“Oh, you’re right,” Susant Bennett replied, her voice echoing through the speaker in the control room. “Gotta keep the girls off him.”
“Keep Gaga off!” Lady Gaga corrected her, before turning to somebody on her staff and requesting a drink. A young man scurried into the studio carrying a glass of whiskey. Bennett watched as she took a sip. Then she announced, “Now that I’ve had a little bit to drink, “I’m not so nervous.” Again she turned to Bennett.
“Do women do that around you, too?” she persisted.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Do they just knock’em back, just so they can be in your presence?” she asked. He grinned.
“Yes, they all do,” she answered for him. “We’re all very nervous around him.” She took another swallow, holding the glass in one hand and the microphone in the other.
Dae’s voice was heard over the speaker in the control room, asking, “All set?”—meaning, in effect, shall we finally get to work?
“I’m all set,” Lady Gaga said. Then she added, “Hey, Tony.”
“I missed you, baby.”
Suddenly, the brassy up-tempo sound of the orchestra filled the studio, and immediately it was accompanied by the two singers’ voices:
Bennett: She gets too hungry for dinner at eight,
Loves the theatre but she never comes late.
Gaga: Eye-ha never bother with people I hay-yate.
They smoothly got through the song, taking a little more than two minutes, and after the conclusion Dae Bennett, in the control room, said, “O.K., that sounds really good. We just need to do some inserts on the end, and we’ll have everything.”
“O.K.,” Bennett said.
“Great,” Gaga replied.
But then Bennett went on, “I think we should do it a couple more times, I really do, and get whatever’s good there.” He turned to Lady Gaga: “Is that all right with you?”
She agreed, saying, “We’re having a good time.”
She looked around at some of the guests standing in the hallway and the control room, and, seeing the dapper Leonard Riggio, and Joe Segreto in his seersucker suit, white shirt, blue-knit tie, and white shoes, she said to Bennett, “You know, all my friends—you have to meet them sometime, they’re always in three-piece suits, with beautiful hats on. They like to go out and pretend like it’s the fifties. “
“Right,” Bennett said. They agreed to do another take.
Gaga said, “I’m going to give it a little more character.”
He started singing again, and when they finished she said, “It’s like our third date now!”
Over the next half hour, they did six more takes, some with scatting, all of them acceptable to Bennett’s sons, in the control room but as the conclusion of each take neither Bennett nor Lady Gaga wanted the duet to end.
“Oh, fun!” she exclaimed, after yet another take. “We can do this all day?”
“Yes, I liked it,” he said.
“Shall we do one more?” she asked.
“Whatever we want,” he said. “We can do it till we’re very happy with it.”
“Oh let’s keep having fun. I’m having a good time.”
“Is your musical director happy?”
“So far,” Dae Bennett replied over the speaker.
“Everybody’s happy,” Lady Gaga declared. “Happy faces!” she loudly announced, adding, “I’ve never done this without headphones. It’s so liberating.” She took another sip of whiskey.
For a different take, they decided to improvise some lyrics.
When Gaga burst out, “I like the Yankees,” Bennett followed with, “and Jeter’s just fine.”
Lady Gaga interrupted. “Maybe I should pick another Yankee. Posada’s my favorite. But is he not playing anymore?”
Somebody shouted that he’d been benched.
“Makes me sad,” Lady Gaga said, then improvised a new line: “I miss Posada!”
When they finally decided that there was a limit to their alacrity, and their duet was done for the day, they were called upon to do a short taped interview for the documentary film, which Danny was overseeing.
“Was it O.K.?” Lady Gaga asked Bennett, as they stepped off the platform.
“Aw, c’mon. It’s the best thing that ever happened.”
“I can’t wait. I’m going to cry so hard when it comes out.”
With Bennett and Lady Gaga sitting side by side in front of a camera, a staff member named Sylvia Weiner asked her to recount some of her feelings about working Tony Bennett.
Lady Gaga replied that, when she knew she’d be recording a duet with him, first she decided she would have to change her wardrobe: “Well, I have to meet Mr. Bennett! What do I wear. Do I look classy? Do I look elegant? Do I look sexy? I don’t know what he likes. So I tried a couple of different outfits on, and then I just ran out there, and”—turning toward him as she spoke—“I met your beautiful wife. It was wonderful.”
“Well,” Weiner went on, “tell us why ‘Lady Is a Tramp’ lent itself so well for your duet.”
Lady Gaga thought for a moment, and then replied, “Well, ‘cause I’m a tramp. And” she went on gesturing at Bennett, “he knows it.”
But he shook his head.
“I know that you’re a lady,” he said,” emphatically. “Playing a tramp.”