The album was released in some configurations — including cassettes — on Thursday (Sept. 30), which enabled it to qualify for the 64th annual Grammy Awards. The album is being released in all other configurations on Friday (Oct. 1). The eligibility period for the awards — which will be presented on Jan. 31 — was Sept, 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021.
Love for Sale has been announced as the final studio album for Bennett, who is 95 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016. The diagnosis was made public in February. He continued to record and perform until his retirement from concert performances in August.
Bennett and Gaga’s first joint album, Cheek to Cheek, won a Grammy for best traditional pop vocal album seven years ago. Should Love for Sale also win in that category, they would be the first pair to win twice in that category.
Bennett has won 13 times in the traditional pop category. In addition, a Various Artists album celebrating his legacy, Tony Bennett Celebrates 90, won four years ago. (That’s not quite the record for most wins in a category. Jimmy Sturr won best polka album 18 times. The lack of competitiveness in the category is one reason the Academy discontinued the category in 2009.)
Love for Sale, consisting entirely of Cole Porter songs, was recorded between 2018 and early 2020. If it is nominated for best traditional pop vocal album, this would be the second year in a row that a Porter tribute is in the running. Harry Connick Jr.‘s True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter was nominated last year. The first Porter tribute album nominated in the category was cabaret star Bobby Short’s You’re the Top: Love Songs of Cole Porter (1999).
Porter, one of the foremost writers of the Great American Songbook, died in 1964 at age 73. He was in the inaugural class voted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and received a Trustees Award from the Recording Academy in 1989. His recording of “You’re the Top” was inducted into the National Recording Registry in 2006; his “Anything Goes” was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2012.
Love for Sale is Bennett’s 61st studio album, Gaga’s seventh (not counting the A Star Is Born soundtrack). Bennett released his first studio album, Because of You, in 1952. Gaga released her first, The Fame, in 2008.
Bennett has won 18 Grammys from 36 nominations. That’s a very high rate of conversion of nominations to wins. In addition, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy in 2001. Gaga has won 12 Grammys from 29 nominations.
Bennett, who was born Aug. 3, 1926, would be a shade less than 95 1/2 on Grammy night 2022. Should he win a Grammy that night, he would become the second-oldest Grammy winner ever. The record is held by blues legend Pinetop Perkins, who was 97 years and 221 days old when he won the 2010 award for best traditional blues album for Joined at the Hip, a collab with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith.
Comedian George Burns is currently in second place, but would fall to third if Bennett wins. Burns was 95 years and 31 days old when he won the 1990 award for best spoken word or non-musical recording for Gracie – a Love Story, a tribute to his late wife, beloved comedian Gracie Allen.
Love for Sale could conceivably receive an album of the year nomination. If it does, that would give Bennett a record-setting 60-year span of album of the year nods. He was first nominated in that category in 1962 for I Left My Heart In San Francisco. He won, rather controversially, in 1994 for MTV Unplugged.
The current record for the longest span of album of the year nods is held by Ray Charles, who had nods spanning 44 years. He received his first nod in the category in 1961 for Genius + Soul = Jazz and his last, posthumously, in 2004 for Genius Loves Company.
In a unique arrangement, Love for Sale is being released jointly by Columbia, Bennett’s long-time label, and Interscope, Gaga’s label.