Lady Gaga paid a touching tribute to her friend Tony Bennett following his death at the age of 96.
“I will miss my friend forever. I will miss singing with him, recording with him, talking with him, being on stage together,” the “Bad Romance” singer wrote on Instagram Monday.
“With Tony, I got to live my life in a time warp. Tony & I had this magical power. We transported ourselves to another era, modernized the music together, & gave it all new life as a singing duo. But it wasn’t an act.
Our relationship was very real. Sure he taught me about music, about showbiz life, but he also showed me how to keep my spirits high and my head screwed on straight. ‘Straight ahead,’ he’d say. He was an optimist, he believed in quality work AND quality life.
Plus, there was the gratitude…Tony was always grateful. He served in WWII, marched with Martin Luther King Jr., and sang jazz with the greatest singers and players in the world.”
Gaga, 37, stated that she has been “grieving the loss” of Bennett “for a long time,” referring to his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016, which forced him to retire from performing in 2021 after eight decades.
“We had a very long and powerful goodbye,” she continued.
“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.
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 person’s 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.”
She concluded her post saying, “I’ll never forget Tony Bennett. If I could say anything to the world about this I would say don’t discount your elders, don’t leave them behind when things change.
Don’t flinch when you feel sad, just keep going straight ahead, sadness is part of it. Take care of your elders and I promise you will learn something special. Maybe even magical. And pay attention to silence—some of my musical partner and I’s most meaningful exchanges were with no melody at all.”
Sylvia Weiner, Bennett’s publicist, confirmed that the “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” performer died on July 21 in his hometown of New York City.
Bennett’s illustrious music career took off again because of his numerous collaborations with fellow Manhattanite Gaga, whom he met in 2011 when she was only a few years into pop superstardom.
The unusual duo collaborated on two albums, 2014’s “Cheek to Cheek” and 2021’s “Love for Sale,” both of which were critically lauded and received Grammy Awards for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
“She’s up there with Ella Fitzgerald, who was the greatest singer in the world,” Bennett said of Gaga.
In addition, the duet partners went on tour in 2015 and had two Emmy-nominated TV specials, the second of which featured Bennett’s final concert at Radio City Music Hall in 2021.
“Tony is one of my most favorite people on the whole planet, and I love him with all my heart,” Gaga stated on BBC Radio 2 the same year, shortly after Bennett’s family revealed his Alzheimer’s disease fight.
“I love his family with all my heart. I love his wife, Susan, with all my heart. I can’t tell you how much I learned from him and what it’s like to sing with a legend for so many years.”
Bennett repaid the compliment just one month before his death by commemorating his friendship with Gaga on National Best Friends Day.
“Happy Best Friends Day!” On June 8, he posted on his Instagram page. “Who’s that one-of-a-kind confidant in your life? Let’s take a moment to appreciate our cherished friendships!”
Following his father’s death, Tony Bennett’s son Danny Bennett told Variety that Tony and Gaga will have a documentary called “The Lady and the Legend” released by Paramount+ in September that “chronicles their 10-year relationship.”