Lady Gaga has millions of Little Monsters, but count Tony Bennett as one of her biggest fans, evident in tonight’s (Fri. Jan. 27) PBS special, “Great Performances: Tony Bennett Duets II.”
The special shows studio sessions of the making of “Tony Bennett Duets II” as he records “The Lady is a Tramp” with Lady Gaga. As she calls herself a tramp and ad-libs about Bennett and his wife, Bennett cracks up, which is left in the song.
“You try to be as honest as you can be when you make a record, when you are performing and the people trust that,” Bennett tells Zap2it. “When I was giggling with Lady Gaga, I could not believe the amount of talent she has. She is so over-the-top with what she was doing and it is completely improvised.”
Bennett reveals that Gaga had looked past the recording booth and saw a woman smiling at Bennett. She asked him who that was and when he said it was his wife, she worked that into the song, singing about going to Central Park with them.
The special chronicles Bennett as he travels to London to record a bittersweet “Body and Soul” with Amy Winehouse in what was likely her final studio recording. He also goes to Pisa to sing “Stranger in Paradise” with Andrea Bocelli.
Bennett also sings “One For My Baby” with John Mayer, and Michael Buble is very much in his element in “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” k.d. lang, Aretha Franklin, Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson also sing with Bennett.
Queen Latifah and Bennett sing a spectacular “Who Can I Turn To.” Norah Jones, Natalie Cole, Josh Groan, Andrea Borelli, Faith Hill, Alejandro Sans and Carrie Underwood each have a song with the man, who at 85, is the oldest singer to have a CD chart at No. 1.
“This new group,” Bennett says, “I didn’t know who some of them were because my son chose them. Each one of them was so professional.”