Tribute: How Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Defied the Norm

Grammy-winning jazz legend Tony Bennett passed away on Friday at the age of 96 after battling Alzheimer’s disease since 2016. Bennett’s remarkable career was not only defined by his musical achievements but also by his unlikely and enduring friendship with pop star Lady Gaga.

The pair first met in 2011 at a charity gala where Gaga’s performance of “Orange Colored Sky” caught Bennett’s attention. They quickly formed a close bond and decided to collaborate on a jazz album together. Their first joint effort was a cover of “The Lady Is a Tramp” for Bennett’s Duets II album.

In 2014, they released their first collaborative album, “Cheek to Cheek,” which featured compositions from The Great American Songbook. Gaga expressed how the project allowed her to escape the confines of pop music and freely explore her love for jazz. Their friendship grew stronger, with Bennett celebrating his 90th birthday in 2016 alongside Gaga, who called him a mentor and credited him with saving her life through their music.

In 2021, Bennett revealed his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but his connection with Gaga remained strong. She supported his decision to make his diagnosis public, recognizing it as another gift he could give to the world. The following year, they released their second collaborative album, “Love for Sale,” a tribute to Cole Porter.

Despite Bennett’s health struggles, they continued performing together, and the album garnered six Grammy nominations. Gaga spoke openly about the impact of Alzheimer’s on Bennett and encouraged others to connect with their loved ones through music, sharing the magic it brought to their performances.

At the 2022 Grammy Awards, “Love for Sale” won the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, and Gaga delivered heartfelt solo performances of the album’s title track and “Do I Love You” while videos of their friendship played in the background.

Bennett’s final tribute to Gaga came last week when he posted a video on Instagram of them singing their version of “Night and Day.” Their friendship was truly special, and Gaga’s presence seemed to bring comfort to Bennett, even in the face of Alzheimer’s.



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