Surprise! If you didn’t know it already, Lady Gaga can sing. On Tony Bennett’s “Duets II” album, Stefani Germanotta leads off with Tony on “The Lady is a Tramp” and it’s a total success. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvjGe_j6yR8 For once, Gaga doesn’t sound at all like Madonna, but maybe just like herself. Indeed she evokes Natalie Cole or Ella Fitzgerald. It’s very nice.
The rest of “Duets II” is also a hit–from Willie Nelson on “On the Sunny Side of the Street” to “Who Can I Turn To” with Queen Latifah. Mariah Carey’s part on “When Do the Bells Ring for Me” should make the new mother of twins want to record her own album of standards and get away from hip hop for good. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USToOUdwDwQ And the real Natalie Cole? Still the best, most underrated singer in the world. Also very cool: duets with Aretha Franklin and of course the late Amy Winehouse.
People are still talking about last night’s great Tony Bennett show at the Metropolitan Opera House. Sony Music was well represented by old and new regimes. Tommy Mottola was there with his celebrity wife Thalia at one table. At another, new Sony Music chief Doug Morris hosted Sir Howard Stringer, Rob Stringer, Steve Barnett and a few other Sony heavies. No word yet on the imminent arrival of former Motown chief Sylvia Rhone. It was thought she was coming soon to revive Portrait Records. Now, it seems uncertain.
Meantime, nothing really logical explains the phenomenon of Tony Bennett. Is someone else singing? I don’t think so. But listening to him on “Duets II’ is quite amazing. And there are no tricks. I’ve seen him in the studio, I’ve seen him ‘live.’ I think “Duets II” will wind up being his biggest hit ever. Nice guys do finish first.