Cheek to Cheek (album)

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This article is about the Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga album. For other albums, see Cheek to Cheek (disambiguation).
Cheek to Cheek
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga holding hands and looking to the front
Album cover (standard version)
Studio album by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
Released September 19, 2014
Recorded 2013
Genre Jazz
Label
Producer
  • Dae Bennett
  • Danny Bennett (exec.)
Tony Bennett chronology
  • Cheek to Cheek
  • (2014)
Lady Gaga chronology
  • Cheek to Cheek
  • (2014)
Singles from Cheek to Cheek
  1. "Anything Goes"
    Released: July 29, 2014 (2014-07-29)
  2. "I Can't Give You Anything but Love"
    Released: August 19, 2014 (2014-08-19)

Cheek to Cheek is a collaborative album by American singers Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, released on September 19, 2014, through Interscope Records and Columbia Records. Bennett and Gaga first met backstage in 2011, after performing at the Robin Hood Foundation gala in New York City. The two later recorded a rendition of "The Lady Is a Tramp", and began discussing plans for working on a jazz project. Cheek to Cheek consists of jazz standards by popular jazz composers like George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin. The album was inspired by Bennett and Gaga's desire to introduce the songs to a younger generation, since they believed that the tracks had universal appeal.

By January 2013, the album was confirmed by both artists and recording started after Gaga recovered from hip surgery. The recording sessions in New York City were accompanied by a live band and jazz musicians associated with both artists. Gaga deviated from her characteristic pop tracks, wanting instead authentic jazz sounding vocals. The release date of the album was delayed multiple times, and the final date was announced by Gaga and Bennett on The Today Show. Full track listings and cover art for the album were released shortly thereafter, including the track lists for many alternate editions. The album received generally positive reviews upon release, with critics praising Gaga's vocals. At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, Cheek to Cheek has been nominated for the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.[1]

The artists promoted Cheek to Cheek through multiple performances in and around New York, a "behind the scenes" program detailing the recording of the album on Home Shopping Network (HSN) and a special titled Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live!, which aired on PBS in October. The album was preceded by the release of two singles; "Anything Goes" and "I Can't Give You Anything but Love". They both reached number one on Billboard '​s Jazz Digital Songs Chart. Cheek to Cheek debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 131,000 copies sold in its first week according to Nielsen SoundScan, earning Gaga her third consecutive number-one album; she became the first female artist in the 2010 decade to have three number-one albums. Bennett also extended his record as the oldest person to achieve a number-one album on the chart.

Background and development[edit]

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.[2] Bennett then asked Gaga to sing a duet with him on his upcoming album. The two recorded "The Lady Is a Tramp" for his Grammy Award-winning album, Duets II, and subsequently rumors arose of a jazz album from them.[3][4] 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.[5]

"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[3]

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, stating "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."[6] 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.[7][8] 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."[9] He told Chicago Tribune 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 a "universal appeal" and "timeless quality" about them.[10] Gaga told The Daily Telegraph that with her earlier releases like The Fame (2008), The Fame Monster (2009), and Born This Way (2011), she felt unable achieve her full vocal potential. She described Cheek to Cheek as a "rebellious" and "liberating" album for her because she was able to sing without worrying about record producers engineering it for radio.[11]

Bennett said that Gaga had written an original song for the album titled "Paradise". There was also solo songs from each artist, along with the duets, though Gaga later clarified that the album was 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" (which Lady Gaga has cited as her favorite song[12]), and the title track, "Cheek to Cheek".[3] 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.[13]

Recording and composition[edit]

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.[2] 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 trumpeter Brian Newman, a long-time friend and colleague of Gaga, played on the album with his New York City based jazz quintet. Tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and flautist Paul Horn were also enlisted as musicians.[3]

A black-and-white portrait of Cole Porter
A black-and-white portrait of Irving Berlin
Cheek to Cheek consists of jazz standards by popular jazz composers and lyricists, including Cole Porter (left) and Irving Berlin (right)

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.[2] Gaga explained that she was nervous about recording 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," she added.[14] Inspiration for singing came from jazz singer Amy Winehouse, who passed away in July 2011; Gaga added "I thought of her almost every day in the studio. I wish she was still here. She was jazz to her core".[15] 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.[16]

