"John Wayne" is a song written by Lady Gaga for her fifth studio album Joanne, co-produced with Mark Ronson and BloodPop. Lady Gaga gave her debut performance of the song live at the 2016 Victoria Secret Fashion Show in Paris; the song was performed as a medley with “A-YO”. The official video debuted on February 8th, 2017, exclusively on Apple Music.
Lady Gaga sings on this foot-stomping ode to Americana of her craving for a cowboy-type lover. She fantasises about "a real wild man" like John Wayne. Lady Gaga was born and raised in New York City, about as far away from the west as an American can get. In the song, she sings about a desire to meet a man who doesn't have the city running through his veins. "Every John is just the same, I'm sick of their city games," Gaga says. Instead, she wants someone who is "blue collar and a red state treasure."
John Wayne the man has little to do with Lady Gaga's anthem to country boys, but his standing as the ultimate hero of the wild west works as a perfect metaphor for Gaga's craving for a man who can embrace his wild side.
The song is thick with irony as even her love affair with a wild man with old school male attributes burns out in a mere three days. That's because John Wayne has always been a symbol for a man that doesn't really exist. There are no purely honorable, straight shooting cowboys out there, and there never have been. Even as Gaga tries to find an alternative to all those city guys, she realizes she's chasing a celluloid dream.
"I'm strung out on John Wayne," Gaga croons, and it's a sentiment everyone can relate to. No matter where you're from, you always daydream about the places and people you have never met. The John Wayne in Gaga's song is an idealized fantasy of a hard working, salt of the earth type, who chugs beers and rides motorcycles. He's the type of man you see on the cover of supermarket romance novels. Of course, a lifelong city dweller like Gaga would romanticize the idea of a real life cowboy, just like a small town woman would fantasize about a suit-wearing, smooth-talking New Yorker.
"John Wayne" is about desire, daydreams, and the mythical figure of the American cowboy. The real John Wayne was just as complicated and problematic as any other person, but onscreen he was larger than life. Everyone, including Gaga, wishes there were real John Waynes roaming around, just waiting to take you on a wild west adventure.
The music video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund and was filmed in California on January 20, 2017. The video is third and final chapter of the Joanne video trilogy, following on from "Perfect Illusion" and "Million Reasons".
- Lady Gaga wears a tuxedo by Alexander Lewis, pumps by Christian Louboutin, and a hat by Gladys Tamez while she plays a guitar by Gretsch.
- Lady Gaga wears a custom romper and a waist belt by Michael Velasquez, and boots by The Frye Company.
- Lady Gaga wears a custom catsuit by Christian Cowan-Sanluis, boots by Aldo, and a hat by Gladys Tamez.
- Lady Gaga wears a bra by Unif, custom shorts by Bryan Hearns, a custom jacket by Wesley Berryman, boots by Aldo, and a custom choker by GCDS.
- Lady Gaga wears the same custom tuxedo by Alexander Lewis, and earrings by Lauren Klassen.
- Lady Gaga wears a custom outfit by Alex Noble, and boots by Chloe Gosselin.
- Lady Gaga wears custom jacket by Wesley Berryman, a belt-top by Bryan Hearns, and boots by Pleaser.
- Lady Gaga wears a custom boot bustier and matching lace-up shorts by Ricky King, a custom fur stole by Nicolas Wirth, and rings by Cody Sanderson and by The Great Frog.
- Lady Gaga wears a jacket by Alex Ulichny, boots by Aldo, and sunglasses by Diesel.
Behind the Scenes
|Written by||Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, M. Tucker & Josh Homme|
|Produced by||Mark Ronson, BloodPop® & Lady Gaga|
|Recorded by||Joshua Blair and assisted by David "Squirrel" Covell at Shangri-La Studios, Malibu, CA |
Joshua Blair andassisted by Justin Smith at Pink Duck Studios, Burbank, CA
Joshua Blair and assisted by Barry McCready at Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY
Joshua Blair and assisted by Charley Pollard at Dragonfly Recording Studio, Malibu, CA
|Mixed by||Tom Elmhirst and assisted by Joe Visciano & Brandon Bost at Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY|
|Mastered by||Tom Coyne and Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound, New York, NY|
|Track Participants||Mark Ronson — Bass, Guitar |
Josh Homme — Drums, Guitar
BloodPop® — Rhythm Track, Synthesizer for GenPop Corp.