Lady Gaga’s a very polarizing figure. Understandably.
Her music isn’t for everybody. Her pop stuff is a little over the top at times, especially of late. Her public appearance and outfits (unless you’re Feitelberg) are definitely over the top.
She came out the gates in 2008 blazing hot with “Just Dance” (shout out Akon) and has been a household name ever since. In 2014 she released a duets album with Tony Bennett that was tremendous. She followed that up with a movie that was hard not to love. Even after her incredible work in A Star Is Born it feels like some people still aren’t all-in on her. Which is hard for me to understand because if somebody that works their ass off and racks up Grammy (12) and Oscar awards while staying true to themselves isn’t worthy of respect then who is?
On the other side of things you have the Gaga fanatics. Her “Little Monsters” as they’re called. A tribe somehow more devout and rabid to their leader than even Beyonce’s Beyhive. As in love with her for her music as they are for outspokenness and advocacy for human rights, gender rights, and gay rights.
But let them catch you slipping by using Gaga’s name the wrong way, like Adam Levine did in 2013, and you’ll never hear the end of it. To quote the late Jamie O’Grady (R.I.P.)– “they’ve found a way to weaponize social media”.
The point of this blog is, no matter which side you find yourself on when it comes to Lady Gaga the singer, actress, fashion maven, etc. we all owe her props for the work she’s done over the last few weeks putting together a collaborative event scheduled for April 18th, One World: Together at Home.
A couple weeks ago while Gaga (real name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) was sitting around like the rest of us watching her celebrities have public melt downs on social media, due to having to spend time with themselves, she decided to do something positive for the world.
She began reaching out to fellow musicians she was close with and friends of theirs. Many of whom were already doing instagram live performances on their own already. She began recruiting them for a Live-AID type show she wanted to put together. Once she had a couple marquee names on board she began reaching out to some big time tech companies and philanthropists to put some money up and back her idea. Once those companies and their money were involved the media followed. And by media we’re talking all the major networks.
The One World: Together At Home show will be simultaneously aired on April 18th at 8pm on ABC, CBS, NBC, MTV, Apple TV, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Prime Video, Twitch, Twitter, and others to follow.
She’s already raised $35 million in just the past week, which is amazing work. All funds will be going to help health care workers via the WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund.
All the money raised will go to support and equip healthcare workers on the front lines with adequate PPE and testing kits.
During a televised speech on C-Span Monday to the W.H.O. Gaga said,
"We are all so very grateful to all the health care professionals across the country and around the world who are on the front lines during COVID-19. This global pandemic is a catastrophe. I'm so thankful for them and I‘m praying for those who are sick. I would also like to send my prayers to those who are losing their jobs and having a hard time feeding themselves and their children. We are raising money for the World Health Organization Covid Solidarity Fund.”
Gaga made it clear the event will not be looking for telethon style donations from regular folks at home. The event is intended as entertainment for people bored and looking for something to take their mind off things. She stated, “Put your wallets away…and sit back and enjoy the show you all deserve.” However she is looking and expecting for more large corporations and donors to step up and pitch in.
To help with that she’s recruited Idris Elba and his wife who have both been diagnosed, Priyanka Chopra, Kerry Washington, and David Beckham. The special will also feature several segments featuring doctors and nurses from around the country explaining and showcasing what they’re dealing with on the front lines.
Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, and Jimmy Fallon will host the show in a joint effort.
As for the talent and featured performers new ones are being added almost daily but as of April 9th here’s a rundown of who she’s got performing besides herself.
SIR ELTON JOHN – Definitely one of the bigger big names on the list. Sir Elton definitely puts asses in the seats. And for good reason. Guy has hits like Pete Rose.
Elton John Fun Facts – 1st - in 1974 Elton and pal John Lennon had a bet that if Lennon’s song featuring Elton “Whatever Gets You Through The Night” went #1 Lennon would have to perform live with Elton. It did, and Lennon showed up and performed 3 songs with Elton at Madison Square Garden. His last ever live performance.
2nd – Elton and Rod Stewart hate each other.
3rd – On “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” it’s not mentioned in credits but it’s Stevie Wonder playing harmonica.
