Tony Bennett had a fan base that spanned generations — so naturally, his death on July 21 impacted millions of admirers. Among them was his friend and collaborator Lady Gaga.
Yesterday Lady Gaga wrote a long, heartfelt Instagram post about her friend, in which she admitted, “I’ve been grieving the loss of Tony for a long time. We had a very long and powerful goodbye.”
Though she has been considered an edgy performance artist and pop singer, and he is best known as a gentlemanly troubadour singing classics from the American Songbook, Gaga assured people that their bond was real, something far beyond a partnership to sell records.
Her post was shared as an image on Tony Bennett’s Twitter account:
— Tony Bennett (@itstonybennett) July 31, 2023
“Though there were 5 decades between us, he was my friend. My real true friend. Our age difference didn’t matter– in fact, it gave us each something neither of us had with most people. We were from two different stages in life entirely–inspired,” she wrote. “Losing Tony to Alzheimer’s has been painful but it was also really beautiful. An era of memory loss is such a sacred time in a persons life. There’s such a feeling of vulnerability and a desire to preserve dignity. All I wanted was for Tony to remember how much I loved him and how grateful I was to have him in my life. But, as that faded slowly I knew deep down he was sharing with me the most vulnerable moment in his life that he could–being willing to sing with me when his nature was changing so deeply. I’ll never forget this experience. I’ll never forget Tony Bennett.”
She ended the post with an encouragement to others about valuing one’s elders.
“Don’t leave them behind when things change,” she said. “Take care of your elders and I promise you will learn something special. Maybe even magical.”
The pair were pals for over a decade and had enjoyed chart-topping success with their 2014 duets album, “Cheek to Cheek.” (They performed the title song, a remake of a classic Irving Berlin tune, at the 2015 Grammys and won a Grammy that night for best traditional pop vocal album.)
In 2021, the Bennett and Gaga released a second collaborative album, “Love for Sale,” a tribute to Cole Porter. Gaga was also one of the last people that Bennett performed live with, at Radio City Music Hall in August of 2021.
Take a peek at the something “maybe even magical” Gaga experienced through her friendship in this video she made with Bennett for the song “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”