The Meaning Behind the Romantic Tony Bennett Classic “Because of You”

As news broke about the passing of the great Tony Bennett on July 21, 2023, the world knew they lost perhaps the last great crooner and one of the final links to the Las Vegas/Rat Pack era. He was 96 years old.

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But loss is a part of life. And the only way to get over a big loss like Bennett’s is to celebrate what we loved most. So, let’s take a cue from our friends in New Orleans and make this a musical goodbye. Let’s dive into a song that somehow means even more today. Let’s go behind the history and meaning of the tune, “Because of You,” by Bennett.

[RELATED: Tony Bennet Dies at 96]

The Light of Love

It’s a phrase we could utter to our first love or even to someone like Bennett, a singer who helped open our ears and soul to good music. The song, “Because of You,” which was the title track to Bennett’s 1952 debut LP, is all about the person who helped open you up to the best of the world.

Because of you there’s a song in my heart
Because of you my romance had its start
Because of you the sun will shine
The moon and stars will say you’re mine
Forever and never to part

Origins

The song, which was originally written by the legendary composer Arthur Hammerstein and Dudley Wilkinson in 1940, became a hit for Bennett about a decade later. Bennett’s version, which hit No. 1 and stayed atop the charts for 10 weeks, included contributions by bandleader Percy Faith

The song, though, was originally released by Larry Clinton and His Orchestra on March 28, 1941. Clinton’s version hit the charts for a single week. But it was Bennett who knocked the recording out of the park. As a result, it was a song that Bennett sang throughout the decades of his career.

His Final Show

Bennett performed “Because of You” at his final concert. The vocalist, who had a statue created in his honor, and who enjoyed fabulous collaborations with contemporary singers like Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse, performed his final shows at Radio City Music Hall on August 3 and 5 in 2021. (His final album, Love for Sale, which he recorded with Gaga, was released on September 30, 2021.

On the set list for that performance was his original No. 1 hit, “Because of You.”

I only live for your love and your kiss
It’s paradise to be near you like this
Because of you my life is now worth while
And I can smile
Because of you

Death

Bennett passed away on July 21, 2023, 13 days before what would have been his 97th birthday (August 3, 1926). He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for the past seven years.

In a statement on Instagram, his team shared that he kept singing until the end and that the final song he ever sang was his first hit, “Because of You.” And because of Bennett, many in the world are fans of excellent songwriting and performance.

He will be missed.

 Photo by Tony Russell/Redferns

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  1. certainly one of the real greats. Smarter than the average crooner too in teaming up with young stars to help introduce himself to new generatons (and probably stay young at heart as well)

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