Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett perform on stage at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles February 8, 2015. Image Credit: AFP

New York: Lady Gaga, who was Tony Bennett's friend and collaborator in the final years of the hitmaker's life, over the weekend hailed their "magical" relationship and urged others not to "discount your elders."

Bennett died at 96 on July 21, having lived with Alzheimer's disease for years.

In 2014 he became the oldest person ever to reach number one on the US album chart through a collection of duets with Lady Gaga, with whom he also won a Grammy in 2022 for their album of Cole Porter standards.

"With Tony, I got to live my life in a time warp. Tony & I had this magical power. We transported ourselves to another era, modernized the music together, & gave it all new life as a singing duo," Gaga posted in a lengthy ode to Bennett on Instagram.

"But it wasn't an act. Our relationship was very real. Sure he taught me about music, about showbiz life, but he also showed me how to keep my spirits high and my head screwed on straight."


Among Bennett's many gifts was his stage presence: with a welcoming smile and dapper suit, he sang with gusto and a smooth vibrato in a strong, clearly enunciated voice.

His death prompted an outpouring of gratitude for his life and work, with Elton John calling him "irreplaceable" and President Joe Biden saying "he himself was an American classic."

Gaga's partnership with the legend was seemingly improbable - she the boundary-pushing pop star and he the aging crooner - but in her homage to Bennett she said "our age difference didn't matter."

"We were from two different stages in life entirely - inspired. Losing Tony to Alzheimer's has been painful but it was also really beautiful," she said.

"An era of memory loss is such a sacred time in a person's life. There's such a feeling of vulnerability and a desire to preserve dignity."

In her message Gaga urged people to keep their elders close: "Don't leave them behind when things change," she said.

"And pay attention to silence - some of my musical partner and I's most meaningful exchanges were with no melody at all."

"I love you Tony."