Tony Bennett Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s Disease

Tony Bennett is 94 years old. Recently, the singer’s wife and son revealed details about the singer’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Tony Bennett’s family told a magazine that he was first diagnosed with the irreversible neurological disorder in 2016. The magazine says he endures “increasingly rarer moments of clarity and awareness.”

An Evergreen Performer

A beloved award-winning singer of American Jazz standards, Tony Bennett’s career spans over seven decades. “He’s not the old Tony anymore,” his wife, Susan, told the magazine. “But when he sings, he’s the old Tony.” Despite his debilitating illness he continues to rehearse and twice a week goes through his 90-minute set with his longtime pianist, Lee Musiker. The magazine says he sings with perfect pitch and apparent ease.

Tony Bennett gained his first pop success in the early 1950s and enjoyed a career revival in the 1990s. He became popular with younger audiences in after an appearance on ‘MTV Unplugged’. The singer’s life was constantly strung with tours and recordings and his 2014 collaboration with Lady Gaga, “Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

Linking Music And Memory

The link between music and memory is something scientists and doctors have been continuing to study – especially for memory impairments and neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. One study has revealed that the brain handles different kinds of information differently, and music is different from language. This means the brain works with music differently, and it appears to be less affected by the Alzheimer’s process, compared to written words, for instance.

Although Tony Bennett can still recognize family members, he is, according to his wife Susan, not always sure where he is or what is happening around him. Mundane objects as familiar as a fork or a set of house keys can be utterly mysterious to him.

His appearance on ‘MTV Unplugged’ which culminated in a 1994 best album Grammy. Since then, the jazz veteran has recorded a steady stream of memorable duet recordings featuring John Mayer, K.D. Lang, James Taylor, Sting, Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga, who has become a devoted protégé. Their first, electrifying duet (“The Lady Is a Tramp” in 2011) proved to be a life-changing moment for Gaga when the pop star realized, under Tony’s tutelage, that she was (like him) also a jazz singer — someone who can riff off a melody, easily improvising harmonic detours of stunning beauty. “The fact that Tony sees me as a natural-born jazz singer is still something that I haven’t gotten over,” Gaga recently said.

By: Anjana Sathyanarayan