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Lady Gaga recorded a new album with Tony Bennett while he battled Alzheimer’s: ‘It’s another gift he can give to the world’

Patrick Kelleher February 1, 2021
Lady Gaga Tony Bennett album

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett have recorded a new album together – but the good news comes with the revelation that Bennett is living with Alzheimer's disease. (Frazer Harrison/Getty)

Lady Gaga, seemingly not content with saving 2020 by releasing Chromatica, is set to save 2021 by releasing an album with Tony Bennett this spring.

Gaga and Bennett famously collaborated on Cheek to Cheek, an album of jazz standards, in 2014 – and the pair have confirmed that they have a new album on the way.

Sadly, news of the upcoming collaboration comes with the news that Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016. He and Gaga recorded their new album between 2018 and 2020, it was revealed in a profile of Bennett published by AARP.

In the profile, Bennett’s wife revealed that he was already showing symptoms of dementia when he started recording the album with Gaga in 2018.

AARP was given access to documentary footage of Gaga and Bennett in the studio together recording the new record. They described Bennett as a “muted presence” who “speaks rarely” due to the onset of dementia.

The documentary footage shows Gaga keeping her sentences “short and simple” when speaking with Bennett, at one point telling him: “You sound so good, Tony,” before telling him that she thinks of their 2015 tour “all the time”.

However, Bennett, 94, simply looks at Gaga wordlessly, before Gaga adds: “Wasn’t that fun every night?”

In one particularly heartbreaking segment, Gaga watches Bennett singing, her smile “breaking into a quiver, her eyes brimming, before she puts her hands over her face and sobs”.

Lady Gaga proud Tony Bennett can give ‘another gift’ to the world

Bennett’s family decided to make his Alzheimer’s diagnosis public for the first time ahead of the album’s release, realising that he would be unable to complete promotional activities due to his symptoms.

Bennett’s son, Danny, said in the profile that he spoke to Lady Gaga before the article went out to “make sure she was cool, because she watches his back all the time”.

“She was like, ‘Absolutely, it’s just another gift that he can give to the world.'”

The news comes less than a year after Gaga released Chromatica, her sixth studio album, in May 2020.

The “Rain on Me” singer has had a big few years. Following on from the release of her country-tinged album Joanne in 2016, she won acclaim for her film debut in A Star is Born opposite Bradley Cooper.

She was subsequently nominated for an Academy Award for best actress in a leading role, and went on to win an Oscar for the original song “Shallow”.

More: lady gaga, Tony Bennett

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