Tony Bennett’s lengthy career has made him an iconic crooner and now, he and his family are hoping his legendary status can help remove the stigma around Alzheimer’s. The 94-year-old icon has revealed his four-year battle with the disease in a new profile for AARP. Bennett’s friend and collaborator Lady Gaga has been recording an album with him during that time, which will release later this year.
It’s a long, thoughtful profile chronicling Bennett’s remarkable achievements and also just how quickly Alzheimer’s has advanced. The writer of the AARP piece watched raw footage of their recording sessions and was complimentary of Gaga’s relationship with Bennett. John Colapinto describes “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.” The entire article is profoundly moving.
Gaga and Bennett recorded their first album of duets Cheek to Cheek in 2014 to great acclaim and success — the album debuted at the top of the Billboard charts. A followup was immediately planned, but was delayed by Gaga’s status as a growing film star in A Star Is Born and Bennett’s diagnosis. There were apparently questions about whether or not the album would ever materialize as Bennett’s condition worsened, but it will be released in the spring.
The whole article can be read here. Below is a 2014 video of Gaga and Bennett singing Bing Crosby’s 1947 hit “But Beautiful.”