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; for Bennett, the complement came from the fact that Duke Ellington wrote "Sophisticated Lady" and later collaborated with Strayhorn for "Lush Life".[17] Gaga sang "Lush Life" in her school choir, but it was only later she understood the lyrical interpretation of the track, about failure and heartache. During Cheek to Cheek '​s recording, she was emotionally upset about her professional and personal conflicts during the Artpop era; Bennett had to support and guide her through the process.[18] Newman recalled that "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" was recorded during the taping of the duo's show at Lincoln Center. Gaga had informed the musicians about performing the song, and piano player Alex Smith made the necessary musical arrangements the night before the concert. They did not rehearse it, and recorded it live when Gaga performed the song in front of the audience.[19]

The first song, "Anything Goes", was recorded by Bennett for his 1959 collaboration with Count Basie and his Orchestra, Strike Up the Band, 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."[20] 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."[21] "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".[22][23] "Nature Boy" was first released as a single in 1948 by Cole, and it became a commercial success for him. Written by eccentric songwriter eden ahbez, the song about a "strange enchanted boy" features instrumentation from flutes and drums, and has an orchestral arrangement. A loungier version, Gaga sings in a Liza Minnelli inspired voice with a breathy range, followed by Bennett complimenting her with the story of meeting the titular character.[24][25]

Release and artwork[edit]

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.[26][27] Edna Gunderson from USA Today reported that the album was been delayed and expected to be released in late 2014.[28] 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.[29] 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.[16] The album was first released in Australia and Germany on September 19, 2014.[30]

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".[3] 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.[31] 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.[32] 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.[33] 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.[17] The album was sold at Starbucks stores with unique cover artwork.[34] In October 2014, Gaga announced a Collector's Box Set to be released in December 2014. It would include limited edition items, like personal snapshots, Cheek to Cheek sheet music autographed by Bennett, 8×10 art prints housed in a vellum envelope and others.[35]

Bennett told Billboard that they were also inspired by Porter's 1936 musical, Red, Hot and Blue, for a possible sequel to Cheek to Cheek. He wanted to see how Cheek to Cheek fared after its release, but Gaga wanted to start working on the collaboration "right away". Bennett added: "we're gonna do two albums in a row with her. We'll have to try and do that as soon as possible, just as a follow-up for a second album."[36]

Promotion[edit]

From June 2014, Gaga began promoting the album through a series 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.[37][38] 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".[39] Gaga also performed with Bennett at the Montreal International Jazz Festival,[3] and starred in a holiday commercial for retail company H&M, directed by Johan Renck and featuring "It Don't Mean A Thing (If I Ain't Got That Swing)". The artists announced the news on Instagram.[40][41] At the 2014 New York Fashion Week party, Gaga performed "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye", dedicating it to her boyfriend, actor Taylor Kinney.[42]

On September 13 and 14, 2014, HSN broadcast a special titled Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek. The music special gave 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 also showcased their song selection process from the Great American Songbook.[17] 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 aired on PBS as part of their Great Performances series on October 24, 2014.[2] It was watched by an audience consisting of invited guests and students from New York schools. Set and lighting was created by Robert Wilson, while David Horn directed it. Bennett and Gaga were joined onstage by 39-piece orchestra conducted by Jorge Calandrelli, soloists Chris Botti on trumpet and David Mann on tenor sax, and jazz musicians associated with both artists.[43] The setlist has thirteen songs, including "Anything Goes", "Nature Boy", "I Won't Dance", "Lush Life", and "But Beautiful". PBS also announced that the concert was filmed in 4K resolution and it will have a 73-minute DVD.[44]

Bennett and Gaga performing songs from Cheek to Cheek at the Grand Place of Brussels, Belgium

