Tribute on Sunday's show features footage of Winehouse and Bennett recording together this year.
By Gil Kaufman
He was likely one of the last people to ever record with late singer Amy Winehouse, and now legendary singer Tony Bennett will pay tribute to the legacy of late Video Music Awards nominee Winehouse during a very special segment at the 2011 VMAs.
Bennett, whose last VMA appearance was in 1993, will introduce the tribute, which includes footage of him recording "Body and Soul" with Winehouse this past March at Abbey Road Studios in London.
"It was a thrill to record with Amy Winehouse, and when you listen to the recording of 'Body and Soul,' it is a testament to her artistic genius and her brilliance as one of the most honest musicians I have ever known," Bennett said in a statement.
The single and video will be released by Columbia Records on September 14, Amy's birthday, in support of the Amy Winehouse Foundation, established by the late singer's family to help a number of charities connected with children and young people. The song will also appear on Bennett's Duets II, out September 20.
"Our family is honored that the VMAs are giving Amy this wonderful tribute," Mitch Winehouse, Amy's father, said in a statement. "We know that Amy's performance of 'Rehab' at the MTV Movie Awards played an important part in Amy's worldwide success."
Winehouse, known for the depth and power of her soulful voice, will be remembered by fans and peers for her awe-inspiring talent and classic hits such as "Rehab," "Back to Black," "Me & Mr. Jones," and "You Know I'm No Good." She died last month at the age of 27 of yet-undisclosed causes in her London apartment. On Tuesday (August 23), Winehouse's family released a statement saying that toxicology reports found no traces of illegal substance in her system.
Bennett joins a roster of such performers as Lady Gaga, Adele, Bruno Mars, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Pitbull and Ne-Yo and Young the Giant. British pop phenom Jessie J, will serve as the night's house artist and Selena Gomez has signed on as the celebrity host of the awards' pre-show black carpet special.
A number of other top names have also been added to the growing list of presenters at the show, including Nicki Minaj, Taylor Lautner, Drake, Joe Jonas, Jared Leto, Kevin Hart, and comedian JB Smoove of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm. They join previously announced presenters Gomez, Seth Rogen, Kim Kardashian, Rick Ross and Odd Future.
The 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards will air live Sunday from Los Angeles at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following the Selena Gomez-hosted pre-show at 8. See the list of nominees, revisit last year's highlights and vote for your favorites in the general categories by visiting VMA.MTV.com.