My favorite, most under-rated Elton song -
(Bonus Dante Elton John Guilty Pleasure)
EDDIE VEDDER – The Chicago Cubs platooner has nothing really going on with the season being on hold and all so he decided to pick up the microphone again to stay in shape. In all seriousness though Eddie Vedder on his worst day, streamed over a dial-up 56k modem (I’m guessing that’s how he rolls) will still sound infinitely better than just about anybody.
Eddie Vedder Fun Fact – Eddie originally wrote “Better Man” in 5th grade. 5th Fucking Grade. As part of an English class assignment. His dickhead Evanston grade school teacher gave him a B+ and said it was “too much of a downer to read.” He later moved with his family to San Diego where he re-wrote some of the song while in high school and that’s the version we’ve come to know and love today.
My favorite, and very under-rated Pearl Jam song
STEVIE WONDER – If you told me Stevie would be the only musician performing for the two hours I’d still have my DVR and reminder set. I don’t think people truly appreciate the genius that is Stevie Wonder. I’ll save the full blog for another day but just keep in mind this man released his first album when he was 12 years old, has been on the same original Motown label for his entire 53 year career, has won 25 Grammy’s, and played all instruments on almost all his albums. Can never get enough Stevie Wonder and we should all cherish him while he’s still here.
Stevie Wonder Fun Fact – As repayment to Smokey Robinson for bringing him to audition, Stevie Wonder wrote Smokey Billboard smash hit “Tracks of My Tears”.
If this song doesn’t make you happy you might be a cyborg
CHRIS MARTIN – The people’s choice. People fuckin love Chris Martin. Girls wanna fuck him. Guys wanna sing like him and be in a cool band like him. People fuckin love Coldplay. One of the biggest bands in the world.
It’s also trendy to claim to hate Coldplay. Don’t let anybody try to pretend they don’t love Coldplay. Everybody’s got those friends that love to call you homosexual or emo because you like certain songs or bands. Coldplay’s right at the top of that list.
But those people are lying to you and themselves. It’s their defense mechanism kicking in for fear that the world will know they fall asleep at night listening to “The Scientist” on repeat while watching a photo slideshow of them and their college ex.
Ever been to a Coldplay concert? Chris Martin is a mad man. He runs around for 3 hours straight doing sprints while singing PERFECTLY. No joke the guy might sound better live than recorded. And every show of theirs is like the Super Bowl Half Time Show. Confetti for days. Fireworks like the 4th of July. Visuals that leave you in awe. You can’t help but smile and have a blast.
Christ Martin Fun Facts- 1st - Chris Martin’s favorite band is a-ha of “Take On Me” fame.
2nd - Coldplay’s original name was “Starfish”.
3rd- Chris Martin loves to DJ and is obviously amazing at it because what can’t he do?
LIZZO – Love this addition. Lizzo seems like a legit down-to-earth, appreciative, and happy-to-be-here celebrity. She doesn’t take herself too seriously. Doesn’t really give a shit what people think about her, and makes absolute bangers. She was probably floored when Lady Gaga reached out and asked her to help out with this event. Good for Lizzo.
Lizzo Fun Fact- Lizzo collaborated with Prince in 2014 on his song “Boy Trouble” and she’s a classically trained flute player aka a “flautist”.
ANDREA BOCELLI – Bringing in the big guns for this one. Assuming the vast majority of the people reading this have never seen Andrea Bocelli in concert. I haven’t either. Know why? Because tickets are fucking impossible to get to see this man. Impossible. They’re not only astronomically high priced, they’re just not available period. You might have laughed this name off when you first saw it. “The Step Brothers” ending guy? Yah that guy. Same guy that’s sold 85 MILLION albums.
Andrea Bocelli Fun Fact – Like Rocky’s trainer Mick, Bocelli believes “women weaken legs.” So before performances there is a no sex rule for Andrea.
BILLIE EIILISH – Not my cup of tea. Sorry Nate. Definitely super talented. Great voice. Even greater middle name.
Billie Eilish Fun Fact – Her middle name is Pirate.
J BALVIN – Huge get. Huge, huge get by Gaga on this one. Maybe no big deal here for the whites but there is arguably no bigger name in the world of Latin music right now, besides maybe Bad Bunny, than J Balvin. We’re talking big as in billions of views and streams of his songs, not millions.
To the unfamiliar you know him from the hit “Despacito”. But he’s also on the new Black Eyed Peas heater “Ritmo” and was on Cardi B’s “I Like It”. Guy makes hits.
