Tony Bennett's Son Just Revealed Why He'll Never Perform Again
Tony Bennett is retiring from the stage, but it's not about his ability to sing.
At 95 years old, Tony Bennett's days performing on stage have come to a close. After two sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall with his frequent collaborator Lady Gaga, the remainder of Bennett's tour dates have been canceled and he's retiring from the stage. The singer was set to play six more shows in the coming months, but they now won't take place, Bennett's son and manager, Danny Bennett, explained to Variety.
Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2016, but it hasn't stopped him from singing. Instead, it's the way the tour is taking a toll on his health that forced the dates to be canceled and Bennett's days performing live to come to an end. Read on to find out why doctors made the decision.
Tony Bennett performed his two final shows with Lady Gaga earlier this month.
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga performed together at Radio City Music Hall on August 3 and 5. The first show took place on Bennett's 95th birthday, and Gaga led the crowd in a rendition of "Happy Birthday" for him. Now, the Aug. 5 show in New York City will be known as Bennett's last ever.
Gaga and Bennett have been collaborating for years now. Their first album, Cheek to Cheek, was released in 2014, and they have a second album, Love for Sale, being released Oct. 1, which will consist of Cole Porter covers.
Bennett's son said doing concerts proved to be too much for him.
While the shows at Radio City went well, the remainder of the tour needed to be canceled because the traveling was too much for Bennett, according to his doctors. Upcoming shows, which were rescheduled pre-pandemic dates, were set to take place in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Oklahoma in September through December. But, Danny told Variety, "There won't be any additional concerts."
"This was a hard decision for us to make, as he is a capable performer," he continued. "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 [Benedetto] heard them—she said, 'Absolutely not.'"
Danny added, "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. We're not worried about him being able to sing. We are worried, from a physical stand point… about human nature."
He's able to keep singing, his son said.
Danny made clear that Bennett being able to sing isn't the issue, and said that his father will "be doing other things, but not those upcoming shows."
The 66-year-old said that some fans have told him that they can't believe Bennett has Alzheimer's because he's able to perform so well. "My answer is that this is where he has lived his whole life and where he is most happy—on the stage, making music," Danny explained. "He has short-term memory loss. That, however, does not mean that he doesn't still have all this stored up inside of him. He doesn't use a Teleprompter. He never misses a line. He hits that stage, and goes. Tony may not remember every part of doing that show. But, when he stepped to the side of the stage, the first thing he told me was: 'I love being a singer.'"
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Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2016, but the news was revealed in 2020.
Bennett's wife revealed to AARP the Magazine in 2020 that the singer had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2016. "There's a lot about him that I miss, because he's not the old Tony anymore," Benedetto told AARP. "But when he sings, he's the old Tony."
Bennett's neurologist, Gayatri Devi, MD, told the magazine that singing was good for Bennett, because it "stimulated his brain" and the emotional connection could help him access memories. "He is doing so many things, at 94, that many people without dementia cannot do," Devi said at the time. "He really is the symbol of hope for someone with a cognitive disorder."