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Lady Gaga’s 15 Greatest Music Videos

From “Paparazzi” and “Bad Romance” to “John Wayne” and “Rain on Me” — we talked to the Gaga collaborators who helped make some of the best videos of the 21st Century

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Lady Gaga will go down in history as one of pop’s great visual auteurs. With every new era, she has delivered instantly iconic imagery, fashion statements and, of course, videos that have further amplified whatever sound or style she’s experimenting with at the current moment. Inspired by the daring imagery of Michael and Janet Jackson, Madonna and David Bowie, Gaga has taken advantage of every mode of changing technology available to build complex, forward-thinking universes in her music videos. For 15 of her most memorable, thrilling videos, here are the stories behind how they were made as told by her collaborators.

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“John Wayne”

One of a trilogy of music videos from her cowboy-inspired album Joanne, “John Wayne” sees Gaga reuniting with Jonas Akerlund for a rapid-fire, beer-swilling tale of outlaws and freaks causing mayhem on a country road. In just under three minutes, the Tarantino-esque video packs a huge amount of chaotic surprises, most notably when Gaga’s thigh-high boots start shooting bullets. “I think we shot it all in one day — that was a crazy day,” Akerlund tells Rolling Stone. Though not as well-known as “Paparazzi” or “Telephone,” “John Wayne” certainly stands out from the more subdued, sincere visuals of the Joanne era.

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“Rain on Me”

If you grew up watching any of the Spy Kids movies, or The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D, then you’ll easily recognize the aesthetics of “Rain on Me.” It’s directed by Robert Rodriguez himself, who brought his love for giant CGI stadiums and cyberpunk to the Gaga universe. That would be a star-studded collaboration on its own, but then there’s Ariana Grande, who goes toe-to-toe with Gaga when it comes to sci-fi outfits, a cyborg dance squad, and Sailor Moon-worthy hair.

“We wanted to keep with the style that [Grande is] comfortable with, while staying with the futuristic theme of the video,” said designer Laura Pulice, who created the latex costumes for the video.