J Balvin Fun Fact – His favorite bands to listen to growing up were Nirvana, Metallica, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Stone Temple Pilots.
MALUMA – See above. The Latin music world doesn’t play around. This guys another giant in the game. To get familiar with his work watch his video below with fellow Columbian Shakira. She doesn’t wear much and does Shakira things in it.
Maluma Fun Facts- This is his girlfriend Natalia.
BILLIE JOE ARMSTRONG (of Green Day) – Wild card selection with this one. Definitely the potential here for Billie Joe going rogue and pulling a Kanye West “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”.
I love Green Day. I celebrate their entire catalogue. But I hate seeing them live because Billie Joe always feels the need to lecture crowds like he’s a professor at a Liberal Arts college and not a grunge rock legend.
Billie, nobody gives a shit what you think about what President (fill in the blank)’s views are towards (fill in the blank with an unheard of European country)’s stance on fossil fuel production. All politics suck, all politicians suck, having to talk about it sucks, and having to listen about it from entertainers REALLY sucks. Just shut up and play “Longview”.
Billie Joe Fun Fact- Greenday’s hit song “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” was originally supposed to be on all-time album Dookie. The track got cut because it didn’t fit in with the rest of the album’s material and seemed awkward no matter where it was arranged. (Remember, this was back in the days before everything was a single, and people still listened to albums front to back.) They left it off and eventually used it two albums later for Nimrod, and it became a critical and commercial smash.
LANG LANG – Gonna venture to guess the only guy I know personally who would know this name would be none other than Barstool Carl. Talented pianist game respect talented pianist game.
Who is Lang Lang you ask? Just “the worlds most famous, and bankable concert pianist.” Guy got his start at 12 playing packed stadiums around the globe. Debuted at Carnegie Hall at 18. He’s been called “the Tiger Woods of classical music.” Suffered a career threatening tendonitis injury to his hands that put things on hold temporarily but then came roaring back and is hotter than ever. Another big get here for Gaga. Building out a very well rounded lineup.
Lang Lang Fun Fact- Lang Lang was inspired to play the piano by a Tom and Jerry episode- “The Cat Concerto”.
KACEY MUSGRAVES – I can’t keep up with the whole Kacey Musgraves saga. I get that she’s hot but do people like her or think she’s a bitch? Feels like the public goes back and forth on this a lot or maybe I’m crazy. Regardless this is a big name to add to the list. Coming off an Album of The Year Grammy in 2019 to co-headlining a quarantine concert in 2020. Stay hot Kacey.
Kacey Musgraves Fun Fact – In 2015 Musgraves spent a night in concert performing alongside Maywood, Illinois Native John Prine, who passed away last night. White Sox Dave knocked out an awesome tribute blog to Prine this morning. So read that if you’re unfamiliar with the man. But the two swapped songs and stories for the entire show aboard a cruise ship. Including this rendition Musgraves did “Burn One with John Prine”.
ALANIS MORISSETTE – Now we’re fuckin talking. Most random name on the lineup? Possibly. Hottest name on the lineup? Definitely.
Fresh off dropping a new baby in May (at 45 years old!), announcing her first album in almost a decade (drops in 3 weeks), and had her own Broadway show hot in the streets until everything was shut down, and an upcoming worldwide summer tour. Alanis has it going on right now. Don’t act like Lady Gaga doesn’t know what she’s doing. Find me a hole or weak spot so far in this lineup. You can’t.
Alanis Morissette Fun Facts- Too many good ones
1st – Alanis opened for Vanilla Ice on his 1990 world tour.
2nd - She was in an episode of You Can’t Do That On Television on Nickelodeon back in the day.
3rd- Millenials will have no clue what this means but remember hidden tracks on CDs? Well at the end of Jagged Little Pill there’s a hidden alternative version of “You Outghta Know” followed by another hidden a cappella track titled “Your House”. Speaking of “You Outghta Know”, everybody knows it was written about Uncle Joey from Full House (Dave Coulier) but not many know that it’s Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea on drums and Dave Navarro on guitar on the recording.
