The Fame MonsterEdit
2009 was the year of Lady Gaga. The only person able to hold a candle to her saleswise was one Susan Boyle. While Subo may struggle to replicate her success again, Lady Gaga has already started 2010 with a number one single, the highly eroticised martial machinations of Bad Romance.
She was nominated for five Grammys (winning two), has been appointed a creative director at Polaroid and in February she played to nearly 100,000 people on the Monster Ball tour in the UK. Oh, and she’s still only 23.
But then things have always moved pretty fast for Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. (born March 28, 1986 in New York). She was playing piano by four and performing in bars in New York City at 14, while attending the same convent a Paris Hilton. She was one of only 20 people to be admitted one year early to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts at 17 and had been signed (and dropped) by major label Def Jam by 19.
Her early shows took place in the clubs and bars of NYC in early 2006, billed as the Stefani Germanotta Band. They were a mix of original material and her own take on heavy rock songs by Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. After her band fizzled out that year there was a radical change in direction. She became heavily influenced by glam rockers David Bowie and Queen. Her new moniker was adapted from the Queen song Radio Gaga, because her producer thought her mannerisms echoed those of Freddy Mercury.
In early 2007, she started playing with key influences, performance artist Lady Starlight, as Lady Gaga & The Starlight Revenue. They made their own costumes, billing themselves as The Ultimate Pop Burlesque Rock Show. After seeing one of her shows, her father briefly stopped talking to her. "He thought I was nuts," Gaga later said. "For my father, it was an issue of insanity. Lady Starlight recalled: "Our show was a postmodern pastiche of my heavy metal record collection and style juxaposed with Gaga's pop songs and charismatic stage presence. The result was pretty phenomenal. I spun Gaga's beats, she rocked on the keyboard, and we had lyrical dance breaks to heavy rock and metal. All while wearing our underwear!"
Gaga's websites how, at early Lower East Side Shows she "would strip down to her hand-crafted hot pants and bikini top, light cans of hairspray on fire, and strike a pose as a disco ball lowered from the ceiling to the orchestral sounds of A Clockwork Orange."
By now, a hot New York club act, they were invited to play at Lollapalooza in Chicago in 2007, an infamous show which garnered positive reviews. While there, Gaga posed for an early "celebrity" photo shoot for the prestigious W Magazine, which described how her and Starlight were "by turns dazzling and shocking audiences with their wild performance, a romp of provocative go-go moves set to catchy tunes and beatbox drums."
Gaga's hot pants proved too much for some. Protestations that she was an "artist" and it was "fashion" were met with Chicago police citation for indecent exposure.
But positive reviews continued and she eventually signed solo record and publishing deals with Streamline/Interscope, Sony Music Publishing and Akon's label Kon Live Distribution in 2007. As she set to work on her debut album, the stage was set for a whirlwind ascent to super stardom beginning with the release of Just Dance in the summer of 2008. It was a classic sleeper hit, taking nearly sixth months to get to No. 1 in America in January 2009. Just one year later, Gaga has conquered the world and already left a trail of rarities and collectables in her wake.
Almost from day one, Gaga's release has been issued in a bewildering array of different formats, with alternative tracklisting and artwork. Gaga has embraced the idea of collectable releases that represent the strong visual aspects of art. She explained her philosophy in a press conference at an HMV signing session:
"You can download an MP3 but you can not download a lifestyle. And the culture of music - the visuals behind the music and the dream of my show and what I believe in about performance and pop music - that's what compells the people to buy the hard album, and eat it, and smell it, and taste it."
This approach has fans' pulses racing, setting collectors items on a lengthly, expensive and sometimes confusing quest to collect Gaga goodies around the world. There are a countless number of CDR remixes, bootlegs and unoffical picture discs. that have not been included here.
While Gaga releases have been promoted, particularly in Asia & South America, with a variety of items, it's debatable how much of these have had to do with Lady Gaga or Interscope, so have not been included either; so the Colombia-only Lady Gaga board game and the India-only umbrella have not made the cut. Perhaps another time.
So here, in reverse order, is the list of the Top 25 bona fide Lady Gaga collectables from around the world so far.
25. LoveGame, Australian CD Single £10
24. Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say), French CD Single £10
23. Paparazzi The Remixes, US 12" single £12
22. The Fame, US SD card £15
21. Poker Face The Remixes, US 12" Single white label $15
20. Christmas Tree, One Track Promo CD £15
19. The DJ Vice Megamix, US Promo CD £20
18. Poker Face, French CD Single £20
17. Beautiful, Dirty, Rich, Brazilian CD promo single £20
16. The Hitmixes, Canadian CD £20
15. The Fame Monster, US two-side picture disc LP £25
14. The Fame, UK CD in HMV slipcase £25
13. Poker Face, Australian CD single £30
12. The Fame, Japanese limited edition CD/DVD £30
11. Just Dance: The Remixes, US 12" promo single, pink vinyl £35
10. The Fame, German limited edition £40
9. Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say), Australian CD Single £40
8. The Cherrytree Session, US CD EP £60
7.Dirty Rich, demo CD £60
6.Kandy Life, demo CD £75
5. The Fame Monster super deluxe edition, US book/2-CD £140
4. The Fame, USB album £140
3. Just Dance, UK promo finger dance mat £200
2. The Stefani Germanotta Band, Red & Blue EP £250
1. Stefani Germanotta, Words demo CD £500
With thanks to
- "MD" at GagaFrontRow
- Lady Gaga's website
- Collaborative fan project "Gagapedia"
- Lady Starlight's website
- Pop Justice