Three songs from the album were used by ESPN during the advertisements for the 2014 Tennis US Open. The channel's vice president Jamie Reynolds explained that their decision to incorporate the "classic swing vibe of New York" led them to use the Cheek to Cheek songs. Universal Music provided the videos for the songs, which were then mixed with tennis shots and used in the ads. It also used original content like Bennett in his Manhattan apartment, and Gaga on tour in Australia with ArtRave: The Artpop Ball.[45] On the September 13 performance of ArtRave tour in Tel Aviv, Israel, Bennett joined Gaga onstage to sing selected tracks from the album. Gaga's vocals on "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" drew praise for her range and control.[46] On September 22, Gaga and Bennett performed a short set list of songs from Cheek to Cheek at the Grand Place of Brussels, Belgium. Their performance received positive reviews, with The Daily Telegraph '​s Anne Bilson giving it four out of five stars, complimenting their vocals saying "Bennett had the lungs to compensate, and Gaga had the moves."[47] Promotional videos were released for "Anything Goes" (from Brussels performance) and "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" (from the PBS special) on September 27, 2014.[48][49] While touring with ArtRave in the United Kingdom, Gaga appeared with Bennett on the twelfth season of British television show, Strictly Come Dancing, performing two songs from the album.[50] Following the tour's completion the duo performed the title track on talk shows The View and The Colbert Report.[51][52] For the Christmas Tree lighting at Rockefeller Center, Gaga and Bennett performed a rendition of "Winter Wonderland".[53] Few days later, they appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon for performing "Cheek to Cheek" and "It Don't Mean A Thing (If I Ain't Got That Swing)" and Gaga singing solo on "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye".[54]

Bennett confirmed that he and Gaga would also tour jazz festivals in 2015, supporting Cheek to Cheek.[10] According to him, Gaga was tired from playing bigger venues, and wanted to have the tour visit smaller venues for at least three-four days, or for three-six weeks. Bennett also explained that he was accustomed to playing in acoustic music halls and outdoor theaters, so Gaga had been looking at such options. "I'm not interested in playing to 45,000 people a night, so [Gaga's] finding places where we could work for three or four days, or three or four weeks, in one place at a time. That's how she wants to work with me.," the singer concluded.[36] On 2014 New Year's Eve, the duo is set to perform at the Cosmopolitan Casino of Las Vegas, making it their first concert in US following the album's release.[55] They also scheduled a post-Grammy concert on February 8, 2015, at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, just after the conclusion of the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.[56] More shows were scheduled in 2015, including Hollywood Bowl on May 30; the Royal Albert Hall in London on June 8; and Radio City Music Hall in New York City on June 19.[57] Jesse Lawrence from Forbes reported that there was high demand for the tickets, leading to additional dates being added to the itinerary. He also noted that the concerts had a much higher ticket price than the average, especially in the secondary markets.[58]

Singles[edit]

"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.[3] 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.[59] In Spain it debuted within the top-fifty of the PROMUSICAE singles chart at number 40.[60] "Anything Goes" debuted outside the top 100 of the French Singles Chart, at number 178.[61] 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.[62][63] According to Nielsen SoundScan, "Anything Goes" sold 16,000 digital downloads in the US up to the week ending August 3, 2014.[64] The song dropped to number three on Jazz Digital Songs chart the next week.[65]

"I Can't Give You Anything but Love" was released as the second single from the album on August 19, 2014. Gaga announced the release on Twitter, accompanied by the single's cover art.[66] An official music video for the song was released on August 26, 2014. The video was shot in the recording studio and the first half showed Gaga in numerous outfits and wigs, while recording the song and roaming around. Bennett joins the studio sessions later on, singing the song. The final chorus finds the two singers belting together, described as "join[ing] forces for a peculiar, yet potent blend of styles that transcends generations and genres". Jon Blistein from Rolling Stone complimented the video, saying that it "proves [Gaga and Bennett] exude a unique, adorable brand of musical chemistry".[67] After its release, "I Can't Give You Anything but Love" debuted at number-one on the Jazz Digital Songs chart of Billboard, on the week ending September 6, 2014, and the French Singles Chart at number 173.[61][68]

Additionally, "Nature Boy" was released for streaming on Gaga's Vevo channel from September 16, 2014. Gaga had previously tweeted about the background of the song, as well as about the passing away of flautist Horn.[69] The song debuted on the Billboard Trending 140 Chart at number five and quickly rose to number one.[70] After Cheek to Cheek '​s release, "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" debuted at number one on the Jazz Digital Songs chart, which became Gaga's first entry as a solo artist.[71]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 64/100[72]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[73]
Robert Christgau B+[74]
The Daily Telegraph 3/5 stars[75]
Entertainment Weekly B+[76]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[77]
New York Daily News 4/5 stars[78]
Newsday A–[79]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[80]
Slant Magazine 2/5 stars[81]

