Over 50 million records have been sold worldwide by American jazz and big band singer Tony Bennett. The musician, who is 95 years old, recently shattered the Guinness World Record for the oldest person to record an album of original music. More impressively, Bennett continued to work until August 2021 despite having a degenerative condition.
The musician first debuted on the charts in 1951 with his famous song Because of You, for which he has received 19 Grammy Awards. I Left My Heart in San Francisco, his signature song, was finally recorded by him eleven years later.
But in February 2021, the general public became aware of the singer’s deteriorating health. Bennett’s wife, Susan Benedetto, publicly spoke about her husband’s battle with the disease, which he was diagnosed with in 2016.
The announcement followed the legendary prominent band musician’s final performance with Lady Gaga, with whom he frequently collaborated and toured in 2014 and 2015.
Before retiring for health reasons, Bennett performed another performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
While appearing on Anderson Cooper’s renowned American television program 60 Minutes, Benedetto provided details about her husband’s condition.
Thank God, he recognises me, “his children, you know, we are blessed in many ways,” she said. He is quite pleasant. “.
Bennett’s wife continued, adding that he might be eager to keep performing because he is unaware of his illness.
Tony claims that he has always been in the business of making other people happy and that “he has no idea he has it.”. She told Cooper, “That’s it.
Dr Bennett’s original doctor, Gayatri Devi, co-hosted the program with Benedetto and went into more detail about the areas of the brain the disease had not affected.
Dr Devi remarked, “He knows who he is and how to act like Tony Bennett.
That area of his brain is preprogrammed from birth. It is also an emotional area of his brain that gives him true meaning and purpose.
The fact that music activates the brain’s emotional region is another characteristic that sets it apart. It is simple to feel moved when you hear the music because it is stored in several areas of the brain, including those that deal with emotion. “.
During a performance in 2015, the singer noticed a problem when he had trouble recalling the names of the musicians who were performing with him.
Bennett sought medical attention despite Benedetto’s initial assumption that the memory lapse was due to normal ageing. 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, behaviour, and social skills, making patients unable to function independently.
When nerve cells stop interacting with one another, Alzheimer’s disease develops, which is the most common cause of dementia, those with the condition also have fewer chemical messengers in their brains, preventing signals from being sent.
Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease frequently include memory loss, but other symptoms start to show as the condition worsens.
Alzheimer’s symptoms can also affect a person’s personality and behaviour, with some people becoming depressed, irritable, delusional, or socially withdrawn.
Gaga spoke about how “heartbreaking” it is to watch Bennett have Alzheimer’s after their album Love For Sale was nominated for six Grammy awards in November 2021.
She remarked, “I can’t 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 around ten years, and it hurts to see what Alzheimer’s is doing to him. I also want to say something to anyone listening who knows someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia who is dealing with it in their daily lives. I promise that if you play music from the person you care about’s youth while you’re with them, they’ll suddenly come to life. “.
Even though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, some studies have found that singing or listening to music can improve emotional and behavioural problems. People with the illness who listen to music report feeling less agitated, which can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.