Tony Bennett, 95 and Battling Alzheimers, Retires From Stage

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Tony Bennett, via his Facebook page in 2019

One week after celebrating his 95th birthday with two concerts at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, singer Tony Bennett has canceled the rest of his brief 2021 tour. The legend turned 95 on August 3 with a performance with Lady Gaga that evening, and a second concert two nights’ later. He was scheduled to give six more shows this fall: one in September, three in October and two more in December. All were canceled today (August 12).

Bennett’s son and manager, Danny Bennett tells Variety that his father has retired from the stage. “There won’t be any additional concerts,” Danny says. “This was a hard decision for us to make, as he is a capable performer. This is, however, doctors’ orders. His continued health is the most important part of this, and when we heard the doctors — when Tony’s wife, Susan heard them — she said, ‘Absolutely not.’ He’ll be doing other things, but not those upcoming shows. It’s not the singing aspect but, rather, the traveling. Look, he gets tired. The decision is being made that doing concerts now is just too much for him. We don’t want him to fall on stage, for instance — something as simple as that.”

The legend shared the stage one last time at New York’s famed Radio City Music Hall with fellow native New Yorker Lady Gaga for two nights only to celebrate a decade of music and friendship.

One Last Time: An Evening with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga opened on August 3, 2021, which was Bennett’s 95th birthday, with a second performance on August 5. Both performances were a quick sell-out when they went on sale to the general public on July 22.

On Feb. 1, Bennett revealed that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease four years ago. In an interview with AARP, the singing legend and his wife, Susan, shared the heartbreaking news.

The signs were evident during recording sessions with Lady Gaga in 2018, when the pair were working on a follow-up album of standards to 2014’s Cheek to Cheek.

Bennett and Lady Gaga have a new album, Love For Sale, arriving Oct. 1. The first release from the Cole Porter tribute LP, “I Get a Kick Out of You,” was released on Bennett’s 95th birthday.

A bench endowed in Central Park in Tony Bennett’s name

The concerts at Radio City were Bennett’s last NYC performances of his career, set appropriately at a venue that he has enjoyed a multi-decade run of sold-out shows.

The One Last Time performances at Radio City featured song renditions from the Great American Songbook of popular and jazz standards that Bennett and Gaga have claimed as part of their legacy over the past decade. The Tony Bennett Quartet and the Brian Newman Quintet were joined by a big band and orchestra conducted by Michael Bearden.

The official trailer for the Love For Sale album was released on Sept. 28.

Watch the video for the title track

Watch Bennett and Gaga sing a favorite from their 2014 album

On Bennett’s birthday, New York State officially proclaimed the day, Tony Bennett Day. Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement that read, in part: “Not only is Tony a born and bred New Yorker who has been dazzling audiences with beautiful music for more than six decades, but he has always stayed true to his humble New York roots and can always be spotted throughout the City. From growing up as a child of immigrants, to all the contributions he has made to our community, Tony Bennett is a New Yorker in the truest sense of the word.”

Sony Music Entertainment, the parent company for Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings divisions, have endowed a bench in Bennett’s name in Central Park, his most cherished spot in his hometown of NYC.

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2 Comments so far

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  1. Nonny
    #1 Nonny 3 August, 2021, 11:47

    Happy “95” Birthday Mr Tony Bennet!!
    “I Left My Heart In San Francisco”

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  2. RecordSteve
    #2 RecordSteve 4 August, 2021, 19:34

    Soon we will be in the Christmas season hearing/singing along with your wonderful
    festive music…one more time!

    Reply this comment

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