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Bennett + Gaga
November 4, 2011 1:17 PM   Subscribe

What do you get when an 85-year-old jazz singer teams up with a 25-year-old pop star? The Lady is a Tramp.
posted by specialagentwebb (67 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why do they need those big microphones if they're just going to lip synch?
posted by The World Famous at 1:21 PM on November 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


Tokyo Jihen + Shena Ringo = My favorite version of this song.
posted by pts at 1:27 PM on November 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


The World Famous: Why do they need those big microphones if they're just going to lip synch?

As anyone familiar with Gaga's M.O. will tell you: it's all about presentation, baby!
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:28 PM on November 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Gaga totally looked like she wanted to make out with him at the end, but then settled for a kiss on the cheek.
posted by tractorfeed at 1:31 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also: Tony Bennett's career has been getting quite a boost now that he's no longer forced to stand in Frank Sinatra's shadow.

And it doesn't hurt to be open to working with younger, more current musicians, either!
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:31 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


What do you get when an 85-year-old jazz singer teams up with a 25-year-old pop star?

I cant determine who's the bigger d-bag sellout here...
posted by hal_c_on at 1:37 PM on November 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


They interviewed Tony Bennett on NPR this weekend, about this album; he had quite a few good things to say about Lady Gaga. He thought it was especially adorable that she went out of her way to thank all the studio crew while she was there for their work (I thought it was great too -- if someone goes out of their way to show the techies some love, they go in my cool book).

He also said a lot of good things about Amy Winehouse, though, and said she could have had a hell of a career ahead of her.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:37 PM on November 4, 2011 [10 favorites]


yes, because it's really weird to lip synch in music videos.

here's amy winehouse and tony.
posted by nadawi at 1:38 PM on November 4, 2011


Looking forward to watching this later. Gaga's own stuff isn't to my taste, but she's unusual among pop stars insofar as she has genuinely formidable chops - I expect this is quite good.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 1:38 PM on November 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


The lady doesn't have a bad voice for this kind of material. But her interpretation wouldn't be worth sitting through if we didn't get to spend the time seeing her look fabulous in that marvelous dress.

(God bless you, Tony Bennett.)
posted by Trurl at 1:39 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I cant determine who's the bigger d-bag sellout here...

I know, they used to stand for something, for change, for social and political upheaval!
posted by The Whelk at 1:39 PM on November 4, 2011 [14 favorites]


I can't say I'm a Lady Gaga fan exactly, but I do admire her range. I was very very confused to discover that her latest single wasn't some country crossover business out of Nashville.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:39 PM on November 4, 2011


Sadly, it took a while for Tony to get out of Frank's shadow. Probably a couple of Sinatra's strong-arm guys were watching the edge.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:39 PM on November 4, 2011


yes, because it's really weird to lip synch in music videos.

I didn't ask why they're lip synching or say that it's weird that they're lip synching in a music video.

But I do think it would be very interesting to see a video (edited for length, obviously) of the actual process of recording the vocal tracks that are heard there, comping and editing them, and all of the production that happened on just the vocals to make them sound that way. I'm a geek like that, I guess.
posted by The World Famous at 1:43 PM on November 4, 2011


There was an question in the green a while back along the lines of "What old artists can I start appreciating now instead of waiting a few years to discover in their obituaries how significant their accomplishments were?"

Ahem.
posted by Trurl at 1:43 PM on November 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Now that he is out of Sinatra's shadow, I'd say Tony Bennett is even better as an "Old Dude Just Having Fun In Public" than Bill Shatner. And I'd rather have Tony's records.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:45 PM on November 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


I saw Tony Bennett at last month's Bridge School Benefit in Mountain View, CA, and he was definitely the highlight of the event for me. The guy still hits the high notes and knows how to sing, unlike Mumbles McStrummy and the other megastars. Plus he and his band were wearing suits.

Respect to all involved for supporting this school, but Tony was the best show of the night.
posted by wellvis at 1:47 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's behind the subscriberwall, but there was a New Yorker piece about this a couple of months back.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:48 PM on November 4, 2011


I do love how much fun both are obviously having. Totally sells it for me.

