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A Brief History of Lady Gaga, Metalhead


American pop superstar Lady Gaga performed “Moth into the Flame” with Metallica on Sunday, February 12 during this year’s Grammy awards ceremony. The performance was met with mostly negative responses from Metallica’s side of the fandom aisle (and from Eddie Trunk), in part because during the live broadcast James Hetfield’s vocal microphone was not audible for the first part of the song, and also because presenter Laverne Cox failed to acknowledge Metallica at the beginning of the performance. Metallica themselves acknowledged the flub at their performance at The Palladium later that night.

In spite of the blowback, the Metallica and Gaga collaboration may not end. According to an interview in Rolling Stone, Lars Ulrich called Gaga “a quintessential fifth member of this band”, and added that he and the members of Metallica “already started fast-forwarding to the next chapter when we can do more of this”. The possibility of such a collaboration seems remote, but also far from impossible. Both parties have performed – and recorded full length collaborations with – other artists before.

Color me hesitantly optimistic. My associate Ian Cory covered the merits of the Metallica/Gaga collab in greater detail, and I agree with his assessment. To these ears the issued with the Gaga/Metallica performance were technical and had more to do with the staged nature of the event than either party. A web-only broadcast with Hetfield’s vocals intact offers a glimpse at the four horseman plus one horsewoman in full Warlock mode, albeit surrounded by faux moshers and recorded with poor sound quality. While Metallica’s record at collaborations is hit and miss (or hit and hit) Gaga’s is pretty gosh darn spectacular.

The biggest hurdle to such a project’s success could be Metallica’s fans themselves, who tend to treat any move by the band away from strict heavy metal as a trojan horse and, judging by comments on our Facebook and Twitter feeds, seem to view Gaga with disgust and suspicion.

What those readers may not know, however, is that Lady Gaga is probably the most high profile pro-metal celebrity making hit records today. An out and proud metalhead, she has a long track record of celebrating and working with heavy metal that goes deeper than the aesthetics modern celebrities more often dabble in.

Respectfully submitted on the off-chance that anyone missed the memo, and also as a future one-stop resource, here is a brief history of Lady Gaga, Metalhead.

May 2009

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Lady Gaga releases a short film-style music video for the song “Paparazi” from her debut album The Fame. The video is directed by Jonas Åkerlund, the former drummer of Bathory.

December 2009


Lady Gaga poses in a norwegian black metal style in a promotional photograph for The Fame Monster EP.

February 2010


The second leg of the Monster Ball Tour begins. The elaborate stage show evokes stock metal imagery including ravens and, at its climax, a large tentacled fish monster which resembles longtime metal cliche Chthulhu.

March 2010

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Lady Gaga releases the music video to “Telephone”. It is also directed by Jonas Åkerlund. In it she wears a leather jacket with a G.I.S.M. back patch.

August 2010

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Lady Gaga Headlines Lolapalooza. She and previous performance partner Lady Starlgiht gogo dance while Metallica’s “Metal Milita” plays.

May 2011


Lady Gaga releases the album Born This Way. It’s cover is reminiscent of Judas Rriest’s album art for both Painkiller and Defenders of the Faith. It contains the song “Heavy Metal Lover”.

March 2014

Lady Gaga Attends SXSW. There, she is photographed watching Lazer/Wulf.

July 2014


Lady Gaga tours with Babymetal as an opening act.

October 2014

Lady Gaga answers questions in a Reddit AMA. She names “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath as her favorite metal song.

June 2015

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Lady Gaga performs Van Halen’s “Panama” with The Dirty Pearls at The Gramercy Theater in New York.

August 2015

In an interview with Cr Fashion Book Lady Gaga says “I always used to say to people, when they would say, ‘Oh, she’s the next Madonna.’ No, I’m the next Iron Maiden.”

September 2016

Lady Gaga releases “Perfect Illusion”, the first single from her album Joanne. Former Kyuss guitarist and Queens of the Stone Age leader Josh Homme performs guitar on the song.

February 2017

The Moth & Metallica ——->#ink #tattoo #MothIntoFlame #MetalliGa #metal #grammys @metallica A post shared by xoxo, Joanne (@ladygaga) on

Lady Gaga posts to Instagram a photo a back tattoo inspired by “Moth Into Flame” by Metallica (or the last Death Angel album… maybe).

February 2017

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As mentioned in the introduction, this happens.

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