KEITH URBAN – This guy. Always been so confused by this guy. No debate he puts out bangers. Country fan or not, his songs get the blood flowing. “Blue Aint Your Color”, “Long Hot Summer”, “John Cougar..” all jams. I’m not the biggest country fan in the world but I always knew these songs and the name. Then I saw the face. What is going on there? The plastic surgery and eye liner? That’s not country. Is it? Then last year he dropped one of the best pop-songs of the year with Carrie Underwood, “The Fighter”. If you think that’s a country song you’re delusional. Fantastic song but as pop/top 40 as it gets. So is he even country now? Also, he’s from New Zealand? When I first heard that it reminded me of the old Pace Picante commercials. (New Zealand??)
Keith Urban Fun Fact – Keith appeared in Playgirl magazine in 2001. Yah.
Also he is an avid bowler and claims to be pretty good.
BURNA BOY – Google, who is Burna Boy?
Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, known professionally as Burna Boy, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. He rose to prominence in 2012 after releasing "Like to Party", the lead single from his debut studio album L.I.F.E.
Burna Boy Fun Fact – His inspiration growing up was DMX. That plays. This guy is cool in my book.
JOHN LEGEND – Not to make this blog about me but I'm conflicted on John Legend. I used to be a huge John Legend fan. Back when Kanye was coming up and actually paying attention to his boys, John Legend, Lupe, and Consequence were just as popular in Chicago. (BTW they were ALL in Twista's shadow) He was on everything mixtape wise it seemed. Like a Midwest version of Nate Dogg. (The Slum Village track “Selfish” still remains one of his and Kanye’s best songs ever don’t care what you say.)
Then he officially signed with GOOD Music, released Get Lifted and blew up. Still loved the guy, his voice, his throwback style. Super talented. Talent coming out of his ears.
Talent to the point John Legend turned down scholarship offers from Harvard, and Georgetown to attend UPenn. He graduated magna cum laude 2 years early because he skipped 2 grades in elementary school. After graduating he was hired by prestigious Boston Consulting Group where he worked 60 hour weeks during the day and then spent his nights focusing on his music. He did this for years before he met Kanye West.
Then he married Chrissy Teigan and it’s like he lost his fastball. He’s released two studio albums and a Christmas album since being married with one hit between the three of them. “All of Me”. A song to her. An all time wedding song and jam for sure, he’s long overdue for another. Not saying she sucked the talent out of the guy but not not saying it either.
John Legend Fun Fact – Despite graduating from University of Pennsylvania he’s a huge OSU Buckeyes fan.
SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY – Saved the best for last. That’s the one Marv, that’s the silver tuna. This man founded the most successful band in world history, The Beatles (ever heard of them?), shared co-lead vocal duties with John Lennon, and slapped the bass. This man is 78 years old and still tours.
I got the opportunity to see him in 2018 at ACL in Austin and was dumbfounded. I’ve seen the Stones, The Who, and Springsteen live and they all put on incredible, energetic shows, especially for their ages. But McCartney was in his own league. The guy is so old yet ran around pumping the crowd up like he was in his 20s. Started chants, claps, whole shebang. In between songs he told fascinating backstories about the songs, his band mates in both The Beatles and Wings, and just his life in general. One of those guys you see in concert that if they just talked the whole time and never sang you wouldn’t be mad.
But he does sing. His shows are 2+ hours long. He does every Beatles song you can think of. In entirety. He does "Live and Let Die" (with pyro). It’s insane. The guy still loves to perform and entertain and he’s damn good at it even at 78.
He is music royalty (literally) and I’m sure when Lady Gaga reached out about joining the cause he couldn’t say yes fast enough.
Paul McCartney Fun Fact – Paul McCartney attempted to give his song “Yesterday” to singer Chris Farlowe after writing it but Farlowe turned it down saying thanks but no thanks because he thought it was “too soft”. Idiot.
I hope if you were on the fence about tuning in for this event on April 18th this blog may have convinced you to. Lots of talent packed in to two hours all to benefit the great humanitarians in our hospitals sacrificing their own health to take care of us and our family members. More names will surely be added as this picks up steam and more money will hopefully be raised.
Gaga’s closing statement about the event is one I think we all share the sentiment of, “We want to highlight the gravity of this historical, unprecedented cultural movement … and we want to celebrate and encourage the power of the human spirit.”
Well said, and well done Lady Gaga.
Tune in on the 18th at 8PM. It’s not like you have anything better to do.
For more info - https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/connect/togetherathome/