The other thing: Duets II is Tony Bennett's first number one album.
posted by bonehead at 1:58 PM on November 4, 2011


That was rocking.
posted by Phire at 1:59 PM on November 4, 2011


Enjoyed it but put two oldies but good singers together and they still do (for me) a bettere job:
Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cs6tCkf5ok
posted by Postroad at 2:06 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos, I heard the tail end of that interview - it wasn't clear to me that he was talking about Lady Gaga, but I had a feeling he was. Then they played the duet, and I was sure.

Lady Gaga's vamping is exactly what it is - what earns her respect from me at least, is her unmitigated musical ability, and an entirely unsurprising revelation that she is a decent human being and a professional.

I love to see the torch being passed on. It's redemption for all generations, and a reminder that though we as individuals won't be around forever - the things we love will be.
posted by Xoebe at 2:07 PM on November 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I like this. It's not the best recording of this song, but Gaga's a better match for Bennett than the beautiful, subtle, and smooth k. d. lang.

And it's nice to hear her voice without it being fuzzed and flattened in dynamics. I've found it really odd that she sounds much better in the television studio than the recording studio.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:17 PM on November 4, 2011


And it's nice to hear her voice without it being fuzzed and flattened in dynamics. I've found it really odd that she sounds much better in the television studio than the recording studio.

Was that recorded in a television studio? It sounds to my ears like it's even more heavily edited and produced than her usual stuff. I mean, it's beautifully done and sounds great. But I would be shocked if that's a single-take, unedited, unmanipulated vocal track without any post work.
posted by The World Famous at 2:25 PM on November 4, 2011


Aw yeah Tony Benne... wait, who's that Lady?

Eh, whatever, its Tony Freaking Bennet.
posted by Slackermagee at 2:29 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gay Talese wrote a great article about the recording session for the New Yorker. He portrays them as having a lot of fun and I think it comes through. The article requires a subscription, by the way.
posted by zzazazz at 2:33 PM on November 4, 2011


The lip syncing is pretty accurate, but the miming of the mic technique is nil. I'll bet the PinkSuperHero could give her a run for her money.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:40 PM on November 4, 2011


He also said a lot of good things about Amy Winehouse, though, and said she could have had a hell of a career ahead of her.

He said the much same thing on The Daily Show a few weeks ago.
posted by homunculus at 2:42 PM on November 4, 2011


Here is the best bit of that New Yorker piece.

Before the session with Lady Gaga, Bennett told me that he had been concerned about Winehouse's well-being when he spent time with her in London. He said, "I wanted to tell her that she needed to shape up or she could end up destroying herself." In August, he appeared on the MTV Video Music Awards in a special tribute to Winehouse, saying, "She was a true jazz artist in the tradition of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday." After the broadcast, he told a reporter, "What I wanted to do, I wanted to stop her. I wanted to tell her that many years ago I was naughty also with the drugs." He went on, "Woody Allen's manager at the time"—Jack Rollins—"said he knew Lenny Bruce, and he said one sentence that changed my life. He said, 'He sinned against his talent.' I wanted to tell her that."
posted by roger ackroyd at 2:50 PM on November 4, 2011 [14 favorites]


I love her music but I love even more when she does relatively stripped down stuff like this or Speechless.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:55 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


That whole album of duets is pretty awesome. It was on first listen a month or two ago. Really pretty great.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:12 PM on November 4, 2011


Was that recorded in a television studio?

Oh no, I wasn't talking about "Lady is a Tramp," but the contrast between earlier live-audience performances (Paul O'Grady, Jonathan Ross, or this acoustic goofing around) vs. the studio track demonstrates some the worst features of the production values of the loudness war and sounds flat and lifeless to me. I agree that "Lady is a Tramp" is expertly produced, but it's a production method that's much friendlier to her voice and performance chops than what I've heard previously.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:24 PM on November 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I heard this on NPR last week. I have to say, she really surprised me. I love the way she sings this and *gasp* have a new-found respect that the Ga-Ga gal.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 3:26 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's Tony talking about working with Gaga.
posted by piratebowling at 5:43 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


hal_c_on: I cant determine who's the bigger d-bag sellout here...

