American jazz and big band singer Tony Bennett has sold more than 50 million records worldwide. The musician, who is 95 years old, recently broke the Guinness World Record for the oldest person to record a new album of songs. The fact that Bennett continued to work despite having a degenerative condition is perhaps even more impressive.
The musician first debuted on the charts in 1951 with his popular song Because of You, for which he has received 19 Grammy Awards. He recorded his signature song, I Left My Heart in San Francisco, eleven years later.
However, the singer’s poor health was made public in February 2021. Susan Benedetto, Bennett’s wife, publicly spoke at the time about her husband’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, which was discovered in 2016.
The announcement followed the legendary big band musician’s final performance with Lady Gaga, with whom he frequently collaborated and toured in 2014 and 2015.
Before taking a medical retirement, Bennett gave another performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Benedetto opened up about her husband’s health when she appeared with Anderson Cooper on the renowned American television program 60 Minutes.
She said, “Thank God, he recognizes me, his children, you know, we are blessed in many ways. He is quite nice. ”.
Bennett’s wife went on to say that he might be so eager to keep performing because he isn’t aware he has the condition.
Tony claims that he has been in the business of making people happy for a long time and still is. That’s all, she informed Cooper.
Dr. Benedetto and Gaytari Devi both made appearances on the program, and Gaytari Devi went into more detail about which areas of the brain the disease had not affected. Gaytari Devi was the one who initially made the neurologic illness diagnosis for Bennett.
Dr. Devi observed, “He is aware of who he is and how to behave like Tony Bennett.
“His brain has a portion of itself that is inherently programmed in that way. It’s also an emotional area of his brain that gives him true meaning and purpose in life.
“I mean, another characteristic of music is that it activates the brain’s emotional center. It is simple to feel moved when you hear music because it is a component of many brain regions, including those that deal with emotion. ”.
During a performance in 2015, the singer noticed something was off when he had trouble recalling the names of the musicians who were performing with him.
At first, Benedetto believed the memory loss was a result of aging naturally, but Bennett sought medical attention. Film of Bennett during rehearsals with Gaga later revealed that he occasionally appeared “lost and disoriented,” and that his speech appeared to be stalled when he did speak.
Because Alzheimer’s disease is degenerative, symptoms frequently result in a continuous loss of thinking, behavior, and social skills, making patients unable to function independently.
The most common cause of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease develops when nerve cells stop communicating with one another. Additionally, the brains of those with the condition produce fewer chemical messengers, which prevents signals from being sent.
Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease frequently include memory loss, but as the condition worsens, other symptoms start to show.
Alzheimer’s symptoms can also affect a person’s personality and actions, with some people becoming withdrawn socially or depressed or irritable.
In November 2021, after their album Love For Sale received six Grammy nominations, Gaga spoke about how “heartbreaking” it is to witness Bennett’s struggles with Alzheimer’s.
She remarked, “I can’t even begin to tell you how much I learned from him or what it was like to sing with a legend for so many years. I’ve been singing with Tony for about ten years, and it’s difficult to witness the effects of his Alzheimer’s. I also want to appeal to anyone listening who knows someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s and is currently experiencing difficulties in their life. Play some of their old music when you’re with someone you care about, and I promise they’ll suddenly come to life. ”.
Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, some studies indicate that singing or listening to music may be beneficial for people who are experiencing emotional or behavioral problems. People with the condition who listen to music can find relief from their agitation and stress.