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Tony Bennett Shares His Battle With Alzheimer's Disease & Confirms A New Project With Lady Gaga


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Tony Bennett opened up about his battle with Alzheimer’s on AARP.com. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia on people with age. It’s characterized by memory loss, and ends up leaving the person very dependent on caregivers.

Tony was first diagnosed with the disease back in 2016, and while it has certainly progressed, he hasn’t experienced the disorientation that can prompt patients to wonder from home as well as episodes of rage, terror, and depression.

On the same occasion, he also talked about an upcoming project with Lady Gaga, scheduled for this upcoming Spring. The new Jazz album will feature songs recorded from 2018 to 2020.

Here's an excerpt from the interview:

Before his illness, Tony was known as a meticulous and hard-driving perfectionist in the studio. The 2012 documentary The Zen of Bennett (shot three years before the onset of any symptoms) includes an electrifying moment when Tony, working to calm a nervous Amy Winehouse during their duet on “Body and Soul,” snaps at producer Phil Ramone, who has dared to intervene on the studio mic: “No — stay out of it! Let she and I work it out.” In another sequence, he snaps at his music arranger-piano player, Lee Musiker, for using too fast a tempo on “The Way You Look Tonight,” which they are rehearsing for a duet with Faith Hill. “It can't be a throwaway,” Tony says. “I wanna do a definitive version of this song!"

But Tony was a considerably more muted presence during the recording of the new album with Gaga. In raw documentary footage of the sessions, he speaks rarely, and when he does his words are halting; at times, he seems lost and bewildered. Gaga, clearly aware of his condition, keeps her utterances short and simple (as is recommended by experts in the disease when talking to Alzheimer's patients). “You sound so good, Tony,” she tells him at one point. “Thanks,” is his one-word response. She says that she thinks “all the time” about their 2015 tour. Tony looks at her wordlessly. “Wasn't that fun every night?” she prompts him. “Yeah,” he says, uncertainly. 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.

The new LP offers lush, gorgeous duets, with both singers in superb voice. But there is one duty, in connection with the record, that Tony is manifestly not able to perform: promotional interviews. (When I asked him, “Are you excited about the new record with Gaga?” he stared at me silently.) This has left those in charge of Tony's life and career — chiefly Danny and Susan — in a quandary. Eager for as many ears as possible to hear and enjoy what may very well be the last Tony Bennett record, they have jointly decided to break the silence around his condition, a decision they have, necessarily, had to make without Tony's input, since he is, Susan said, incapable of understanding the disease, let alone making momentous decisions about whether to publicly disclose it.

Continue reading on AARP.com

 

We would like to send all our love and support to Tony Bennett and his family.

 

 


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This is one of the worst news someone can get. Sending endless love to him and his familly. 

And while I'm very excited for the album, now that we know that, it'll be an emotionnal, hard listen. Can't even imagine how the recording was impacted.

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It was so sad to hear. He helped Gaga in such a bad time of her life. He's a great person and I love him and his music. Alzheimer is such a bad thing not only for the person who's sick but also for people around them. He is and will always be eternal.

At the same time I am so excited for the new album, it will be so emotional to listen to...

Edited by gia
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I’m so happy and sad at the same time. I’m devastated. 

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I think when love is pure you try to understand the reasons why…

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I dont know what to say , everytime something very sad like this happens , I dont know what to say.. its so sad for him and for his family and friends . It's an awful disease 🥺. Its devastating imagined he's gonna forget.. I'm not a jazz fan but  have a lot of respect for him, he's a kind and sweet man, he's a wonderful man ❤

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I’m so sad about this. I love Tony so much. He’s truly a beautiful soul who brings joy to everyone who listens to his music or sees him perform. I will always be grateful to him for the love and kindness he’s given to Gaga. I’m so sad he’s battling this disease. Alzheimer’s is so sad. My prayers are with Tony and his family. 

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This hit me hard. This is a hard condition, my grandma had it, it wrecks you and the also the people that surrounds you but I'm glad to see he's still fighting and creating art. And most importantly seeing it as a new challenge. I know that Gaga's been there for him, just like his family and that's what matters.

I don't really know how advanced are we on treatments and stuff, but I know he's getting the best that's out there. We still have to send him love and positivity, he's been there for the person we love the most so we should be there for him.

Let's celebrate him while he's still here, can't wait for their upcoming project.

 

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another shot before we kiss the otherside!

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The importance that Tony had/has in Gaga’s career is incredible. It opened doors, tore down barriers and made Gaga herself realize she’s so much more capable than one could thought just from seeing the early bubbly pop star. I didn’t know him before, but I fell in love with his joy and love for music. I still cry everytime I watch him perform “How do you keep the music playing”. I pray that he can stay healthy for as long as possible. 

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7 hours ago, Sassy McSass said:

The importance that Tony had/has in Gaga’s career is incredible. It opened doors, tore down barriers and made Gaga herself realize she’s so much more capable than one could thought just from seeing the early bubbly pop star. I didn’t know him before, but I fell in love with his joy and love for music. I still cry everytime I watch him perform “How do you keep the music playing”. I pray that he can stay healthy for as long as possible. 

This is so true :sad2: I hope for the same. I love him, he's a gentleman

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I was watching this interview to Tony back in 2011.

He talks so nicely about Gaga. She truly is a tiny sweet Italo-American girl 🤍 it's also very emotional what he says about Amy... I love these 2.40 minutes. He's such a wise, cool guy, so sad to think that he's sick now...

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Tony is truely a legend. He has fans in some many households in the world. I remember Gaga saying that Cheek to Cheek is her most important work to date in 2014. That move really shaped her career... I think they yet again have the Traditional Pop category in the bag at the Grammys...

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Sorry to hear about Tonny. I hope she has good care and is doing well. I'm not into jazz, but I'm eager to hear their new material. Gaga always sounds great. I anticipate many major awards following the release of this album.

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