Lady Gaga has long approached the art of collaboration with a sense of abandon: She dives into duets headfirst, whether it be with her fellow pop divas (Beyonce, Christina Aguilera), Oscar-nominated actors (Bradley Cooper) or a certain nonagenarian whose cheek got very cozy with her own a few years back. And while Gaga does not always rely on collaboration to further her work — 2011’s Born This Way featured zero guests sharing the microphone — her best team-ups have featured the pop superstar seamlessly meshing her sound alongside other artists worthy of her spotlight. That also includes new single “Rain On Me,” her recent team-up with Ariana Grande.
Check out our picks for the top 10 Lady Gaga collaborations, from pop smashes to little-known guest spots from before she found fame with The Fame.
10. “Music To My Eyes” featuring Bradley Cooper
Found On: A Star is Born soundtrack (2018)
While the soundtrack to the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born features some of Gaga’s most accomplished songwriting (and a crucial collaboration coming later in this list), don’t sleep on “Music To My Eyes,” which includes a rustic, sneakily great Bradley Cooper performance that slides into a typically top-notch Gaga vocal take.
9. “Chillin’,” Wale featuring Lady Gaga
Found On: Attention: Deficit (2009)
Lady Gaga’s first foray into straightforward hook-singing, Wale’s “Chillin’” actually holds up pretty well… although mostly due to Cool & Dre’s Steam-sampling production and Wale’s quotable introductory verses (“I remain a giant and you Jeremy Shockey!” feels like a line from approximately one million years ago for NFL fans). If Gaga sounds a little bit bored here, it’s because she was about to establish her own musical world and conquer pop.
8. “Do What U Want” featuring Christina Aguilera
Found On: Promotional Single (2013)
A kicky reworking of the ARTPOP single that resulted from another round of controversy for original collaborator R. Kelly’s public image at the end of 2013, this take on “Do What U Want” features Christina Aguilera’s pristine vocals admirably hitting every melisma (and adding some new ones, too). Their duet on The Voice is a must-watch, by the way.
7. “The Lady is a Tramp,” Tony Bennett featuring Lady Gaga
Found On: Duets II (2011)
The precursor to their full-length collaboration Cheek To Cheek, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s 2011 update to the 1937 showtune displayed the chemistry between the pair as the lead to Bennett’s Duets II album. Gaga’s theatrical delivery and showy interjections fit snugly next to Bennett’s finger-snapping polish, and in hindsight, it’s no wonder why the two stars decided to link up for a more in-depth project.
6. “Video Phone (Remix),” Beyonce featuring Lady Gaga
Found On: I Am… Sasha Fierce: The Bonus Tracks EP (2009)
Although not quite as authoritative as “Telephone” (more on that later), “Video Phone” once again corralled Beyonce and Lady Gaga together and let them gleefully breathe, groan and croon innuendoes for five minutes. Bangladesh’s layered production still beguiles, while the music video remains a fashionable YouTube artifact.
5. “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” with Tony Bennett
Found On: Cheek To Cheek (2014)
Following ARTPOP‘s wild array of styles and mixed reviews, Lady Gaga went back to basics for a collection of standards with Tony Bennett… and the move successfully reminded casual listeners that Gaga’s voice can shine when removed from pretense or gimmickry. Particularly on the silky jazz rendition of “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” Bennett plays off Gaga’s vocal power nicely, and the pop star showcases a side of herself that had been lacking from her preceding solo projects.
4. “Just Dance” featuring Colby O’Donis
Found On: The Fame (2008)
It feels strange to consider Lady Gaga’s debut single as a collaboration, since Colby O’Donis’ presence on the track is relatively muted, but collaboration it is, as Gaga defers to her label mate two-thirds into her breakout. Pro-tip for O’Donis newbies: check out his Akon-assisted 2008 track “What You Got,” which hit the Top 20 a few months before “Just Dance” turned a previously unknown Lady Gaga into a star.
3. “Rain On Me” featuring Ariana Grande
Found On: Chromatica (2009)
Arriving on the heels of Chromatica lead single “Stupid Love,” “Rain On Me” keeps the disco-tinged dance-pop revival going with the help of another decade-defining diva. A gigantic record about learning to treat pain as a sign of humanity (“I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive,” goes the post-tears refrain), “Rain On Me” finds and Gaga and Ariana Grande feeding off of each other, flexing their vocals and filling every break in the action with more energy.
2. “Telephone” featuring Beyonce
Found On: The Fame Monster (2009)
Originally written for Britney Spears, “Telephone” remains Lady Gaga’s most dynamic duet — and arguably the most compelling pop star team-up of the ’00s. The second single from The Fame Monster continued the momentum of “Bad Romance,” and whereas that smash found Gaga bending pop to meet her singular style, “Telephone” received an A-game performance from Bey (in a rare supporting turn!) and utilized Darkchild’s glitzy production as a fulcrum for two huge personalities to seesaw. A Lady Gaga/Beyonce collaboration was always going to be an event, but “Telephone” still knocks as a nuanced electro-pop banger.
1. “Shallow” featuring Bradley Cooper
Found On: A Star is Born soundtrack (2018)
With some time passed since A Star Is Born mania and some perspective on the multimedia phenomenon that earned Gaga an Oscar for best original song, the power of “Shallow” has not dulled one bit: her duet with Bradley Cooper remains a stunner, the rare power ballad to top the Hot 100 chart in the 2010s, and the lynchpin moment of a best picture nominee. The silences between Gaga and Cooper crackle until they join together on the post-chorus; meanwhile, the powerhouse bridge was designed to swell in karaoke bars for decades. As a songwriting masterclass and triumphant performance, “Shallow” has become a crucial moment in Gaga’s career, and an essential addition to her catalog. We watched as she and Cooper dove in, and loved every moment of it.