Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse’s letters to Tony Bennett heading to auction

Letters addressed to the late Tony Bennett from the likes of Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse are set to go to auction next month.

READ MORE: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga – ‘Love For Sale’ review: oldies covers with a playful wink

A trove of items that belonged to the late singer are set to go up for sale at Julien’s Auctions on April 18, including letters and rarities addressed to him from Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, Madonna, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Quincy Jones and Barbra Streisand and more.

The legendary American singer died on July 21 in his hometown of New York, after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was aged 96.

The item expected to fetch the most at the auction is a typewritten thank you letter from civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. – which is predicted to reach around $25,000.

Dated April 5, 1965, the letter sees King discuss the historic Selma civil rights march to Montgomery. He also thanks Bennett for singing for the marchers and mentions his “good friend, Harry Belafonte” who told King of the difficulty Bennett had in rearranging his schedule to perform (via Variety).

“It is astonishing to have the opportunity to view all these items in a collection such as this, which represent Tony’s remarkable life, but also embody a part of our shared American history,” said Tony’s son and long-time manager, Danny Bennett (as per Variety). “Beyond his musical legacy, which is unparalleled and will continue to remain relevant, his lifetime of positive engagement impacted so many people and events. He did everything with such artistry, compassion and integrity which is a testament to the extraordinary person he was each and every day.”

Tony Bennett performs at the 9th Annual Exploring The Arts Gala founded by Tony Bennett and his wife Susan Benedetto at Cipriani 42nd Street on September 28, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images 8th Annual Exploring The Arts Gala)

David Goodman, CEO of Julien’s Auctions, added: “The world was blessed beyond words to have had the incomparable Tony Bennett in it. He changed the world with his artistry, humanitarianism, and one-of-a-kind voice that transcended generations.

“Julien’s is honoured to represent his Estate and celebrate Mr. Bennett’s extraordinary legacy at this once-in-a-lifetime auction event at Jazz at Lincoln Center with exhibitions at two cities that were most dear to his heart, New York and San Francisco.”

As well as letters, the archives will also include microphones from Bennett’s live shows, photographs, paintings – both collected and created by the singer – and a cable car bell given to him after he’d supported then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein’s campaign to rebuild San Francisco’s system in the 1980s.

The letters addressed to him by Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse come as he had a long working relationship with both artists.

Both he and Winehouse joined forces on tracks including ‘Body And Soul’ which appeared on Bennett’s ‘Duets II’ album, and the legendary crooner also spoke highly of her following her death in 2011.

Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse attend the after show party for Tony Bennett’s concert at Royal Albert Hall on July 1, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

“It was a thrill to record with Amy Winehouse, and when you listen to the recording of ‘Body And Soul’ it is a testament to her artistic genius and her brilliance as one of the most honest musicians I have ever known,” he said at the time.

He also opened up about her battle with addiction in a separate interview and said that the singer was aware of how bad her struggle was. “What people didn’t realise at that time, she really knew, and in fact, I didn’t really know it when we were making the record. She knew she was in a lot of trouble, that she wasn’t gonna live. And it wasn’t drugs. It was alcohol,” he explained.

Later, he was among those who paid tribute to Winehouse at MTV Video Music Awards 2011, and used their duet together to raise funds for the late singer’s self-titled drug treatment foundation proposed by her family.

As for Lady Gaga, the two collaborated on his final studio recording ‘Love For Sale’, which was released in 2021. The two had previously joined forces for the 2014 release ‘Cheek To Cheek’.

After his passing, she shared an image of them both embracing and wrote: “I will miss my friend forever. I will miss singing with him, recording with him, talking with him, being on stage together.”

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga perform onstage during The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the STAPLES Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)

“With Tony, I got to live my life in a time warp. Tony & I had this magical power. We transported ourselves to another era, modernised the music together, & gave it all new life as a singing duo. But it wasn’t an act. Our relationship was very real,” she added.

“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. ‘Straight ahead,’ he’d say. He was an optimist, he believed in quality work AND quality life. Plus, there was the gratitude…Tony was always grateful.”

She also paid tribute to the singer last September, as she resumed her Las Vegas residency.

“The truth is I didn’t know exactly what to say about Tony because this whole show was for Tony, everything,” she explained. “The opening number, the middle number, all the diamonds, all the musical instruments, all the conducting, all the improvisation was in his memory.”

The post Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse’s letters to Tony Bennett heading to auction appeared first on NME.

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