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Inside Tony Bennett’s Battle With Alzheimer’s

Tony Bennett is an American singer that has had a uniquely long career. At the age of 94, the singer’s career has seen him through many distinct phases, from his initial fame in the 50s and 60s, to a slight downfall in the 70s, to an unprecedented rise back to the top in the 90s. Few Jazz singers of his generation have managed to have the career consistency that Bennett has. In fact, Bennett is still a renowned touring performer today and has released numerous duets with modern artists, such as Sting and John Mayer. He has even recorded a pair of albums and a live concert special with modern pop music giant Lady Gaga! Bennett has certainly never had a problem keeping busy, which made it all the more surprising when it was recently revealed he has been battling Alzheimer’s disease. Join Facts Verse as we take a look inside Tony Bennett’s battle with Alzheimer’s.

Tony Bennett was born Anthony Dominick Benedetto on August 3 of 1926. He developed a passion for singing at an early age. After a small period in the army during World War II, Tony began pursuing a career in music. His first hit song came in 1951, with “Because of You”. His early hits were firmly in the pop music sphere, but his style grew jazzier as he began finding his own unique voice. By the time he recorded his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”, he had fully blossomed into the performer we know and love. However, following this period of fame, both his career and his personal life was going to take somewhat of a dive. However, it was a dive that the singer was going to recover from in an unprecedented way.

When rock music took over the radio, Tony Bennett had found himself out of a job. However, thanks in no small part to his son taking over as his business manager, he saw a return to fame in the late 80s and early 90s that few could have foreseen. This included a renowned appearance on MTV Unplugged. That appearance resulted in an album, MTV Unplugged: Tony Bennett, that garnered two separate Grammy Awards for the singer. From there, Tony maintained a consistent popularity that saw him record duets with many top artists. Such artists included Sting, John Mayer, and Amy Winehouse. However, when Tony Bennett met the popular singer Lady Gaga, he felt a closer kinship than with the others. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett hit it off very well, with Tony seeing much of himself in Gaga as a performer. The two went on to record a full length duet album that was released in 2014. The album, titled Cheek to Cheek, was released alongside a live concert special that aired on PBS As well, the two have currently finished recording a follow-up album. Although, as has recently been reported, it appears that Tony wasn’t in too great of shape during the recording sessions.

It has recently been revealed that Tony Bennett has been suffering from a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease since 2016. To those who have been following the artist’s recent career trajectory, this likely came as quite a shock. However, it appears that Tony’s tight family unit, headed by his manager/son, Danny, has kept him together. As well, it seems that continuing the practice of singing has had some extraordinary medicinal benefits for the star. Although Bennett may have an increasingly hard time remembering what’s going on around him, he never fails to remember one of his hit tunes when the piano starts playing. The songs flow out the same as ever before, and many of those closest to the singer have suggested that this practice may have prevented the onslaught of Alzheimer’s disease from becoming much worse than it has. This theory is backed up by plenty of psychological research that has shown the incredible and somewhat mysterious role musical therapy can play in those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and similar illnesses. It is certainly a miracle that Tony can still remember his songs and perform them exactly as he always did, and hopefully things stay that way for years to come. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! As well, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are coming your way in the future!

When not performing on stage or recording a new album, Tony Bennett likes to take it easy at home in his art studio. Many may not realize that Tony is also a renowned painter, with works exhibited around the world in various places. He shares his home with his wife, 54-year-old Susan Crown. Although the two had been romantically involved for decades prior, they didn’t get married until 2007. Susan has stuck by Tony’s side throughout the whole of his struggle. As well, she maintains a close relationship with Tony’s son and manager, Danny. The two work together to keep Tony healthy and happy, a task that has grown increasingly demanding in the years since his diagnosis. Susan has shared that the task has become ever more difficult since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when she let their housekeeper go in order to diminish the risk of Tony catching the virus. Tony relies on those around him for much of his daily needs due to the progressive effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Typically, the disease sees those who suffer from it gradually lose their ability to remember, think, and, eventually, speak. While Tony has been able to ward off the worst effects thanks to good habits and plenty of support, it has still grown increasingly hard for him to function normally.

Tony’s son, Danny, is 66-years-old. Given that he has been his father’s manager for 40 years, he is certainly no stranger to helping his old man out. Many credit Danny with Tony’s unprecedented career revival in the 1990s. Currently, his responsibilities have understandably increased due to his father’s increasing lack of awareness. For the time being, it’s been business as usual for Tony, who recently finished recording a new duet album with Lady Gaga that is set to be released just months after the Alzheimer’s diagnosis was made public.

According to insider’s, Tony’s Alzheimer’s disease was very apparent during the recording sessions for the album. Although he could always be counted on to sing, he seemed barely coherent while socializing in the studio. Before the diagnosis, Tony had always been an active participant in studio productions. In this most recent session, he could only be counted on to give his vocal performance. Still, given the situation, the fact that he could deliver his vocals the same as always is incredibly impressive. Perhaps there is a good deal of truth to the power music has to keep the mind healthy and young. Lady Gaga, who has grown to consider Tony both a friend and father figure since their initial meeting, was noticeably shaken at moments during the recording session. Having been coached on how to handle those suffering from Alzheimer’s, she worked incredibly well with the singer during conversations. However, that didn’t stop Gaga from shedding a few tears when it was Tony’s turn to sing.

Tony was diagnosed by Gayatri Devi, a neurologist who practices at Lenox HIll Hospital in New York. She has commented on the incredible state of Tony’s brain despite his diagnosis, and the tremendous success he has had in fighting off the disease as it has attempted to overtake him. Devi is largely responsible for the Bennett family’s decision to keep Tony going in his singing career. Devi has always been active about her support of musical therapy, and she appears to have been right. Tony’s love of singing has maintained through his battle more strongly than any other aspect of his personality. By exercising that part of his brain, it appears that Tony has been able to ward off many of the worse effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Hopefully continuing this practice, along with the traditional routine of medications, will keep Tony alive and well for many more years to come! In the meantime, fans can look forward to Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s new duet album, which is to be released in Spring of 2021!

Tony Bennett has brought the world many great hits, both in the form of traditional staples and jazzy originals. Comment down below to share your favorite song from his career, or if you were surprised to learn that he has been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. As always, hit the like button to show your support for more content in the future, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when that content is on it’s way!

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