On July 21, 2023, the world lost a music icon. American singer Tony Bennett passed away at the age of 96, after a seven-year battle with Alzheimer's disease. While there is a lot to recall about his long, prolific career, one of the bright spots in most recent years was his friendship with pop star Lady Gaga. Not only were the two close in their personal lives, but they also shared a sparkling creative connection that led to many collaborations.
The pair first met in 2011. Gaga performed a rendition of a Nat King Cole song at a fundraiser for the Robin Hood Foundation, which left Bennett thoroughly impressed. Afterward, he asked Gaga if she would be interested in recording an album together. This led to their first single, “The Lady is a Tramp,” in 2011, soon followed by their 2014 album Cheek to Cheek. “Watching Tony at 88 like he’s just starting out…I said to myself, I can do this forever,” Gaga said in 2014. “Because he did it, and I really love him, and if I do it just like Tony, I'm going to do it right.”
Their first album took place a year after Gaga's album Artpop was met with critical reviews, and she was still recovering from hip surgery. Gaga said that Bennett helped her find love in her craft again, and praised her voice and music. “Six months ago I didn’t even want to sing anymore,” she said at the time. “I tell Tony every day that he saved my life.”
In 2021, Gaga and Bennett's second collaborative album Love for Sale was released. It was the same year that Bennett's Alzheimer's diagnosis was also shared with the public. However, for a while, the experienced singer did not let that slow him down and he continued to perform wherever possible. And despite his circumstances, he always came alive on stage. “It’s not a sad story,” Gaga said about Bennett's Alzheimer's disease. “I think he really pushed through something to give the world the gift of knowing that things can change and you can still be magnificent.”
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett were not only musical partners but also great friends.
They worked together on a variety of projects.
Gaga credited Bennett with re-inspiring her love for her craft during hard times.
After Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, Gaga was even more impressed with his musical talents.
“I think he really pushed through something to give the world the gift of knowing that things can change and you can still be magnificent.”