How can it already have been nearly seven years since Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga recorded Cheek To Cheek?
The album brought two incredible vocalists and musicians together from two totally different eras and debuted on Billboard’s Top 200 pop and rock charts.
With all of the ambience of a New York jazz club, listening to Cheek To Cheek was like getting a gift we never knew we needed.
Now unfortunately on a more somber note, in conversation with AARP, Tony Bennett and his family have broken the silence on a secret they’ve been keeping for four years.
That secret being Bennett’s diagnosis of Alzheimers’s disease.
According to AARP, the news was confirmed in 2016 when Bennett was diagnosed by a neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.
However back in 2014, Bennett’s wife Susan said he had already started to show clear signs of the disease. And it was apparent when he was recording with Lady Gaga at Electric Lady Studios in New York.
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As per AARP, footage of Gaga and Bennett’s sessions show Bennett seeming “lost and bewildered”, while Gaga, keeps her communication with Bennett “short and simple”. She reportedly seems more than aware of Bennett’s situation.
In the footage, Gaga says things to him like, “You sound so good, Tony.” To which he replies, “Thanks.”
The neurologist who diagnosed Bennett, Gayatri Devi, M.D. spoke to AARP on Bennett’s situation and says that Bennett has an “amazingly versatile brain.”
She also says that he has some “cognitive issues, but multiple other areas of his brain are still resilient and functioning well.”
While this news is extremely saddening, in true Tony Bennett form, he isn’t slowing down. He’s actually gearing up to release a follow-up album to Cheek To Cheek with Gaga, due this year.
Devi concludes, “He is doing so many things, at 94, that many people without dementia cannot do. He really is the symbol of hope for someone with a cognitive disorder.”