‘I Found a Friend’: Remembering Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s Remarkable Partnership

In the Nineties, Bennett started his career, but he didn’t try to appeal to younger artists or audiences. The second half of Bennett’s career is just as fascinating as his first, with his own astounding success and rise. Tony Bennett, who died today at the age of 96, was a classic crooner who never fundamentally changed, but adapted to the ever-changing winds of popular music over multiple decades. He was a singular figure in the music industry.

Gaga’s musical relationship with artists like Diana Krall and lang defined his final decade of career, as he released collaborative albums with other artists such as Bennett, Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse, John Elton Legend, Paul McCartney, and Barbra Streisand. His two Duets albums, released in 2011 and 2006, featured fellow legends Streisand, McCartney, Elton, and Costello, while his acclaimed MTV Unplugged album came out in 1994.

Gaga and Bennett worked together for the first time on Duets II in 2011, releasing two albums over the next decade. They closed out Bennett’s career with a grand denouement at Music City Radio’s Below Hall, celebrating their personal and creative relationship as well as their music. They also toured the world together.

May 9, 2011: “Madam, you’re a jazz vocalist”

” ‘Madam, you are a jazz vocalist,’ he expressed, as I arrived to encounter Mr. Bennett. And I was performing my craft. I had four prominent velvet beauty marks on my face, crimson lipstick, ebony in my hair and fair-haired in my hair. Additionally, I appeared eccentric. Therefore, I was genuinely apprehensive to meet Tony Bennett — I sang a few jazz melodies that evening,” Gaga reminisced at their ultimate performance. Gaga had delivered an interpretation of Nat King Cole’s “Orange Colored Sky” at the 2011 Robin Hood Foundation gala in New York City, where both were entertaining.

Summer 2011: Second Installment of Duets

The great journalist Gay Talese documented the entire proceedings of the recording session of Present II Duets by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, which took place in September at Avatar Studios in New York City. The article, published in The New Yorker, opened with a description of the first song recorded, “The Lady is a Tramp,” a tune from the 1937 musical Babes in Arms by Rodgers and Hart.

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Dec. 12, 2011: “Why am I unclothed?”

Before the release of their duet album, a couple of weeks ago, Bennett made a sketch of Gaga posing nude. Gaga explained that the sketch was made by Bennett during a special Thanksgiving photo shoot for Vanity Fair, which she joked about. Earlier this year, she jokingly asked, “Why am I naked?” Bennett thought it was a good idea and I felt a bit shy, but I got into position, dropped my robe, and said, “Here we are, Tony.” Tony replied, “Well, let’s get started,” and I walked in.

January 11, 2012: As Great as Ella and America’s Picasso

She is extremely talented. If they were to leave her alone and let her do what she has, she could become America’s Picasso. I know she’s very strong, even though it sounds like a tough journey. Her philosophies break social and incorrect myths, and she dances as well as Ella Fitzgerald. Anyone who wants to come up to her level, or even as good as Ella Fitzgerald, has to be knowledgeable and prepared. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Lady Gaga spoke about working with Bennett on “The Lady Is a Tramp.”

September 28, 2012: The partnership persists

Collaboratively, Bennett and Gaga had intentions of producing a musical compilation. “I desire to create a jazz album alongside you,” she expressed. Bennett shared the news with Rolling Stone that they had plans to record an album while promoting his diverse Viva Duets project. “We shall embark on a jazz album accompanied by Marion Evans, a prominent swing ensemble, and I am eagerly anticipating it since many are unaware that she possesses extraordinary talent as a jazz vocalist,” Bennett revealed. She contacted him from New Zealand and conveyed, “Out of all possibilities, my aspiration is to create a jazz album alongside you.”

Spring – Summer 2013: Sessions for Cheek to Cheek

I am not a genuine jazz vocalist. He is unable to hear it. If I am okay, he can hear that. I just wanted to hear him because I have studied authentic jazz vocals. I was so nervous to go into the studio with him, Gaga later recalled her nerves at the time. Finally, the recording of Cheek to Cheek got underway during the summer and spring of 2013.

June 18, 2014: Tattoo Yourself

One of Lady Gaga’s most recent tattoos? A depiction of Miles Davis’ trumpet, sketched by Bennett himself.

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July 29, 2014: “Whatever Works”

The announcement of the album “Cheek to Cheek” was officially shared by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, as they took the stage at the Rose Theater in Lincoln Center, New York, and performed a classic version of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes.” This performance was later recorded and released.

“She sings songs when you go out to find them until you wait. They’re going to live forever and there are so many magnificent songs in the rest of the world that no other country has ever given. All the greatest composers, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and George Gershwin, have given us great songs. It’s saying that all the great songs of these composers, Gaga and Bennett teased the album with Rolling Stone, have been given to the world.”

