We're the first to admit that most artists need to take inspiration from someone. After all, you can't deny the images and people you've been exposed to throughout your life. Inspiration is one thing, but calculated thievery is another. The following artists have undoubtedly influenced Miss Gaga in one form or another, but we'll leave it up to you to decide whether she intentionally lifted their ideas for her own gain.
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From her off-the-wall outfits to her gender-bending stage antics, Peaches was doing what Lady Gaga has come to popularize many years before Gaga even made a name for herself. She was rocking strap-ons and stage blood long before Gaga was able to repackage the formula. The sexuality of Peaches’ music and live shows are another huge element that Gaga seemed to sample from. Since the release of her official 2000 debut The Teaches of Peaches, the Canadian-born artist made a serious name for herself breaking down rock cliches by changing what we were all used to seeing a woman do onstage. Awkward crotch-grabbing was also in full effect. Sound familiar?
6. David Bowie
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Like a number of people on this list, David Bowie is one of the more innovative artists of all time. Bowie combined gender-bending images with groundbreaking studio work to bring audiences one of the most unique pop stars ever. At least Lady Gaga only took a very small part from Bowie’s large playbook. What Lady G decided to grab from Bowie was his ability to create controversy through androgynous makeup, theatrical live shows, and untamed sexuality. Many would argue that the difference between the two is that Bowie cared as much about his music as he did about his image.
5. Róisín Murphy
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For those that don’t know (and that's probably all of you), Róisín Murphy is an Irish singer-songwriter who produces and performs electronic music. Róisín became a household name for Gaga fans back in 2009 when numerous music blogs started accusing Gaga of stealing a large number of Murphy’s pop tricks. After further review of the evidence, the similarities between the two artists are seriously scary. Numerous sites posted pictures of the two musicians side by side and some claimed that foul play was involved. Róisín’s 2007 video for the electro jam “Overpowered” might be the most stunning evidence of all. Not only is her music quite similar to Gaga’s, her outfits are almost identical. If you ask Murphy herself she doesn't pull any punches. She stated to the Irish Central: "Lady Gaga is just a poor imitation of me. She has copied my style."
4. Elton John
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Any outlandish piano-popper owes a ton to Elton John. It's true that legends like Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis helped open doors for many musicians to express themselves artistically, but once they did, Sir Elton Hercules John helped create some of the greatest pop compositions ever made. His creative output over the past four decades is simply staggering. Lady Gaga has attempted to follow in his footsteps with a slew of over-the-top shades and unplugged piano performances of some of her biggest hits.
Elton and Gaga have performed together, and she’s very good at picking from legendary artists and reworking the things that made them unique into her act. We supposed that's a skill of some kind.
3. Kate Bush
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Kate Bush has always been an original and there’s no doubt that Gaga witnessed this magic at some point in her life and maybe even decided that she wanted to recreate what Bush started. When listening to and watching everything Kate Bush put out in the late-‘70s and ‘80s it’s hard to not assume that it's where Gaga got some of her best ideas for costumes and videos. I know I’m not alone when I say that Kate Bush was the first musician I thought of the when Gaga burst onto the pop scene back in 2008.
2. Grace Jones
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On style alone, Lady Gaga owes a great deal to Grace Jones. The woman is a straight-up original and undeniably helped pave the way for people like Gaga to express themselves artistically. The only problem here is that Gaga might have bitten off a little more Grace Jones than she can chew. Gaga asked Jones to collaborate with her, but Grace turned her down. “Yes, she did, but I said no,” Grace said. “I’d just prefer to work with someone who is more original and someone who is not copying me, actually.”
According to Jones, it’s one thing to take inspiration from someone, but it’s a completely different story when you copy an entire act.
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From her look, attitude, and all-around "artistic" output, Lady Gaga has pretty much copied Madonna from day one. A lot of rumblings about the striking similarites were brought up very early in Gaga’s career, but her video for “Alejandro” was too close to La Isla Bonita. Pretty much everything in the entire video is straight out of Madonna’s playbook.
We all know Madonna always tried to push the envelope and get as many eyes on her as possible with radical PR stunts, but you can still listen to Get Into the Groove and enjoy it. Will the same thing be said decades from now about Poker Face? Only time will tell.