Tony Bennett’s family have revealed that the singer has been battling Alzheimer’s for four years.
The incredible jazz singer Tony Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease back in 2016. Since then, he has been spared from major symptoms including memory loss and speech.
However, in the past year, the 94-year-old’s condition has significantly declined, putting decision-making responsibilities in the hands of his family.
In a feature article with AARP magazine, Bennett’s family announced that he experiences “increasingly rare moments of clarity and awareness.” His eldest son Danny, 66, decided to open up about the condition in lieu of his father’s upcoming album release with Lady Gaga.
When journalist John Colapinto asked Bennett if he was excited about the new record with Gaga, he simply stared at him silently. The singer has worked with many brilliant artists in his nearly 70-year career, including John Mayer, Amy Winehouse, and Lady Gaga.
His collaboration with Gaga in 2014 recording Cheek to Cheek was monumental, debuting at number one on Billboard’s Top 200 pop and rock chart. Since the record’s success, the duo have been recording a follow-up album with “widely spaced sessions between 2018 and early 2020.”
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett started recording a new album together but due to his recent Alzheimer’s diagnosis it was hard for him to record and took 2 years with the album potentially releasing this spring. We will be buying and streaming this album pic.twitter.com/ibTUgHnSWS
— My Name Is James (@_JamesGtfo) February 1, 2021
The article discusses raw documented footage of the recording sessions, showing Bennett rarely speaking and Gaga engaging him with short and simple sentences; “You sound so good, Tony” to which he responded “thanks.”
What is most striking about Bennett is his superb voice remaining unscathed despite his condition. The article recalls a moment where Bennett sings a solo passage of a love song, bringing Gaga to sob as she watched.
If this video doesn’t tell you how much Tony Bennett means to Lady Gaga, then I’m not sure what will. He literally saved her life during the ARTPOP era and we should all be so grateful for him. pic.twitter.com/SdnrBQZ7wQ
— dexter 🚀 (@dexjennings98) February 1, 2021
It is still uncertain to this day why victims of Alzheimer’s become so limited in speech and memory, but for Bennett: “at the sound of a musical cue, he can lift his voice with such beauty and expression.”
Whilst Bennett’s family reveal his short and long term memories are quickly dissipating, his ability to sing has remained unscaled as he flawlessly bellows his iconic melancholy tone, reciting pieces that he hasn’t sung in years with ease.
Isn’t the brain a complicated fascinating thing – this is a cruel disease yet moments of clarity for Tony Bennett including being word perfect in singing is a small blessing for friends & family🥰
— 𝐿𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑠𝑎𝑦 𝑅𝑜𝑏𝑒𝑟𝑡𝑠𝑜𝑛💙 (@linzirob) February 1, 2021
Bennett and Gaga’s follow-up record is set to be released this Autumn.