Cheek to Cheek is an upcoming collaborative album by American singers Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, to be released on September 19, 2014. After being delayed multiple times, the release date was announced by Gaga and Bennett on The Today Show. Cheek to Cheek is Bennett's second collaboration with Gaga, the first being a duet of "The Lady Is a Tramp" recorded for his Grammy Award-winning album, Duets II (2011).
"Cheek To Cheek came out of a very organic friendship and relationship that Tony and I have built over the years and it truly was a collaborative effort. It was important to Tony that this was a jazz record. I've been singing jazz since I was a child and really wanted to show the authentic side of the genre. We made an album of jazz classics, but it has a modern twist."
—Gaga talking about collaborating with Bennett on Cheek to Cheek
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga first met backstage in 2011 after she had performed a rendition of Nat King Cole's "Orange Colored Sky", at the Robin Hood Foundation gala in New York City. Thereafter Bennett asked Gaga to sing a duet with him on his upcoming album. They finally recorded "The Lady Is a Tramp" for his Grammy Award-winning album, Duets II, and subsequently rumors arose of a jazz album from them. In September 2012, Bennett confirmed to Rolling Stone that Gaga wanted to record a jazz album with him and there was a well-known composer associated with the project, and although not on par with jazz musicians like George Gershwin or Cole Porter, he has had several hits to his name. Swing band and Grammy-award nominated songwriter/composer Marion Evans was also under consideration for collaborating on the album with Bennett confirming recording sessions to start soon.
On January 8, 2013, Evans, who arranged "The Lady Is a Tramp", confirmed that he would have a fairly significant part in the making of the album. "I don't know at this point exactly how many songs will be on the CD, but I'm sure we'll have about four or five different-sized orchestras or bands. It'll turn into a giant panic, I can assure you. That's just how this business is," he was quoted saying in the article. Later that month, Lady Gaga, after her performance with Bennett at the final inaugural ball of President Obama's second inauguration, announced the album formally through her Twitter. "And here's me and my handsome date, I simply cannot wait for our album together, he's my darling!" she wrote as a caption for a photo tweeted of the pair, along with revealing the title of the album as Cheek to Cheek. In September 2013, Bennett explained that for the album, they recorded "all great standards, quality songs; George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, songs like that. With a big swingin' band and great, great, jazz artists playing." In an interview with Chicago Tribune, Bennett explained that his main intention of recording the album with Gaga was to introduce the jazz standards to a younger audience, believing that the tracks had an universal appeal and timeless quality about them. Bennett said that Gaga had written an original song for the album titled "Paradise". There would also be solo songs from each artist, along with the duets, though Gaga later clarified that the album would consist solely of standards. The songs were handpicked by Bennett and Gaga; they selected tracks from the Great American Songbook including "Anything Goes" a Porter song, "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)", "Sophisticated Lady", "Lush Life", and the title track, "Cheek to Cheek". In an interview with French newspaper La Presse, Bennett said:
I do not understand why [Gaga] had to make contemporary music! When she sings great standards, she does it with such emotion... It will surprise people by the quality of her voice when making quality songs. We sing a duet again on the album, but also separately. With this album, I think she will become bigger than Elvis Presley! Of course we recorded the album in New York. As the saying goes: 'If you can make it in New York, you'll make it anywhere.
Although the project was in development and discussions were taking place as early as September 2012, the recording did not start until the Spring of 2013, being delayed by Gaga's hip surgery and cancellation of her Born This Way Ball tour. The recording took place over a year in New York City, and featured jazz musicians associated with both artists. Bennett's quartet was present, including Mike Renzi, Gray Sargent, Harold Jones and Marshall Wood as well as pianist Tom Lanier. Along with Evans, jazz trumpeterBrian Newman, a long-time friend and colleague of Gaga, played on the album with his New York City based jazz quintet. Tenor saxophonistJoe Lovano and flautistPaul Horn were also enlisted as musicians.
According to Gaga, Bennett wanted her to sing different songs and was impressed by her vocals during "Lush Life", referring to the Billy Strayhorn written standard that has been recorded by everyone from Nancy Wilson and Sarah Vaughan to Donna Summer and Linda Ronstadt. Gaga's friend, DJ Lady Starlight noted that the album would present a different vocal delivery from Gaga, deviating from her pop songs. The singer added that she was "so nervous to go into the studio with [Bennett], I just wanted him to hear I have an authentic jazz voice and that I studied that... If he can hear that, I'm okay. If he can't hear it, I'm not an authentic jazz voice." The songs were recorded live with the band, and during the recording process Gaga asked for carpets to be placed on the studio floor, so that it looked like a film set and it could be photographed.
