The birth of her name is already becoming a 21st-century legend: In 2004 Stefani Germanotta's ex texted her "Radio Gaga"—just a simple reference to Queen's 1984 hit. Except the phone autocorrected "Radio" to "Lady." She saw it, and Lady Gaga was born. For the fourth time. Slate writer Jody Rosen dusted off the annals of history to paint the colorful portraits of the three who have come before her in the last 2,600 years: a slave-owner in ancient Babylonia, an Irish countrywoman who gained the aristocratic title Madame de Gaga through marriage in 1817, and a fictional ‘20s flapper and socialite.
It's the last Gaga who the bears the most resemblance to the modern-day Gaga, writes Rosen. The third Gaga was born into the world via the pages of an April 1929 issue of Punch, a British humor magazine. This Lady Gaga was "the lead character in a satire that took aim at the so-called Bright Young People," as the young aristocrats and socialites of the age were known. Tell me this doesn't sound a bit like the Gaga you know and love: The Bright Young People threw "freak" or "stunt" parties—"themed soirees featuring elaborate costumes, cross-dressing, wild animals, and outlandish musical entertainment." Furthermore, this "blue-blooded party-girl" had a "slangy vocabulary ('Aren't they too ultra-super?') and a lust for publicity." Gaga, meet Gaga. (Click to read Rosen's entire column, which goes into great detail.)