Upon release, Cheek to Cheek received mostly positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from music critics, the album received an average score of 64, indicating "generally favorable reviews", based on 12 receptions.[72] MTV News's Gil Kaufman praised the album, calling Bennett and Gaga "a match made in heaven". He added that the singers were able to "flawlessly" merge their unique vocals, that was reflected in their in-studio rapport, and thus onto the songs on Cheek to Cheek.[24] Caroline Sullivan of The Guardian awarded the album with four out of five stars, claiming that "Gaga is a wonder". She also praised that "Cheek to Cheek reveals the considerable warmth and depth of her voice".[77] The Times critic Will Hodgkinson praised the album giving it a rating of four out of five stars. He added that Gaga could have been a "habitué of Upper Manhattan piano bars and supper clubs.. as Stefani Germanotta, classy singer of standards".[82] Jazz critic Marc Myers reviewed the album for The Wall Street Journal, claiming that "the biggest surprise on the album is Gaga's solo vocal on 'Lush Life', a difficult song that has troubled even the most seasoned jazz-pop singers, including Frank Sinatra. Her lower register is warm and her phrasing is heartfelt."[83] In his favorable review, Chicago Tribune critic Howard Reich wrote that "Cheek to Cheek serves up the real thing, start to finish... Both singers revel in swing rhythm, eager to buoy from one offbeat to the next and the next. They achieve considerable energy. But it's when things slow down that you can hear what these artists are capable of as interpreters, alone and together."[84]

Jazz author Ted Gioia, who reviewed the album for The Daily Beast, was surprised by Gaga's ability to sing jazz, saying that "in all fairness to Lady Gaga, any singer who matches up with Tony Bennett needs to get loud and assertive... Her voice projects an appealing innocence [on] 'But Beautiful' and 'Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye'".[85] Rating it four out of five stars, Lewis Corner from Digital Spy complimented the vocal mix on the album, adding that "Cheek to Cheek may not be the glittering spectacle we've come to expect from Lady Gaga, but with Tony Bennett's guidance the pair have delivered an authentic and solid jazz record that respects the genre's generous history.[86] Jon Dolan from Rolling Stone gave the album three out of five stars and praised Gaga's vocals. Dolan felt the album "proves she can be a sophisticated lady".[80] Charles J. Gan from Associated Press also praised Gaga and Bennett's singing, writing that "Had she been born in an earlier era, Gaga would have been right at home in an MGM musical".[87] Idolator's Bianca Gracie described the album as "a refreshing listen that highlights the undeniable talent of both Gaga and Bennett and how well they work together".[88] Writing for the National Post, Mike Doherty observed that Gaga took "liberties with the beat, bends notes, purrs and whoops away" with the vocals, while Bennett was able to complement with his characteristic "dapper approach".[89]

With three and a half stars out of five, Kenneth Partridge from Billboard opined that Gaga sometimes sounded too "forcibly" and definitely she needed Bennett more than he needed her on the recording of the album, but overall they had a "blast together and both will benefit from this pairing".[90] Another three and a half star rating came from Lydia Jenkin of The New Zealand Herald, who declared the album as "seamless standard renditions".[91] Jim Farber from New York Daily News awarded the album with four out of five stars, claiming that "Gaga has always been a power singer" and "She has a lot of Liza Minnelli in her". Bennett received great review from the site about the agility and pluck he is able to sing the songs.[78] James Reed from The Boston Globe praised the album and felt that both singers "bring out the best in each other".[92] Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph gave the album a rating of three stars out of five, writing "If you take this album in the spirit of throwaway fun in which it seems to have been concocted, it is harmlessly engaging".[75] Giving Cheek to Cheek a rating of A–, Glenn Gamboa from Newsday declared the album as "straightforward jazz, gorgeous and well crafted".[79] Adam Markovitz of Entertainment Weekly commented that Gaga and Bennett are "in–if not quite heaven, then at least a pretty swell piano bar" and gave the album B+.[76]