I can.

But let's talk about the video instead, where a talented, legendary popstar of decades gone by is keeping his craft honed, performing a pas-de-deux with a young, talented popstar of today's music scene.

Bravo!
posted by IAmBroom at 5:56 PM on November 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


keeping his craft honed

Bennett here reminded me of how Billie Holiday also managed to remain an expressive singer past the physical ruin of the instrument.

It's the surest mark of a master.
posted by Trurl at 6:04 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


If that's a ruined instrument, give me more ruined instruments.
posted by found missing at 6:08 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tony Bennett blah blah blah | Lady Gaga Ga Ga Ga
posted by y2karl at 6:09 PM on November 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


do go on
posted by found missing at 6:10 PM on November 4, 2011


In general, duet albums are the suck, especially May-December and most especially, May-From Beyond The Grave being the suckiest, if not outright crime against humanity. It's never a sign that one's career is headed upward. Yeah, yeah, while emeritus, last lap swan song duets are understandable Even if they are usually unforgivable . But at least it's not Bono and Frank SInatra.

Eeyew!shivers...

Well, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson on Pancho and Lefty, the song itself,maybe, -- there is always the exception -- but even that album was otherwise the suck.

So, maybe every so often, an individual duet might work. But in general, duet albums are well past the medium on the sucky unsucky scale. And not on the unsucky side.
posted by y2karl at 6:24 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not talking Marvin Gaye/Tami Terrell here, by the way. So, I suppose I should amend that to living legend with assorted edgy now singers tribute duet. Or just assorted weird choices.

Bing Crosby with David Bowie, for instance. Eeeyew etc. etc.

And I did like the Bennett with Amy Winehouse when I heard it. So, there is that.
posted by y2karl at 6:32 PM on November 4, 2011


I feel that I'm complete now that I know your tastes.
posted by found missing at 6:37 PM on November 4, 2011


So, which one of you two is May and which one is December?
posted by mhoye at 6:40 PM on November 4, 2011


Well, my instrument is ruined.
posted by found missing at 6:43 PM on November 4, 2011


I generally respect your opinions, y2karl, and I appreciate how seriously you take music. You really think about it, and I know you really love what you love. That's all good. But characterizing Bennett as "From Beyond The Grave" is, hey, kinda cold, man. I can only hope that folks will be more charitable about you when you reach that grand old age. And his vocal performance here certainly doesn't deserve to be dismissed with such bitter terminology. He actually sounds pretty good.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:06 PM on November 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


But characterizing Bennett as "From Beyond The Grave" is, hey, kinda cold, man.

y2karl can speak for himself, I guess. But I read his comment as referring to Bennett as "December" and Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra etc. as "From Beyond The Grave" in the various "duets" that have been assembled using their old vocal tracks edited into new stuff.

Bennett's performance here (as elsewhere) is top notch. The vocal track that Ga Ga is lip synching to is also very, very good, as are both of their visual performances in the video.
posted by The World Famous at 7:23 PM on November 4, 2011


But I read his comment as referring to Bennett as "December" and Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra etc. as "From Beyond The Grave"

Ah. Well, apologies if I misinterpreted the comment.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:27 PM on November 4, 2011


And it seems that I did. Sorry about that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:28 PM on November 4, 2011


For those of you wondering how rehearsed/improvisational/first-take the recording was, from zzazazz' link:

They smoothly got through the song, and, over the next half hour, they did six more takes.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:42 PM on November 4, 2011


I never really cared for Gaga's songs, but the first time I saw her performing solo on SNL with only a piano to accompany her, I realized she was the real deal. Here, she seems to be channeling Etta beautifully. Despite her disco catalog, I have no doubt she's got some real chops. (Oh, and Tony's not too shabby either).
posted by Gilbert at 7:45 PM on November 4, 2011


But at least it's not Bono and Frank SInatra.

