Tony Bennett’s sort of public valentine
No one deserves a key to The City more than musical legend Tony Bennett. This Valentine’s Day, Bennett got his deserved key and presided over a ceremony honoring him and his beloved song, “I left My Heart In San Francisco.”
Serenaded by the San Francisco Symphony, attendees were united as one with loud cheers and a standing ovation to honor Bennett as he entered the rotunda. First Lady Anita Lee walked hand-in-hand between Mayor Ed Lee and Bennett himself down the majestic red carpeted stairs of City Hall.
While Lee declared today “Tony Bennett Day” at a City Hall podium in San Francisco, some were disappointed Bennett did not actually sing his signature tune. The expected citywide aspects of the sing-along sadly hit a flat note as well. Many reported not hearing the song on any city radio station or city public address system.
But underneath the City Hall rotunda, love fluttered in the air. Many were giddy and teary-eyed as they sang the song in unison for the grand finale.
Frank and Sharon Reilly met in San Francisco in 1969, and got married in 1970. Asked what this day meant to them, Mr. Reilly shared:
“This day is very special. We flew from Portland, Maine just to be here today. I saw him perform at Coit Tower and first heard him at the Basin Street East in New York City. We found our hearts in San Francisco.”
The Reillys have been married for 41 years and counting.
Prior to Mr. Bennett’s introduction, a video montage was aired on two screens that included well wishes from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, former Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., Chief of Protocol Charlotte Schultz and other San Francisco honoraries.
Various renditions of the song echoed through the halls as performed by a chorus of San Francisco children, Misa Malone of Beach Blanket Babylon and finally, by the Gay Men’s Chorus.