Women in Music 2016

Meet the Creative Team Behind Lady Gaga's 'Joanne' Album

Ruth Hogben
Lady Gaga "Perfect Illusion"

It takes a village to raise a child, and, apparently, to make a Lady Gaga album. While Mother Monster was very adamant in an interview with Beats 1 Radio host Zane Lowe on Thursday (Oct. 20) that one of the things that separates her from, say, Madonna, is that she writes, plays and produces every one of her songs, it's clear from the liner notes to her just-released fifth album, Joanne, that she still had plenty of help this time out.

From the album's co-producers, BloodPop and Mark Ronson, to Josh Homme, Haim bassist Este Haim, Father John Misty, Florence Welch and a number of players in Sharon Jones' band -- not to mention two rock scions (Harper Simon and Sean Lennon) -- we took a deep dive into the liner notes of the album, to find out who pitched in on which songs. (All tracks produced by Gaga, BloodPop and Ronson unless otherwise noted.)

"Diamond Heart"

The slow-build banger was written by Gaga, the album's co-producer Mark Ronson and Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme.

Producers: Gaga, Ronson, Homme, BloodPop and Jeff Bhasker

Players: Ronson -- bass, electric piano; BloodPop -- rhythm track; Bhasker -- synthesizers; Homme -- guitar; Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty) -- drums; Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys, Iggy Pop) -- Drums

"A-YO (Smokin 'Em All)"

This hand-clapping pop-funk romp was written by Gaga with Ronson, BloodPop and Nashville songwriter Hillary Lindsey.

Players: Homme -- guitar; Ronson -- bass, guitar; BloodPop -- Organ, rhythm track; Este Haim -- percussion; Thomas Brenneck (Menahan Street Band, Amy Winehouse) -- guitar; Ian Hendrickson-Smith (Sharon Jones) -- baritone saxophone; Dave Guy (Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse) -- trumpet; J. Gastelum Cochemea (Sharon Jones) -- tenor saxophone; Brian Newman -- trumpet; Gaga -- percussion

"Joanne"

A touching acoustic homage to Gaga's beloved late aunt, it was written by the singer and Ronson.

Players: Ronson -- bass, guitar, keyboards, Mellotron strings; BloodPop -- rhythm tracks; Gaga -- percussion; Harper Simon (singer/songwriter and son of Paul Simon) -- guitar

"John Wayne"

A dance-rocking ode to Americana, written by Gaga, Ronson, BloodPop and Homme.

Players: Ronson -- guitar; Homme -- drums, guitar, BloodPop -- rhythm track 

"Dancin' in Circles"

A funky dance track that recalls the sexually charged pop bounce of Gaga's debut, written by Gaga, Beck, BloodPop and Ronson

Players: Ronson -- guitar; BloodPop -- rhythm track, synthesizer

"Perfect Illusion"

The album's rocking first single was written by Gaga, Ronson, BloodPop and Tame Impala's Kevin Parker.

Players: Ronson -- guitar, synthesizer; Parker -- drums, guitar, synthesizer; BloodPop -- bass, synthesizer, rhythm track; Homme -- guitar

"Million Reasons"

 A heartbreaking country-tinged power ballad written by Gaga, Ronson and Nashville songwriter Hillary Lindsey.

​Players: Gaga -- piano; Lindsey -- additional vocals, guitar; Ronson -- bass, guitar; BloodPop -- rhythm track, keyboards, string programming

"Sinner's Prayer"

A wild west country come-on written by Gaga with Tillman, Ronson and Brenneck.

Players: Leon Michels (Lana Del Ray, Charles Bradley) -- keyboards, Mellotron; Homer Steinweiss (Sharon Jones)-- drums; Nicholas Movshon (The Arcs, Amy Winehouse) -- bass; Victor Axelrod (Sharon Jones, Antibalas) -- piano; Brenneck -- guitars; BloodPop -- synthesizer, rhythm programming; Homme -- slide guitar; Lindsey -- background vocals; Sean Lennon -- slide guitar

"Come to Mama"

A sly, swinging bit of jazz pop penned by Gaga with Tillman and Emile Haynie (A$AP Rocky, Eminem).

Producers: Ronson, Haynie, Gaga and BloodPop

Players: Ronson -- bass, guitar; Gaga -- piano, backing vocals; Haynie -- drums, additional synths; BloodPop -- synthesizer programming; James King (Fitz and the Tantrums) -- tenor and alto saxophone; Ken Lewis (Lana Del Rey, Lone Bellow) -- drums; Brent Kolatalo (Kanye West, Bruno Mars) -- drums

"Hey Girl"

This smooth bit of lite-pop feminist funk featuring a duet with Florence and the Machine's Florence Welch was written by Gaga, Welch and Ronson.

Players: Gaga -- piano; Steinweiss -- drums; Movshon -- bass; Brenneck -- guitar; Axelrod -- synthesizer; Welch - vocals; Jack Byrne (Dough Rollers, Furr, son of Gabriel Byrne and Ellen Barkin) -- guitar; Kelsey Lu (Blood Orange, Empress Of) -- cello; Tom Moth (Florence & the Machine); BloodPop -- rhythm programming

"Angel Down"

A confessional ballad about the death of Trayvon Martin written by Gaga and her longtime collaborator RedOne.

Players: Gaga -- piano; BloodPop -- drums, keyboards; Ronson -- Mellotron strings

"Grigio Girls"

A slow-bubble ode to Gaga's Haus of Gaga managing director Sonja Dunham, written by the singer along with Lindsey, Ronson and BloodPop.

Players: Ronson -- bass, guitar; BloodPop -- rhythm track, synthesizer; Lindsey -- additional vocals; Anthony Rossomando (Klaxons, Dirty Pretty Things) -- guitar

"Just Another Day"

A solo Gaga writing credit goes to this swaying cabaret pop tune, produced by the singer and Ronson.

Players: Gaga -- piano; Ronson -- guitar, bass, keys; Steinweiss -- drums; Newman -- trumpet; Steve Kortyka (Gaga and Tony Bennett's Cheek to Cheek)

"Angel Down (Work Tape)"

The third bonus track on the extended edition is a rougher-mix collab between Gaga and RedOne, which was also produced by Red and Gaga.

Players: RedOne -- programming and guitar; Gaga -- piano