In a mixed review, Stephen Thomas Erlewine from AllMusic declared that "Cheek to Cheek is a record where the music and even the songs take a backseat to the personalities".[73] Alexa Camp from Slant Magazine gave the album a rating of two out of five stars. Camp criticized Gaga and Bennett's vocals in the album, adding that "If not for the session musicians' top-notch work... much of Cheek to Cheek, which drags at an economical 45 minutes, would sound like glorified karaoke."[81] San Francisco Chronicle writer Aidin Vaziri was disappointed with Gaga and Bennett not "highlight[ing] each other's wildly distinguishing features", adding that "the background music is far more exciting than the people singing over it".[93] Mikael Wood from Los Angeles Times complimented Gaga's vocals in the album but panned her "cheap exploitation: of a bunch of important songs she brings nothing to; of an 88-year-old legend with whom she has zero chemistry; and, most disappointingly, of our eagerness to follow her down an unlikely creative path."[94]

Commercial performance[edit]

Cheek to Cheek debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 131,000 copies sold in its first week according to Nielsen SoundScan, earning Gaga her third consecutive number-one album and the second for Bennett. It also topped the Jazz Albums and Traditional Jazz Albums charts. Bennett beat his own record—previously achieved in 2011 with Duets II—as the oldest living act to earn a number one album in the US.[95] The debut also made Gaga the first female artist in the 2010 decade to have three number-one albums.[96] Along with the Billboard 200 and Jazz Albums, Cheek to Cheek also entered at number four on the Top Digital Albums chart.[97] The next two weeks, although album sales dropped, Cheek to Cheek held its position at number four on the Billboard 200, with sales of 59,000 and 37,000 copies respectively.[98][99] As of October 15, 2014, the album has sold 226,000 copies in the country.[100] Cheek to Cheek debuted at number three on the Canadian Albums Chart selling 10,000 copies per SoundScan.[101][102] It was certified Gold by the Music Canada for shipment of 40,000 copies of the album.[103]

In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at number ten on the UK Albums Chart, making the fifth top 10 album for Gaga and the third for Bennett; according to Music Week it sold 10,469 copies in the first week.[104][105] Cheek to Cheek dropped to number 24 in its second week, selling 4,081 copies.[106] Due to Bennett and Gaga's appearance on Strictly Come Dancing and Gaga's ArtRave tour, the album rebounded to number 12 on the chart in its fifth week, selling 6,257 copies.[107] In Ireland the album debuted outside the top-ten of the Irish Albums Chart, at number 12,[108] dropping to number 24 the next week.[109] In its fifth week, Cheek to Cheek again climbed from number 50 to number 24 on the chart.[110]

After its release, Cheek to Cheek debuted at number seven on the ARIA Albums Chart, becoming the second top-ten album for Tony in Australia out of 56 albums released, while it was the fourth top-ten album for Lady Gaga.[111] It dropped to number ten the next week before moving to its peak again in the third week.[112] In New Zealand it debuted at number 13 on the albums chart, peaking at number three in its fourth week.[113] In Japan, it debuted at number seven on the Oricon albums chart with sales of 11,397 copies, dropping one spot the next week with another 7,371 copies sold.[114][115] Cheek to Cheek was Gaga's fourth top-ten album in France, where it debuted at number nine.[116] On the Greek Albums Chart, it debuted at number four and next week moved to number three, peaking at number two on its third week.[117][118][119] In Russia, the album debuted at the top of the albums chart, with sales of 38,018 copies as reported by Billboard Russia. For Gaga, it was her sixth chart topper, making her the foreign artist with the most number-one albums in the country.[120]

Track listing[edit]

Standard version[121]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Anything Goes"   Cole Porter 2:04
2. "Cheek to Cheek"   Irving Berlin 2:51
3. "Nature Boy"   eden ahbez 4:08
4. "I Can't Give You Anything but Love"   3:13
5. "I Won't Dance"   3:57
6. "Firefly"   1:58
7. "Lush Life" (Gaga solo) Billy Strayhorn 4:15
8. "Sophisticated Lady" (Bennett solo) 3:49
9. "Let's Face the Music and Dance"   Berlin 2:07
10. "But Beautiful"   4:04
11. "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)"  
  • Ellington
  • Mills
2:24
Total length:
34:43

Credits and personnel[edit]

