Watch Lady Gaga's Sloppy, Sultry Van Halen Cover - Rolling Stone
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Watch Lady Gaga’s Sloppy, Sultry Van Halen Cover

Pop star ad-libs lyrics to “Panama” during the Dirty Pearls’ New York City show

Lady Gaga dropped the jazz standards and joined New York rock outfit the Dirty Pearls for a gloriously sloppy rendition of a staple from the great American metal songbook, Van Halen’s “Panama.”

As Blabbermouth points out, a fan-shot video captured the performance, which took place during a Dirty Pearls gig at NYC’s Gramercy Theater over the weekend. Gaga meandered and danced around the stage for much of the song, at one point tossing her drink into the crowd while Dirty Pearls frontman Tommy London busted out his best Diamond Dave. Gaga eventually steps to the mic during the song’s sultry breakdown, but instead of singing the song’s actual lyrics, she ad-libbed her way through the bridge while singing in her trademark melodramatic pop bellow.

The Dirty Pearls had previously opened for Lady Gaga at her performance-art spectacle at South by Southwest in 2014; and the rock outfit played all the official after-parties throughout the pop star’s 2013 tour. Gaga also name-checked the band on Born This Way‘s “Heavy Metal Lover,” in which she sings, “Dirty pearls and a patch, for all the Rivington Rebels / Let’s raise hell in the streets, drink beer and get into trouble.”

For much of the past year, Lady Gaga has been on the road with Tony Bennett, supporting their collaborative collection of jazz standards, Cheek to Cheek, which won the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album Grammy. The pair have a handful of North American and international dates scheduled for the rest of the summer.

Gaga has remained busy elsewhere: The singer recently popped up in Baku, Azerbaijan where she opened the first European Games with a performance of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” And earlier this month, she and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo co-penned an op-ed for Billboard, urging the passage of the “Enough is Enough” bill, designed to fight sexual assault on public college campuses.

In This Article: Lady Gaga


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