On Sunday episode of 60 minutesLady Gaga spoke to Anderson Cooper about recently performing with legendary crooner Tony Bennett, who is battling Alzheimer’s disease, and the emotional moment he said her name on stage for the first time. “in a long time”.
Lady Gaga took to the Bennett stage in August for two performances at Radio City Music Hall in honor of his 95th birthday and possibly the last time he performed in front of a crowd. Bennett and Lady Gaga released an album in 2014 titled Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live! Bennett’s rep confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter it was the singer’s second collaboration album with Lady Gaga, Love for salewill be his last studio album and he will not be continuing his touring schedule.
Bennett and his family revealed in February that he has diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.
During a sit-down with Cooper, Lady Gaga said that during the rehearsal leading up to the performance, Bennett did not call her by name. She explained, “For the first few weeks I met Tony since COVID, he called me ‘lover,’ but I’m not sure he knew who I was.”
The “Born This Way” singer explained that during rehearsals, she found new ways to connect with Bennett by asking simple questions, because the singer’s brain disease affects memory. She said she would ask him if he wanted to practice one of her songs and he would readily answer. “When that music comes on [snaps fingers], something happened to him,” she said. “He knows exactly what he’s doing and it’s important to me, really, to make sure I don’t get in the way of that.”
But on the day of the performance, Bennett surprised Lady Gaga in an emotional moment. 60 minutes showed a clip of Bennett introducing Lady Gaga’s name as she appeared on stage. “It was the first time Tony said my name in a long time,” she recalls. “I had to keep it together because we had a sold-out show and I had a job to do. But I’ll tell you when I walked out on that stage and he said, ‘That’s Lady Gaga,’ my friend saw me. It is very special. “
When it was time for Bennett to step off the stage, Lady Gaga walked up to him and said, “‘Mr. Bennett, it would be my honor if I could escort you off the stage.’ And he said, ‘OK.’ And I was. And simply the woman who could get him off the stage was enough for me.”
Lady Gaga told Cooper that Bennett’s final performance was not a “sad story”, but “emotional” instead. “It’s hard to watch someone change,” she said. “I think this is cool and the challenge is to see how it affects him in some way but see how it doesn’t affect his talent. I think he really went over something to give the world the gift of knowing things can change and you can still be great.”
Bennett’s wife, Susan, was also interviewed for this segment and confirmed that her husband still recognizes her and his children. “We are blessed in many ways. He’s so sweet,” she said. She also told Cooper that Bennett wasn’t aware of her diagnosis (“He didn’t know he had it,” she said) but Bennett still knows the words in his songs. As Cooper explains, he can sing a tune without any cue cards or music.
Dr Gayatri Devi, Bennett’s neuroscientist, said that in this segment, the iconic musician also remembers who he is. “Because he’s a performer… He knows he’s Tony Bennett,” Devi explains. “And he knows how to behave like Tony Bennett.”
Devi said Bennett can remember his profession and his songs because that information is in “an area of his brain that gives him real meaning and purpose in his life.” . She continued, “Music is located in different parts of the brain, including the parts of the brain that process emotions. And therefore, you are very easily shaken when you listen to it. “
She added, “It’s true of many great people, that they have an overwhelming passion guiding them and everything else is secondary. And for Tony, it’s always been music. And so it’s no surprise that his brain has pretty much built itself around his music. “
See the segment below.
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