One of the most moving moments at the 2011 Video Music Awards Sunday night was the tribute to Amy Winehouse , who died earlier this summer. The look back at the 27-year-old’s indelible influence included memories from Russell Brand and Tony Bennett, followed by a performance of “Valerie” by Bruno Mars.
When MTV News caught up with the legendary Bennett immediately after the tribute, he spoke fondly of Winehouse’s incredible talent and their time together recording their duet (and the “Rehab” singer’s final recording), “Body and Soul.” Bennett then spoke of how tragic he thought her death was, saying that he wished he’d been able to pass along a few words of wisdom before it was too late.
“I can say this now — I didn’t want to say it on the show,”
Bennett said. “What I wanted to do, I wanted to stop her, I wanted to tell her that many years ago I was naughty also with some drugs.” But, Bennett revealed, a quote from a friend stuck with him for life.
“Woody Allen’s manager at the time [Jack Rollins] said he knew Lenny Bruce,” Bennett explained, recalling a conversation about the boundary-breaking comedian and satirist who died young of a drug overdose. “[Rollins] said one sentence that changed my life: He said, ‘He sinned against his talent.’ I wanted to tell her that and I had to leave because we were touring all over the world making this album, and I never got a chance to do it.
“My son called up and said she died, and I couldn’t believe that I didn’t get that message to her,” Bennett added sadly. The cause of Winehouse’s death is still undetermined , but her family released a statement last week saying that toxicology tests found no illegal substances in her body.
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