On Oct. 1, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga released their collaborative album, “Love for Sale,” the 61st studio album of Bennett’s career, and Lady Gaga’s seventh. The album features their interpretations of various jazz standards by American composer Cole Porter, to whom the album is a tribute.
While somewhat of an odd pairing, Lady Gaga and Bennett have previously collaborated twice: on Bennett’s 2011 album “Duets II,” the pair sang “The Lady Is a Tramp,” and in 2014 they released their collaborative album “Cheek to Cheek,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Album charts and earned a Grammy for “Best Traditional Pop Vocal.”
Lady Gaga has said that she finds inspiration in performing alongside the senior vocalist. “I see a young boy every time I sing with him, and it just makes the experience of singing so freeing: to have it be about two souls singing together,” Gaga said. “And then at the same time, I also take in all his wisdom. The wisdom of all his years.”
This album marks numerous milestones for Bennett, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016. On the day of its release, Bennett set a Guinness World Record for being the oldest person to release an album of new material — on its release date, the singer was 95 years and 60 days old. The album is also said to be Bennett’s last.
This release comes after the pair’s concert collaboration this past August at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. The two shared the stage for two nights for “One Last Time: An Evening with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga,” concerts that were promoted as Bennett’s last New York performances of his career. On opening night, despite any minor missteps, he sang more than a dozen songs and received at least 20 standing ovations.
In an interview with “60 Minutes,” Bennett’s wife, Susan Benedetto expressed how Bennett’s love for performing ultimately offsets any challenges he faces in remembering the words to his songs. “Once he saw the audience, and, you know, and he raises his hands, I knew we were alright because he became himself,” Bendetto said. “He just turned on. You know, it was like a light switch.”.
Lady Gaga agreed, saying that performing with Bennett was an honor. “What’s been beautiful about this, and what’s been challenging, is to see how it affects him in some ways, but to see how it doesn’t affect his talent,” Gaga said. “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.”
The interview with “60 Minutes” also contained a short clip in which interviewer Anderson Cooper expressed to Bennett that he had been in the audience for one of the New York shows. Cooper complimented him on how he performed, and Bennett thanked him. In a voiceover, it was made clear that Bennett “had no memory of playing Radio City at all.” This clip, now a viral sound on TikTok, is being used to express moments TikTok users regret and either don’t remember, or don’t want to remember.
Because of this, the audio has faced backlash, particularly from families who have loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s. TikTok user @molliesrecords shared a post onto on her account saying, “Alzheimer’s is not something to joke about. I understand that people might not be aware of it, but I think it’d be really important if we stopped the trend before it takes off.”
Beyond that clip, another moment went viral from the interview: the second in which Bennett recognized and said Lady Gaga’s name for the first time in a long time. “I had to keep it together,” Lady Gaga said. “But I’ll tell you, when I walked out on that stage, and he said, ‘It’s Lady Gaga,’ my friend saw me. And it was very special.”
“He’s not the old Tony anymore,” Benedetto said to AARP Magazine in 2016. “But when he sings, he’s the old Tony.”