Lady Gaga Addresses Tony Bennett's Alzheimer's Struggle Ahead of 'One Last Time' Special
Tony Bennett's final performance on stage is captured in One Last Time: An Evening with Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, a CBS special airing Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET. Bennett, 95, announced he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in February, and his son and manager Danny Bennett confirmed that the legendary singer's performances with Gaga at Radio City Music Hall in August would be the last time he would perform on stage. During a stop on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, Gaga spoke about her love for Bennett and their close relationship.
"He is a remarkable human being, he served our country, he also marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he used to sneak Duke Ellington into the back of hotels to play jazz music all night long," the House of Gucci star told Colbert. "His commitment to civil rights, and to humanity, is something that he has taught me from a young age to take with me in all that I do. I love him very deeply."
Seeing Bennett in the early stages of Alzheimer's reminded her about a promise she made with him to make a whole album of Cole Porter songs after their 2014 album Cheek to Cheek reached the top of the charts. That album became Love for Sale, which was released on Sept. 30. They also performed Porter's "Anything Goes" from Cheek to Cheek at Radio City Music Hall, because it was easier for him to perform songs "he knew with me a little bit before his Alzheimer's set on," Gaga explained to Colbert. However, they still performed a few new songs together because his "short-term memory was still there," she said.
Gaga also appeared on BBC Radio 2's The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on Tuesday, where she said it was "heartbreaking to watch" Bennett go through Alzheimer's. "If you are with that person that you love, play some music from their childhood and I promise you that they will come to life in a way that is not expected, and not everyone you know, every case is different and everybody's different, but they're still there and my heart goes out to you," Gaga said, notes CNN. "This album was made while he had Alzheimer's and we sang it while he had Alzheimer's and he was still able to do it, I am just floored by him."
Bennett and Gaga shared the Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Cheek to Cheek. Love for Sale was also nominated for Album of the Year, Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical Grammys last week. Their recording of "I Get A Kick Out of You" was nominated for Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, and Best Music Video. After it airs on CBS, One Last Time: An Evening with Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga will be available to stream on Paramount+.