"Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" is written by Lady Gaga and Rob Fusari (Team Love Child) in 2006, while signed to Island Def Jam. Even after hearing the song, Def Jam executives dropped Gaga from the label. "They didn't get it," she said in an interview with Rolling Stone.
The song described the lifestyle she had in 2005-2006 when she did a lot of cocaine. "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" gained some underground success very quickly. According to Gaga, it was her first "Lady Gaga record" and she did everything for it, the lyrics, the beat and the melody. This song was also the first time she came up with the concept of The Fame. The song helped her land a record deal in 2007.
|“||That time, and that song, was just me trying to figure things out, [...] Once I grabbed the reigns of my artistry, I fell in love with that more than I did with the party life.||”|
Lady Gaga told About.com that "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" song sums up her time of self-discovery, when she was living in the Lower East Side of New York: "I was doing a lot of drugs when I wrote 'Dirty Rich.' It was about two years ago, and it was about a few different things. First and foremost the record is about – whoever you are or where you live – you can self-proclaim this inner fame based on your personal style, and your opinions about art and the world, despite being conscious of it. But it's also about how on the Lower East side, there was a lot of rich kids who did drugs and said that they were poor artists, so it's also a knock at that. 'Daddy I'm so sorry, I'm so, so sorry, yes, we just like to party.' I used to hear my friends on the phone with their parents, asking for money before they would go buy drugs. So, that was an interesting time for me, but it's funny that what came out of that record – because it's about many different things – but ultimately what I want people to take from it is 'Bang-bang.' No matter who you are and where you come from, you can feel beautiful and dirty rich."
"Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" is an uptempo dance-pop song which is more synth-heavy compared to the mostly electronic songs on The Fame. According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the song has a moderate electro-dance-pop groove and it is composed in the key of B minor with a tempo of 120 beats per minute. The song is set in common time, and Gaga's vocal range spans from A3 to D5. It has a basic sequence of Bm–D5–A♭–Bm–D5–A♭ as its chord progression. During recording of the song, Gaga was reluctant to add any dance-oriented beats to the song, and insisted on keeping its original rock version. However, music producer Rob Fusari convinced her that a drum machine would not hurt her integrity, telling her that Queen, who was one of Gaga's musical inspirations, used it in their music. Fusari commented, "I think that's what finally got her to give it a shot, [...] We finished ‘Beautiful, Dirty, Rich' that day. It's one of the songs on her debut album."
Since the first demo of the song, slight changes have been made but the beat and lyrics have stayed basically the same. The first demo from 2006 had some rough vocals with an extra part at the end. The second demo, known as The TLA Mix from 2007 removed the extra part, newly recorded vocals and a reworked programming for the beat in which the album version sound nearly the same. The final version of the song was released with the US edition of The Fame with a remixed version (some slight edits are on the version on the Canadian edition).
- "Dirty Rich" (Demo v1) - 2:54
- "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" (Demo v2 - TLA Mix) - 2:40
- "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" (Album Version) - 2:52
- "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" (Album Version - remixed) - 2:50
- "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" (Radio Edit) - 2:41
- "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" (The Monster Ball Tour "Dirty Freak" Remix) - 2:20
On September 16, 2008, the promotional single was released exclusively on iTunes. The song was intended to be released everywhere on September 23, 2008, but was replaced by "Poker Face". A radio edit version of the song was sent to Australian radios.
The song was first performed in 2007 during one of Gaga's early performances in New York City as Lady Gaga. The song was apart of Gaga's core set list between 2008 and 2011 for The Monster Ball Tour. Around September of 2008, Space Cowboy started to use his own remix with extra beats added to the song like gun shots being played when she sings "Bang bang". This version was used during the New Kids on the Block:Live, Doll Domination Tour and The Fame Ball Tour until she started to perform with the New Kids on the Block for her festival shows during the summer of 2009. During the first 14 shows of The Monster Ball Tour, the song was remixed with "Dirty Freak" by Filthy Rich. On December 21 of the same year, the regular version was used until the end of the theater version of the tour. For the arena version, the regular album version was performed.
2006 Demo version
The video, directed by Melina Matsoukas, is set in a mansion, and starts with Gaga making her way down a hallway with several people who are either walking behind her, holding an umbrella over her, dancing in front of her, or tossing dollar bills around her. Gaga and company are then featured in many repeatedly-changing shots at various locations in the mansion. She is seen lying seductively on a table covered with money, crawling along a black grand piano and striking the keys with her leg several times, dancing around and later making out with a statue, and dancing in an elevator solo. There are also several close-up shots of her burning money and later stuffing it into her mouth. Over the course of the video, she undergoes numerous costume changes. Singer-songwriter Space Cowboy is also shown, most notably in scenes where he climbs a wall.
- Photography by Meeno Peluce.
- Lady Gaga wears an outfit by Haus of Gaga, a jacket by Maison Martin Margiela customized by Haus of Gaga, and shoes by Marni.
- Album and Single artworks
- Guitar — Tom Kafafian
- Piano and synthesizer — Lady Gaga
- Bass — Calvin "Sci-Fidelity" Gaines
- Drums — Dave Murga
- Additional programming — Calvin "Sci-Fidelity" Gaines
- Recording — 150 Studios (Parsippany, New Jersey, )
- Mixing — Robert Orton
- Stefani Germanotta P/K/A Lady Gaga (BMI) Sony/ATV Songs, LLC/ House of Gaga Publishing, LLC / GloJoe Music Inc. (BMI)
- June Bug Alley (ASCAP)
- [ASCAP] Thomas Kafafian Music
- Production company — Black Dog Films
- Director — Melina Matsoukas
- Producer — Karen Lin
- Make up — Sharon Gault
- Photographer on set — Meeno
- Dancers — Melissa Emrico, two female, two male and Space Cowboy
- Products placement — Vixen's Visions (by The Kluger Agency), Beats by Dr. Dre
- ISRC — USUV70805320 / USUMV0900018
- UPC — 602527053042 / 602527053011
- UMA — 333145
— TEAM LOVE CHILD —