A Salute to Lady Gaga And Her Many Career-Defining Moments

A Salute to Lady Gaga And Her Many Career-Defining Moments

On the eve of Lady Gaga's "Perfect Illusion" release, we look back at the superstar's most major moments

On the eve of Lady Gaga's "Perfect Illusion" release, we look back at the superstar's most major moments

JUST DANCE—The track that introduced Stefani Germanotta as Lady Gaga to the entire world in 2008. Given the singer's massive tracks that quickly followed, it might be easy to forget where it all started, but the importance of "Just Dance" can't be understated.

THE FIRST COVER—After a fateful meeting between Lady Gaga and Editor in Chief Stephen Gan, V was lucky enough to claim Lady Gaga's first fashion magazine cover in the fall of 2009—the first of many. The rest of the fashion world quickly followed suit after a launch party for the issue with Marc Jacobs introduced her to the industry. The cover line on that issue could not have been more true: "It's Lady Gaga's World...We're Just Living In It!"

BAD ROMANCE—This was hardly Gaga's first music video, but it was absolutely the one that cemented her as the fashion icon she would become, dropping just a few months after her V61 cover. Notably, it's when her relationship with the late Alexander McQueen was immortalized; in the video's final scenes, Gaga steps out in a head to look from the designer's other-worldly "Plato's Atlantis" collection. In a word, it was MAJOR.

PAPARAZZI LIVE AT THE 2009 VMAs— Believe it or not, the VMAs used to be a platform for pop culture-creating moments, like Gaga's "Paparazzi" performance that ended with the singer swinging from a rope and covered in blood. It was a clear sign of just how much she was willing to sacrifice for her art. It was also astonishing. In 2009, Lady Gaga was only 23 years old.

TELEPHONE WITH BEYONCE—ThE 2010 video saw the coming together or two future mega-stars, and also the first of Gaga's many long-form music videos. Both Beyonce and Gaga were at the tipping point of superstardom and together they launched themselves into the atmosphere. "Telephone" was provocative, campy, and fierce: all the ingredients that make Gaga a star.

THE MEAT DRESS—Arguably, Gaga's 2010 VMAs dress made of meat is the most infamous ensemble to ever be worn on the red carpet. Is there any other musician who would even dare such a thing? Food poisoning aside, this dress was sickening.

THE EGG—Sometimes the best entrance an artist can make doesn't even include them. At the 2011 Grammys, Gaga arrived in an egg with a latex-clad entourage to carry her down the red carpet. At the time, it was perplexing, but it all made sense after she crawled out of it to perform "Born This Way."

BORN THIS WAY—The previous segues perfectly into the next career high: "Born This Way." The love yourself anthem of universal acceptance launched a cultural movement. With one infectious track, Gaga introduced a simple, easily understood phrase that would change coming out conversations for the next generation.

VERSACE—Simple slayage is not easy, but Donatella Versace, Lady Gaga, and Mert & Marcus make it look like a breeze for this Versace campaign. After seeing the photos, one has to ask what took so long?

G.U.Y.—Around the same time as her Versace campaign broke in the spring of 2014, Gaga released an equally Donatella-esque short film for the ARTPOP single, "G.U.Y." Set in at Hearst Castle, the video featured reality TV show cast members of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and pieces by artist Nathan Sawaya and YouTube's SkyDoesMinecraft. For anyone who was confused by ARTPOP, this 11-minute video pretty much said it all, combining elements of fine art, pop culture, and of course, good dance music.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY—Professionaly or not, Lady Gaga has always been an actress. With American Horror Story, Gaga's longtime dream became a reality. We could tell you how good the performance was or we could point out that for her role she won a Golden Globe.

THE EDITOR—The relationship between Lady Gaga and V goes way back, and has seen five separate appearances on the covers in the following years. In interim issues, she would write a letter on the state of fashion and her art, dubbed the Gaga Memos, which angered more than one fashion critic—though that seemed to be the point. For V99, Gaga took up the role as Guest Editor, giving us a record-breaking 16 covers. Of course, that role won her another award—this time, from the Daily Front Row.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC TRIBUTE—Truthfully, the Oscars can be a bit of a snooze once the pretty dresses have all made their way down the red carpet, so when Lady Gaga hit the stage to perform a medley of tracks as a tribute to The Sound of Music it was quite the treat. Here, Gaga's vocals are on full display and damn does she nail that ending.

PERFECT ILLUSION—Okay, this one might be a bit presumptuous considering the track/video isn't even out yet, but one can dream. It has been 3 years since Gaga last promoted a pop album (assuming that's what we'll receive), so to see the promotional rollout begin is utterly thrilling. Considering the stripped-down aesthetic of the photo above and the track's cover art, we're likely witnessing a new aesthetic era for the artist, one free of costumes and places to hide.

Credits: COVER PHOTO: LADY GAGA BY INEZ & VINOODH FOR V85, SEPTEMBER 2013.

UP NEXT

Yeezy Season 4: An Afternoon of Triumphs, and Trials, For Kanye West