Tony Bennett, a legend from the American swing era, guides the Radio 2 audience through his selection of the 40 defining songs from the Great American Songbook.
Tony has lived the songs, sung the songs and now, in his 60th year as a performer, he offers his personal thoughts, insights and insider's view on the greatest compositions ever written.
As Sir Michael Parkinson leads the way through the ten songs covered each week, we hear Tony's anecdotes about the people who created them, the pantheon of singers who have interpreted them and, of course, his views about what makes each one special.
The Great American Songbook is an informal phrase, originally coined by Tony himself, which describes the interrelated music of Broadway musical theatre, the Hollywood musical and Tin Pan Alley, in a period that begins in the 1920s.
Aside from the enduring popularity of this music in its original context, it also became the central repertoire for jazz musicians.
In the first episode, Tony illustrates the musical and lyrical sophistication in a line-up that includes Billie Holiday's Autumn In New York, Nat King Cole's It's Only A Paper Moon, and Judy Garland's Over The Rainbow:
"No-one will ever sound as good as Judy Garland as far as I am concerned.
Just listen to The Man That Got Away that she made for A Star Is Born and you'll believe it".
The American swing legend guides listeners through his selection of 40 favourite songs.