In Cheek to Cheek, Gaga sings solo on "Lush Life", "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" and "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye", while Bennett's solo includes "Don't Wait Too Long" and "Sophisticated Lady". According to Gaga, "Lush Life" and "Sophisticated Lady" complemented each other, and Bennett guided her emotionally through its recording process. For Bennett, the complement came from the fact that Duke Ellington wrote "Sophisticated Lady" and later collaborated with Strayhorn. The first song, "Anything Goes", was covered by Bennett for his seventh studio album, Strike Up the Band (1959) and Gaga first came to know about it when she was 13 years old. Gaga thought that "Anything Goes" was a funny track with a "real sexy, powerful vibe to it, and it's just because we're having fun singing it." The version on Cheek to Cheek finds Gaga and Bennett swapping the lyrics between themselves, and was described by Bobby Olivier, from The Star-Ledger, as "smooth as silk". The syllables are pronounced strongly by Gaga in syncopation while her vibrato complimented Bennett's characteristic jazz vocals and swing. Olivier added, "Gaga's voice, when stripped of its bells and whistles, showcases a timelessness that lends itself well to the genre." "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" was originally written in 1928 by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields for the Broadway revue, Blackbirds of 1928. The version on Cheek to Cheek opens with the sound of high-hat and an electric organ. Gaga alters the lyrics to sing "Gee, I'd like to say you're looking swell, Tony", who later rejoins with the line "Diamond bracelets won't work, doesn't sell, Gaga".
On December 12, 2013, Bennett revealed to CNN that the album's release was delayed and the final release date was confirmed as March 18, 2014. Edna Gunderson from USA Today reported that the album was been delayed and expected to be released in late 2014. Later in April 2014, during the Museum of The Moving Image's salute to Kevin Spacey, Bennett told a reporter that the album would be released during September. From June 2014, Gaga began promoting the album through a string of public appearances with and without Bennett, the first of them being at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in New York City. At the school, which was founded by Bennett and his wife Susan Crow, the pair performed as a duo and individually, and fielded questions from the audience. They concluded their engagement by watching a performance from the school's choir. Two days after her performance at the school, Gaga showed a new tattoo of a Miles Davis trumpet she had gotten earlier. The singer posted a picture to her Instagram account of her getting the tattoo with Newman, announcing his involvement on the album while proclaiming, "It's jazz time, world". Gaga also performed with Bennett at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. On July 29, 2014, Gaga and Bennett made an appearance on The Today Show to formally announce their collaboration and confirmed the final release date in the US as September 23, 2014. The album would be first released in Germany on September 19, 2014.
Photographer Steven Klein shot the album covers, and was responsible for the artistic ideas behind the packaging of the release. He also developed the cover art for "Anything Goes". On August 18, 2014, Gaga released the official cover art for the album, which showed the singer with Bennett, sitting and holding hands. The singer explained that she and Bennett were sitting and talking when Klein had suddenly photographed them.  For the standard edition, Gaga and Bennett are shown in a New York newspaper with the album name atop the image, while the deluxe edition just features the same image. Gaga's look with her massive black curls in the image was compared by Kirthana Ramisetti from New York Daily News to singer Cher's character in the 1987 American romantic comedy, Moonstruck. The complete track list for the album was also revealed alongside the cover arts. The standard edition consists of 11 tracks while the deluxe edition has 15 songs listed. Along with the standard and deluxe editions in digital and CD formats, there were exclusive releases to Home Shopping Network (HSN) and Target. A 180 grams (0.40 lb) vinyl edition of the album was also released to Amazon.com.
On September 13 and 14, 2014, HSN will broadcast a special titled Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek To Cheek. The music special will offer fans an exclusive look behind-the-scenes at the making of the album, as well as never-before-seen footage of the two artists collaborating in the recording studio. It would also showcase their song selection process from the Great American Songbook. Following the announcement of the release, a short concert was held at the Rose Theater of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Titled Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live!, the concert will air on PBS as part of their Great Performances series on October 24, 2014. Bennett confirmed that he and Gaga would tour jazz festivals in 2015, supporting Cheek to Cheek.
"Anything Goes" was released as the first single from the album on July 29, 2014, to digital retailers, followed by the release of its music video to Gaga's YouTube and Vevo accounts. The video showed Gaga and Bennett recording "Anything Goes" as well as other songs from Cheek to Cheek. In the United Kingdom, "Anything Goes" debuted at number 174 on the UK Singles Chart for the week ending August 9, 2014. It also charted at number 132 on the sales chart of the Official Charts Company. In Spain it debuted within the top-fifty of the PROMUSICAE singles chart at number 40. "Anything Goes" debuted outside the top 100 of the French Singles Chart, at number 178. On the Billboard Jazz Digital Songs chart, the track debuted at the top, becoming Gaga's second entry on that chart, following "The Lady is a Tramp". The song was Bennett's 15th entry on the Jazz Digital Songs chart, and his third number-one single. According to Nielsen SoundScan, "Anything Goes" sold 16,000 digital downloads in the US up to the week ending August 3, 2014. The song dropped to number three on Jazz Digital Songs chart the next week.