Gaga added: “He wanted me to sing a lot of different songs. He really likes when I sing [Billy Strayhorn’s] ‘Lush Life.'”.

August 26, 2014: Behind the scenes

Ahead of the release of their album “Cheek to Cheek,” Bennett and Gaga shared a ton of behind-the-scenes footage from the studio sessions, which featured a video for their song “Love But Anything You Give Can’t I.”

September 19, 2014: Top Ranked

Cheek to Cheek arrived and debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, selling 131,000 copies in its first week.

December 2014: An excellent year

In 2015, Las Vegas had a special New Year’s Eve performance with a special performance in 2015. Every time we say goodbye, Lady Gaga also delivered a solo rendition of “Porter’s Cole.” They ended their big year together with a string of memorable performances, including a mini set that included “Cheek to Cheek.” The Tonight Show stopped by early in the month to cap off their year with a swingin’ rendition of “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head.”

February 8, 2015: Grammy success

It has been an incredible experience all the way around. Not only do we make music and spend a lot of time together, but I have also found a friend in Tony. It’s not just an artistic exchange, but a true collaboration. Gaga said in an interview with Rolling Stone backstage at the Grammy Awards 57th, “I was craving something truly authentic, a true artistic exchange, and I think I found that with Bennett.” They were also honored at the 57th Grammy Awards, winning Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for their rendition of the track titled “Cheek to Cheek.”

April to August 2015: Traveling

Europe and America North across dates included that tour extensive an embarking, road the on Cheek to Cheek took Bennett and Gaga.

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December 16, 2016: A tribute featuring top performers

To commemorate Bennett’s 90th birthday, Lady Gaga joined Billy Joel, Elton John, Diana Krall, k.D. Lang, Stevie Wonder, and numerous others for a tribute concert. Gaga appropriately sang the initial track that she and Bennett collaborated on, “The Lady Is a Tramp,” and also delivered a rendition of Édith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose.”

February 1, 2021: Emotional reunion

The news that Bennett was battling Alzheimer’s disease was accompanied by the arrival of a new album in 2021, where the pair recorded and reunited. While launching her acting career with the film “A Star Is Born” in 2020 and releasing “Chromatica” in 2016, Gaga also collaborated with Krall on a collaborative album titled “Stay Here Is Love” and continued to tour. After the whirlwind era of “Cheek to Cheek” with Bennett, Gaga and Bennett went their separate ways.

He said, “It’s absolutely like she was another gift that he can give to the world.” I wanted to check with her to make sure she was cool because she always watches his back all the time. Danny Bennett, the longtime manager and son of Bennett, recalled speaking about Gaga and Bennett going public with the crooner’s diagnosis. According to AARP Magazine, the follow-up to Cheek to Cheek, recorded by Gaga and Bennett, was progressing as Bennett’s Alzheimer’s between 2018 and 2020.

August 3rd & 5th, 2021: A celebration of birth and a significant farewell

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett took the stage at City Radio for a special concert called “One Last Time: An Evening with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.” The concerts were later aired and filmed. These shows were meant to celebrate Bennett’s 95th birthday and also proved to be the last live performances of the crooner. Unfortunately, a few days after the concerts, the remaining shows for the year had to be canceled due to the singer’s family issues. It was a special reunion concert for Gaga and Bennett at the Music City Radio Hall.

September 30, 2021: Love Available for Purchase

The final album released by Bennett and Gaga is the Love album sale. Although the album primarily consists of duets featuring songs exclusively from Porter Cole’s Songbook, it also includes a few solo tunes from Bennett and Gaga.

December 17, 2021: Unplugged (revisited)

In December, the special ultimately broadcasted, showcasing renditions of tunes such as “Night and Day” and I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” Roughly a month prior to their Radio City Music Hall concerts, Gaga and Bennett discreetly recorded a personal collection for MTV’s enduring Unplugged series.

April 3, 2022: An unforgettable Grammy moment

Gaga and Bennett earned five Grammy nominations, including nods for Record of the Year and Album of the Year, for their outstanding rendition of “Love for Sale,” which won the Best Non-Classical Engineered Album and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album awards.

In a pre-recorded video, Bennett made a special appearance to introduce Gaga’s performance, where she took the stage alone to pay tribute to him by singing “Love for Sale” and “Do I Love You.” As Gaga delivered a heartfelt rendition of “Do I Love You,” footage of the duo performing and recording together played in the background.

“I adore you, Tony, we long for you,” Gaga stated directly into the camera as the crowd cheered.

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