Although it’s hard to remember a world without Gaga, she hasn’t been famous for all that long. In fact, she came on the scene in 2008 with her debut album The Fame. Although her first hit was “Just Dance”, I didn’t take note of her until her second hit, “Poker Face”, was every other song on the radio.
As intended, the Lady Gaga name struck me as unusual, and I remembered it. My first association was with goo-goo-ga-ga baby talk. Then, it reminded me of the slang use of “gaga” as a synonym for infatuated, i.e. “John was going gaga over his new girlfriend.”
But, both of these casual associations were contradicted by the stately title of Lady – a unique and unexpected word pairing. The name of the single “Poker Face” was quite memorable as well. I liked the song and thought it was catchy, but because of her whimsical name, I assumed that she was a run-of-the-mill pop star with limited talent and even more limited staying power. Boy, was that judgment wrong.
Let me clarify – Lady Gaga is AMAZING. We’re often sidetracked by her fashion statements, which are actually thought-provoking. For example, her meat dress at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards was actually a protest against the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (the connection is not readily apparent, but click here for the longer explanation). And her Diet Coke can hair curlers had an environmental message (saving her in-flight Coke cans until she could recycle them). I guess what I’m saying is that she’s not an airhead who relies on digital voice alteration to create pop hits – but does her name reflect that?
A few months ago on The View, Lady Gaga sang while playing the piano. She had a distracting outfit on but when she performed, none of that mattered. Individually, her piano playing and singing were both strong, but the combined effect was unreal. That day, I came to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter what Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta calls herself, her talent knows no bounds.
If you’re wondering how she got the name Lady Gaga, the story goes like this: Stefani was working with producer Rob Fusari in 2006, and her dramatic style and vocals reminded him of Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen. Each day, he would greet her by singing the Queen song “Radio Gaga.” He sent her a text message in which auto-correct changed the words “Radio Gaga” to “Lady Gaga.” She latched on to that name from that day forward. Conflicting reports say the name was actually just a result of a marketing meeting. The Fusari text message story is so farfetched, my inclination is to believe it. But, I guess we’ll never know for sure.
In more recent news, Gaga won an injunction preventing the release of a single by a cartoon character named Lady Goo Goo. Personally, I think her name lends itself to this type of mockery. But to be fair, this company has other star parodies such as Dustbin Beaver and Broccoli Spears. Still, Lady Gaga has been the only one to take legal action.
So, in the end, could Lady Gaga have picked a better name? Probably. Does it matter? Not when you have talent like that. At least she’s not named LMFAO . . .
Overall Grade: B