nominated CD, Duets II. “It is a thrill and an honor 50 years later to be recognized by the citizens of San Francisco.”

Mayor Lee and others including Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, former Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., and San Francisco Chief of Protocol Charlotte Shultz will honor Tony Bennett at the ceremony. The Ruth Asawa School of the Arts Choir and Band, the San Francisco Boys and Girls Choruses, the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and Beach Blanket Babylon will perform their own versions of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and pay tribute to Tony Bennett’s musical legacy. The ceremony will conclude with a sing along of the famed San Francisco tune.

Every radio station that broadcasts in the City has been asked to play “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” at or near noon. KOIT 96.5FM will preempt the noon news and will play “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” at exactly noon because of their long-standing relationship with Tony Bennett and his music. At noon, the song will also be played over the public address system in Union Square and at Hallidie Plaza, courtesy of the Union Square Business Improvement District. San Franciscans are encouraged to stop what they are doing and sing along to “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” from office building, parks, sidewalks or where ever they are in the City.

SFMTA will outfit historic cable cars to celebrate Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” which will run all day. In the evening, City Hall will be illuminated in red for the celebration of Tony Bennett on Valentine’s Day.

Tony Bennett first sang “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” at the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill in December of 1961, and he returns there on the evening of Valentine’s Day to sing at a sold-out benefit dinner and concert to raise money for heart research at UCSF. He recorded the song in 1962.

San Francisco Travel has also launched an international “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” video contest for people around the world to submit their own video versions of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” to the San Francisco Travel YouTube page. The winner of the contest receives a deluxe vacation for two including airfare to San Francisco, stay at the Fairmont Hotel and dinner on Valentine’s Day for the Tony Bennett UCSF concert.
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About Tony Bennett
Entering his seventh decade as a recording artist with over 100 albums and 15 Grammy Awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Bennett has earned his legendary status many times over. He remains the Columbia recording artist with the greatest longevity at the label. His 2007 prime-time special, “Tony Bennett: An American Classic,” won seven Emmy Awards and was directed by Academy Award winner Rob Marshall. He has performed for 10 U.S. Presidents, from Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr. and Obama. He also worked with and marched alongside Martin Luther King in his 1965 civil rights march and was honored with the Martin Luther King’s Salute to Greatness Award. In addition to performing, he is a visual artist as well, with three of his original paintings featured in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian, including his portraits of Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington.

His humanitarian efforts are renowned and the United Nations honored him with their Humanitarian Award in 2007. He has published three books – his autobiography, “The Good Life,” and two books of his paintings, “Tony Bennett: What My Heart Has Seen,” and “Tony Bennett In the Studio: A Life of Art and Music.”

Bennett founded, in association with the Department of Education in New York City, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts – a public arts high school in his hometown of Astoria, Queens. With his wife Susan, he established Exploring the Arts, a charitable organization which supports arts education in NYC public high schools. Exploring the Arts supports 14 public high schools throughout New York City. For more information about Tony Bennett, go to:

Lyrics to Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”

The loveliness of Paris seems somehow sadly gay
The glory that was Rome is of another day
I’ve been terribly alone and forgotten in Manhattan
I’m going home to my city by the Bay

I left my heart in San Francisco
High on a hill, it calls to me
To be where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars
The morning fog may chill the air, I don’t care

My love waits there in San Francisco
Above the blue and windy sea
When I come home to you, San Francisco
Your golden sun will shine for me .