Management
  • Recorded at KAS Music and Sound, Kaufman, Astoria Studios, Astoria, New York, Manhattan Center Studios, Manhattan, Avatar Studios, New York
  • Mixed at Avatar Studios, New York
  • Mastered at Sterling Sound Studios, New York
  • Sennheiser and Neumann provided the microphones for Tony Bennett
  • RPM Productions representative for Bennett: Sandi Rogers, Dawn Olejar, Sylvia Weiner, Hadley Spanier, Erica Fagundes, John Callahan, Seth Ferris
  • Sony Music Entertainment representative for Bennett: Doug Morris, Rob Stringer, Nancy Marcus-Sekhir
Personnel
  • Tony Bennett – lead vocals
  • Lady Gaga – lead vocals
  • Lee Musiker – vocal and rhythm arrangement, music director for Bennett
  • Dae Bennett – producer, recording, mixing
  • Danny Bennett – manager (Bennett), executive producer
  • Bobby Campbell – manager (Gaga)
  • Vincent Herbert – A&R for Streamline Records
  • Brandon Maxwell – fashion director
  • Frederic Aspiras – makeup
  • Don Lawrence – vocal instruction
  • Dave Russell – additional engineering
  • Jill Dell'Abate – production manager, contractor
  • Tom Young & Acir Pro Audio – live sound management
  • Alessandro Perrotta – pro tools
  • Mike Bauer – assistant engineer
  • Tim Marchiafava – assistant engineer
  • Akihiro Mishimura – assistant engineer
  • Darren Moore – assistant engineer
  • Sheldon Yellowhair – assistant engineer
  • Greg Calbi – mastering
  • Larry H. Abel – music copyist
  • Joann Kane – music copyist
  • Ivy Skoff – union contractor co-ordinator
  • Kenneth R. Meiselas – legal issues
  • Sonya Guardo – legal issues
  • Lisa Einhorn-Gilder – production co-ordinator
  • Dyaana Kass – marketing
  • Jurgen Grebner – international repertoire
  • Tomoko Itoki – international repertoire
  • Nick Miller – international repertoire
  • Amanda Silverman – public relations
  • Dennis Dauncy – public relations (Interscope)
  • Ianthe Zevos – creative director
  • Steven Klein – photographer
  • Gretchen Anderson – production work
Orchestra
  • Jorge Calandreili – orchestra conductor, arranger
  • Elena Barere – violin
  • Jorge Avila – violin
  • Laura Bald – violin
  • Sean Carney – violin
  • Barbara Danilow – violin
  • Laura Frautschi – violin
  • Sanguen Han – violin
  • Karen Karlsrud – violin
  • Yoon Kwon – violin
  • Ann Leathers – violin
  • Nancy McAlhaney – violin
  • Laura McGinnis – violin
  • Kristina Musser Gitterman – violin
  • Alex Sharpe – violin
  • Catherine Sim – violin
  • Sebu Sirinian – violin
  • Lisa Tipton – violin
  • Una Tone – violin
  • Yuri Vodovoz – violin
  • Xiao-Dong Wang – violin
  • Nancy Wu – violin
  • Eric Wyrick – violin
  • Robert Zubrycki – violin
  • Vincent Lionti – viola
  • Sarah Adams – viola
  • Katherine Anderson – viola
  • Kimberly Foster Wallace – viola
  • Todd Low – viola
  • Martha and Alissa Smith – viola
  • Richard Locker – cello
  • Diane Barere – cello
  • Stephane Cummins – cello
  • Jeanne LeBlanc – cello
  • Sacunn Thorsteinsdottir – cello
  • Ellen Westermann – cello
  • Barbara Allen – harp
  • Susan Folles – harp
  • Paul Horn – flute
  • Pamela Sklar – flute
  • Katherine Fink – flute
  • Diane Lesser – oboe
  • Pavel Vinnitsky – clarinet
  • Mike Atkinson – French horn
  • Bob Carlisle – French horn
  • Nancy Billman – French horn
  • Theo Primis – French horn
  • Stewart Rose – French horn
Instruments

Credits adapted from Cheek to Cheek Australia CD liner notes.[124]

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Edition Format Label
Australia[156][157][158] September 19, 2014
  • Standard
  • Deluxe
Germany[30][159]
France[160] September 22, 2014 Polydor
United Kingdom[161]
Canada[162][163] September 23, 2014
Mexico[164][165]
United States[121][123][166]
Japan[167] September 24, 2014 Standard SMH-CD Universal
United States[168] October 14, 2014 Vinyl Interscope Records
France[169] November 10, 2014 Polydor

References[edit]

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