Along with the news that legendary singer Tony Bennett is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, the singer’s team revealed that he and Lady Gaga recorded a follow-up to their chart-topping 2014 album, “Cheek to Cheek,” even as Bennett battled the disease.
The news, confirmed by a rep for Bennett, was revealed in the AARP magazine article announcing Bennett’s illness, which he and his team manager to keep under wraps since he was diagnosed in 2016. The album is slated for release in the Spring.
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Bennett was already showing clear signs of the disease, the article noted, when he and Gaga started recording the album at New York’s Electric Lady Studios in 2018. The sessions continued through early last year, with Gaga acting as an encouraging partner. The writer of the profile described documentary footage of recording sessions from the album, and noted that Bennett appeared “considerably more muted” in the studio.
“‘You sound so good, Tony,’ she tells him at one point. ‘Thanks,’ is his one-word response,” the article reads. “The pain and sadness in Gaga’s face is clear at such moments — but never more so than in an extraordinarily moving sequence in which Tony (a man she calls ‘an incredible mentor, and friend, and father figure’) sings a solo passage of a love song. Gaga looks on, from behind her mic, her smile breaking into a quiver, her eyes brimming, before she puts her hands over her face and sobs.”
“Cheek to Cheek” easily topped the Billboard 200 upon its release in November of 2014, becoming Bennett’s second No. 1 album in three years. Three years earlier, Bennett, then 85, not only scored his first No. 1 with his “Duets II” album but also became the oldest living artist to have an album topping the chart. The singer has become a symbol of how an artist can continue to enjoy a successful career later in life: Among his 18 Grammy Awards, he won Album of the Year in 1995 for his “MTV Unplugged.”
Bennett’s manager and eldest son, Danny Bennett, said he spoke with Gaga about announcing the new album as part of the AARP article.
“I wanted to check with her to make sure she was cool,” Danny said, “because she watches his back all the time. She was like, ‘Absolutely, it’s just another gift that he can give to the world.’”
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