Even Gaga likes the classics

Lady Gaga and Brandon Flowers, lead singer of the Killers

I am always listening for classic movie information, facts or references. Imagine my surprise while listening to my two favorite musical artists, Lady Gaga and The Killers, when I ran across some classic film references.

I’m not talking about the old worn out “Bette Davis Eyes” where the whole song is dedicated to one actor, but these are subtle lyrics mentioning favorite actors.

It gives me joy that Lady Gaga and Brandon Flowers must have some respect for classic Hollywood. It seems so many of the people in Hollywood don’t care about the past or are unaware. Without the James Cagneys and Bette Davises, the actors in Hollywood wouldn’t have the freedom they exercise now.

“The Ballad of Michael Valentine” by The Killers from the Sawdust album:
“But I’ve got a buzz like Marlon Brando straight faced with misery tonight”
“But I’ve got a buzz like Greta Garbo walking fowards in the sun”

“Romeo and Juliet” covered by the Killers on the Sawdust album:
“There’s a place for us, you know the movie song”
-talking about “West Side Story

•”A Dustland Fairytale” by the Killers on the Day & Age album:
“‘Moon River’ what you do to me, but I don’t believe you…”
-Mentions the theme from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s
The video seems to be modeled after “Rebel Without a Cause” or “West Side Story” with the switch blade gang fighting.

• “Speechless” by Lady Gaga from The Fame Monster album:
“With your James Dean glossy eyes In your tight jeans with your long hair”
“I can’t believe how you looked at me with your Johnnie Walker eyes”
-I actually had to look up who Johnnie Walker was. He was an actor in the 1920’s and 1930s
and he died in 1949.

• “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga from The Fame Monster album:
“I want your psycho, Your vertigo stick, Want you in my rear window, Baby you’re sick”
-Huge Hitchcock reference talking about “Psycho,” “Vertigo” and “Rear Window.” I
heard in an interview that she was sighting imperfect film romances and saying that she
would take your imperfections and still love you anyways.

• “Dance in the Dark” by Lady Gaga from The Fame Monster album:
“Marilyn, Judy, Sylvia, Tellem’ how you feel girls!”
-Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and I’m assuming Sylvia Plath
“Work your blonde (Jean) Benet Ramsey, We’ll haunt like Liberace, find your freedom in the music find your Jesus, find your Kubrick”
-Pianist Liberace and director Stanley Kubrick

Kim Novak, the Lavender Blonde

• “So Happy I Could Die” by Lady Gaga from The Fame Monster album:
“I love that lavender blonde, the way she moves, the way she walks….”
-In her early days of acting, Kim Novak was publicized as the Lavender Blonde or the Lavender
Girl at Columbia studios. They tinted her blonde hair with lavender highlights, frequently
dressed her in shades of purple and forced her to decorate her apartment in the color, according to the book “Leading Ladies: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actresses of the Studio Era.”

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5 thoughts on “Even Gaga likes the classics

  1. Wonderful as always,
    You’re so observant, but I think that comes with being a journalist and someone a bit stuck in the past. People these days tend to overlook the subtle preferring instead the flashing lights and bold print of the McDonalds world we live in.

    Nice to know some singers and members of Hollywood today still look up to the golden era stars, and nice to know a blogger such as yourself has the presence of mind to pay attention to their references.

    Going to miss reading your posts while I am gone. Just be sure to keep up the great work over the summer


  2. my grandmother’s brother was johnnie walker. do you really think the line was about him..there is an Indian actor named johnnie walker and maybe she just means the eyes of a drunk (drinking jw)


    • I’m really not sure actually. I did some research on who Johnny Walker was and then also found the alcohol.
      I assumed she was talking about an actor since she discussed several other actors in the song. I guess it just depends on if she is talking about the Indian actor or your great uncle.
      Maybe you wouldn’t mind sharing some movie history about your relative?


  3. Pingback: Classic films in music videos: Born this Way by Lady Gaga | Comet Over Hollywood

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