In today’s installment of “Lady Gaga Is More Talented Than People Often Give Her Credit For,” we share Mother Monster’s best live cover performances, featuring all the class, sass, and bone-chilling vocals you can handle.
Following Gaga’s incredible performance of John Lennon‘s “Imagine” last week, we felt compelled to compile a list of the many other instances in which Gaga wowed us with a cover. We ended up selecting 12 of her absolute best covers, some of which are inarguably iconic. Below, in no particular order, we present these chill-inducing live moments for your aural and viewing pleasure.
1) Seated at a piano draped in flowers and in the simple white dress of an angel, Gaga performed Lennon’s “Imagine” (not for the first time) during the opening ceremony of the inaugural European Games to rapturous applause and acclaim.
2) Gaga stole the show and won universal acclaim for her performance of a medley of songs from Sound of Music at the 2015 Academy Awards. Surprisingly, people were surprised at the level of vocal talent Gaga displayed, but fans, though also in awe, were like, “Um, where have you all been?”
3) In May, during Gaga and Tony Bennett‘s Cheek to Cheek tour, Gaga busted out a cover of Édith Piaf‘s signature song, “La Vie En Rose,” and absolutely nailed it. J’adore!
4) Always having been somewhat of an undercover rockstar, Gaga took the stage with the Rolling Stones in 2012 and obliterated a rendition of “Gimme Shelter” — Mick Jagger moves and all. The only criticism we have? Gaga’s light-up fiber optic wig didn’t get its due shine.
5) During her ARTRAVE tour, Gaga brought out a partial cover of Whitney Houston‘s eternal classic, “I Will Always Love You.” Not a dry eye in the house.
6) The most avant garde entry on this list would have to be Gaga’s 2010 performance of Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band‘s “The Sun Is Down,” which, while predictably weird, really highlights the power and range of her voice.
7) By this point, you should know that Gaga + jazz standards = a gift from the heavens. Here she is singing “Orange Colored Sky” in 2011:
8) Gaga and Elton John are very close — she’s the godmother to his children! — and have collaborated several times over the years. At the 2010 Grammys, Gaga and John performed a mashup of her “Speechless” and his “Your Song.” In 2013, the pair got together again for holiday special during which they performed his “Bennie and the Jets” and her “ARTPOP.” Watch both below.
9) This performance of “Bang Bang” is arguably more famous, but the one we selected for inclusion in this list is, in our opinion, even more powerful. Maybe it’s the intimate venue. Maybe it’s the arrangement. Maybe it’s the absence of her giant and distracting curly wig. Whatever it is, this “Bang Bang” performance had our jaws on our desks.
10) For someone who took her stage name from a Queen song, it sure took Gaga a long time to do a proper Queen cover. She didn’t do “Radio Ga Ga,” but she did join Adam Lambert and Queen for “Another One Bites the Dust.” There’s almost too much amazingness going on in this clip.
11) It can be argued that Gaga never sounds better than when she’s performing the classic rock she grew up admiring. In the clip below, she takes Sting‘s “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You” and really makes a case for that very argument.
12) During an event at which Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, and Ed Sheeran performed, Gaga’s performance at the Stevie Wonder tribute concert in February 2015 managed to stand out. Obviously, considering the everyone else who took the stage, that is saying something. (We couldn’t find a full-length video, so you will have to deal with just the audio, which is stellar.)
BONUS: So, this cover of 4 Non Blondes‘ “What’s Up” is perhaps not the absolute best — Gaga gets a little screamy — but it’s entertaining.
Did we forget one of your favorite Gaga covers? Let us have it in the comments, or perhaps consider channeling your energy into something more positive. #PromoteOnlineKindness, maybe? Just kidding. But do let us know if there is a song you would love to hear Gaga cover one day, and do not say “Express Yourself.”