Before Lady Gaga and Elton John drop their “Sine From Above” duet off the former’s sixth studio album Chromatica this Friday (May 29), their friendship has felt destined from above since the two hit the stage at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards together.
Whether the iconic pop stars are performing across from each other on separate pianos or John is recruiting her to be the “Gaga-mother” of his children, Billboard compiled a timeline of how these two pop peas in a pod came to be.
January 2010: Lady Gaga performs at the Grammys for the first time with Elton John.
Before she became Mother Monster, the Fame Monster singer made her Grammy debut by opening the awards show with her Fame Factory performance, a well-oiled machine powered by fake Gagas before the real one stood up showing off her “Poker Face.” After her backup dancer threw her down the rejection pit of fire, the ash-covered pop star reemerged from the bottom while sitting by a creepy piano with none other than the English musician on the other side of the keys. The two performed her glam rock song “Speechless” before interweaving his song “Your Song.”
February 2011: John records “Hello, Hello” duet with Gaga for Gnomeo & Juliet film.
John served as the executive producer of Gnomeo & Juliet, the official soundtrack of which featured most of his greatest hits and a few original songs he mostly co-wrote with his famed collaborator Bernie Taupin. He recorded a duet with Gaga titled “Hello Hello” that only appeared in the film and never made it onto the soundtrack. However, their early collaboration scored nominations for best song at the Critics’ Choice Awards and the Golden Globe Awards, as well as a nod for best original song at the Satellite Awards.
April 2011: John and husband David Furnish ask Gaga to be their son Zachary’s godmother.
John and Furnish’s firstborn son Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John arrived on Christmas Day in 2010, but the “Born This Way” artist received a gift herself when the two parents appointed her as his godmother. John first confirmed the news when hosting Saturday Night Live, announcing, “For those of you concerned that we are unusual parents, do not worry. It’s not like we are the only two people involved in the child’s life. His godmother is Lady Gaga. That’s true, that’s not a joke… which is ironic because I’ve always said Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids. And Gaga loves Mars. She says Mars had good schools and great discos.”
Later that month, Barbara Walters interviewed the two parents about their decision to name her the godmother, and Furnish noted her notable position in the music industry would serve Zachary well later in life when he inherits his father’s legacy. “Zachary’s going to inherit an incredible musical legacy from his father one day, and she will be a good person to guide him through the ins and outs of the music business, ’cause she sure knows everything about the business now,” he said at the time.
John later told Anderson Cooper in an interview that she occasionally runs what the 73-year-old musician refers to as “tubby time” with Zachary while serenading him with “Over the Rainbow.”
April 2013: John and Furnish ask Gaga to be their son Elijah’s godmother.
Sounds like an encore for “GaGa-mother!” The English superstar and his spouse asked her to be their youngest son Elijah Joseph Daniel Furnish-John’s godmother after he was born in January 2013. “I think she’s a great role model, she’s young, I admire everything about her, she’s been a great godmother so far to Zachary,” John said about her during an Extra interview. “We’re all bonkers in this business, but we are human beings at the same time.”
In a 2018 Heart interview, John described Gaga as “very hands-on” and “the greatest godmama to his boys,” who refer to Mother Monster exclusively as “GaGa-mother” (especially since The Fame Monster is one of their favorite albums of hers).
November 2013: The two perform “Artpop” and “Bennie and the Jets” for the Lady Gaga & The Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular Thanksgiving special.
Just like their Grammys mashup performance three years prior, Gaga and John returned to their piano benches for Lady Gaga & The Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular, a musical primetime TV special that aired on Thanksgiving Day 2013. Sporting soda can sunglasses to emulate John’s eclectic eyewear, Gaga joined him for a performance of his 1974 No. 1 hit “Bennie and the Jets,” which he renamed to “Gaga and the Jets.” Then she took off her shades and revealed her wide-eyed excitement to delve into “Artpop,” the titular track of her third studio album.
February 2016: Gaga surprises at John at his free Sunset Strip concert.
John hosted a free concert in West Hollywood, Calif. to thank the city for hosting his annual Oscars viewing party that raises funds for his AIDS Foundation. At the old Tower Records building on the Sunset Strip, he performed “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” before fans showered the “Rain On Me” singer with praise as she waltzed on stage with her iconic Alexander McQueen armadillo boots to join her famed collaborator.
April 2018: She covers “Your Song” for the Revamp: Reimagining the Songs Of Elton John & Bernie Taupin album.
The 34-year-old singer stripped down his famous glam rock hit “Your Song” from their first televised performance together for the Revamp: Reimagining the Songs Of Elton John & Bernie Taupin album.
April 2018: Gaga performs her cover of “Your Song” for Elton John: I’m Still Standing — A GRAMMY Salute.
The Recording Academy hosted the star-studded Elton John: I’m Still Standing — A GRAMMY Salute two years ago, which of course included Gaga, her bedazzled sunglasses and her feathered shoulder pads on the lineup. The retro-dressed artist outshined the rest with her piano cover of “Your Song,” which the original vocalist alerted viewers “will blow you away.”
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) April 11, 2018
April 2020: Gaga releases Chromatica tracklist, including “Sine From Above” duet with John.
When she finally announced the 16-song tracklist for her sixth album, the Little Monsters couldn’t believe their eyes for what their ears would soon receive: the LG and Ariana Grande dance party-worthy banger “Rain On Me” that had fans flooding streaming services, a sweet team-up with K-pop supergroup Blackpink titled “Sour Candy,” and an official duet with John called “Sine From Above.”
May 2020: She describes John as her “mentor” during Apple Music interview with Zane Lowe.
In promotion of her album dropping at the end of this week, Gaga took Apple Music’s Lowe into her studio (through FaceTime) for an intimate interview about the recording process and her A-list features. “He’s been my mentor for a long time,” she said about John. “I mean, he’s always challenged me to keep my head above water and it’s something that I always appreciate is that he knows when I’m down. He just does. And he knows because I hide, because I never want anyone to see me when I’m like that.”
But their mentor-mentee relationship goes beyond one typically forged by a veteran and former up-and-comer in the music industry: John continues to teach Gaga how to take care of her mental and physical health, which Gaga has openly struggled with and started to heal again from through her new music.
“Elton’s always really challenged me to take care of my artistry and to really take care of myself. And I really, really honor that about him. He is so, so uniquely special. And I cannot tell you how instrumental in my life he’s been to showing me that you can go all the way in life and… be authentic and be you and do good things in the world and take care of yourself and be there. He’s such an inspiration.”