Eeyew!shivers...


Insightful commentary on that one.
posted by raysmj at 7:45 PM on November 4, 2011


I loves me my Tony -- and I like this -- but Buddy Greco owns this song.
posted by mazola at 9:25 PM on November 4, 2011


That was great.

And wow, she looks amazing in that black lace.
posted by bardic at 9:28 PM on November 4, 2011


Charming.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:03 PM on November 4, 2011


I have to say, she really surprised me. I love the way she sings this and *gasp* have a new-found respect that the Ga-Ga gal.

For you. Note that for this performance she wrote (or at least perfected) two songs. That's something else by itself.

There's this more recently.

And also, for those who may not pat as much attention to her as she clearly requires, Lady Gaga takes tea with Mr Fry.
You get a strong sense of the character and behaviour of a great star by smelling the mood of those around them. The assistants who popped in from time to time to apologise for the late-running of the afternoon (she was busy doing back-to-back TV interviews in another suite) all seemed relaxed, cheerful and unforced in their manner. They certainly didn’t have the cowed look of crushed hirelings fresh from a verbal bitch-slapping who were attempting to prepare me for sulky moods and obstreperous huffiness.
posted by dhartung at 12:00 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bennett has squicked me out ever since someone I know VERY well reported he was schtupping her college roommate. I just can't get past that mental image. This would've been about 1994, if I remember right, so yes, he was Definitely Too Old For Her.

Excellent singer, creepy personal habits.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:57 AM on November 5, 2011


This would've been about 1994, if I remember right, so yes, he was Definitely Too Old For Her.

Not, apparently, according to the Young Woman He Was Schtupping.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:02 AM on November 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I want to hate Lady Gaga. But these little glimpses of her talent make that difficult.
posted by tommasz at 7:03 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The way my Mom would have put it is "that girl can sing."
posted by artlung at 8:03 AM on November 5, 2011


What do you get when an 85-year-old jazz singer teams up with a 25-year-old pop star?

Depressed, mainly. Then I go put some Gang Of Four on and cheer right up.
posted by Decani at 9:58 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gotta admit, Decani: that was funny.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:01 AM on November 5, 2011


Not, apparently, according to the Young Woman He Was Schtupping.

Hmmm...
posted by y2karl at 10:36 AM on November 5, 2011


Hmmm...

Well... did the woman's lawsuit go ahead after that? I reckon not. At any rate, kinda thin, there, that bit of gossip column-esque news from 24 years ago.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:43 AM on November 5, 2011


I have no idea of what happened--I just remember the story from a Time magazine article way back then. In fact, the total absence of any news about it thereafter is interesting.

But I read his comment as referring to Bennett as "December" and Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra etc. as "From Beyond The Grave" in the various "duets" that have been assembled using their old vocal tracks edited into new stuff. ...

Exactly. Unforgettable was an abomination. As for Bennett, his voice is in great shape and he's a great singer. 'Nuff said.

But remember, when you date Tony Bennett, you date every girl or boy he's ever dated. And that's a lot of dates. So, are you feeling lucky ?
posted by y2karl at 1:10 PM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


In fact, the total absence of any news about it thereafter is interesting.

Not sure where you're searching, but Google News Archive has several articles about it, including one from 1990 indicating the lawsuit was settled and the records sealed. At one point Bennett was ordered to have tests, and his lawyer claimed it proved he couldn't have transmitted it because he didn't have it.

Anyway, further in the same, uh, vein is that he "married his long time girlfriend of 20 years" in 2007, when she was ... 40. She is younger than two of his children.
posted by dhartung at 12:39 AM on November 14, 2011


So, um, let that admonition then be amended to ....you date every girl and boy, and their children, and their grandchildren, nay, unto the seventh generation....
posted by y2karl at 10:56 AM on November 15, 2011


I liked the part in the New Yorker article where Bennett met his current wife when she was a fetus. I kid you not.
posted by found missing at 2:16 PM on November 15, 2011


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