Through his remarkable career that spanned eight decades, Tony Bennett, who died Friday at 96, not only set the mark for delivering pop standards with pop and verve, he encouraged and performed with a number of young singers along the way from very different fields, from k.d. lang to Lady Gaga.

And he had Amy Winehouse in the studio for a duet in what turned out to be her last recording session. 

“She was a big fan of mine, and I was very surprised because she’s so young,” Bennett told reporters at a TV Critics Association press tour in 2012. Winehouse told him that when she won her Grammy, she was most excited about the fact that Bennett had announced it.

Bennett kept her in mind when it came time to record “Duets II,” a No. 1 album that had him crooning with everyone from Norah Jones to Carrie Underwood.

He chose Winehouse to join him on “Body and Soul” because she was someone who really sang “traditionally correct,” he said. ““She just had the gift of knowing how to sing as good, and was influenced by, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald.” 

Bennett, who Frank Sinatra once called “the best singer in the business,” had a graciousness when it came to sharing the microphone and heaping praise onto younger singers. Lady Gaga, too, he said, had “a touch of genius,” he said at the press conference. “She’s highly intelligent, highly creative. She knows so much about performing. She sings magnificent.”

I asked Bennett if the young duet partners weren’t also intimidated by sharing the microphone with a singing legend of so many decade’s standing.