Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Lady GaGa Problem ::: Lady GaGa vs. Madonna

I've noticed over the past week that a lot of the celeb and gossip websites have been dissing it to Lady GaGa. While I agree, it's about time, I must express that they are doing it for all the wrong reasons.

1 -Lady GaGa never was and never will be "the new Madonna" - anytime you hear of anyone or anything being hailed as the new "whatever" steer clear as you can away from that individual or entity! Jocelyn Vena discusses on MTV: "Madonna had done these eons ago and Im tired of hearing the same sounds. Lady Gaga did not change any musical landscape. She has not broken grounds."

2 - Those of you familiar with the 1960s, I have a very excellent way of putting GaGa in context: Think Beatles vs. Monkees. Madonna is like the Beatles, GaGa like the Monkees.

The Beatles were a 1960s rock group from England catapulted to an Elvis Presley-level of world stardom. The Monkees were created by NBC TV as an answer to satisfy pop culture's appetite for more, anything Beatles. While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, nobody loves a knock-off. (Don't believe all the current internet postings about the Monkees - none of it is true!)

The Monkees was created by a couple of TV producers who wanted to emulate the Beatles' success on American TV, right down to the alternate spelling of the group's name. Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson watched the the Beatles' movie "A Hard Days Night" for DAYS as they developed the characters and storyboarded the Monkees pilot episode.

So what's the RIGHT way to approach the problem? The "problem" being how to build an entity that rides the coattails of another entity's success. You DON'T do a "Lady Gaga" or a "Monkees."

About 2 years after the Beatles were catapulted to national stardom, the American rock group "The Mamas and The Papas" came together, mostly by chance. The songwriting members of the group were given an assignment by their record producer: "Listen to these (Beatles) tunes. I want YOU to come up with tunes like these." He DIDN'T say "copy the Beatles."

In two of the group's earliest TV appearances, they performed a couple of Beatles' hits, in their own style. (I'm sure they must have been "stepping into the Beatles' shoes" many times, singing and analyzing Beatles songs to capture the "feel" - whatever that is!) They indeed captured that "essence" of musical appeal found at that time in Beatles' songs, but the sounds they produced and the recording techniques and arrangements used represented a totally original line of musical thinking. No one ever uttered the words "they're the next Beatles." Because they weren't, and everybody knew it.

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