"Telephone" is a song recorded by American singer Lady Gaga for her third EP, The Fame Monster (2009), the reissue of her debut studio album The Fame (2008). The song features American singer Beyoncé. The song was written by Gaga, Rodney Jerkins, LaShawn Daniels, Lazonate Franklin and Beyoncé. Inspired by her fear of suffocation, Gaga explained that the lyrics preferring relaxing on the dance floor to answering her lover's phone call are a metaphor, the phone calling her representing the fear of not having worked hard enough to succeed. With the track succeeding her fourth single from The Fame, "Paparazzi", the duet additionally embodies a fear of being suffocated and trapped by the media. Originally, Gaga wrote the song for Britney Spears, who recorded a demo. Musically, "Telephone" consists of an expanded bridge, verse-rap and a sampled voice of an operator announcing that the phone line is unreachable. Beyoncé appears in the middle of the song, singing the verses in a rapid-fire way, accompanied by double beats.
The song received positive reviews from critics who frequently noted "Telephone" as a stand-out track from The Fame Monster. It was Grammy-nominated for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 2011. "Telephone" charted in a number of countries due to digital sales following the album's release, namely in the United States, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and Hungary. The song was particularly successful in Europe where it reached the top of the charts in Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the single sold 7.4 million digital copies worldwide in 2010 alone, making it one of Gaga's best-selling singles.
The accompanying music video is a continuation of the video for her 2009 song, "Paparazzi", and is also shot as a short film. After Gaga gets bailed out of prison by Beyoncé, they go to a diner and poison the guests having breakfast. After the homicide, they escape and end up in a high-speed police chase. The video references Quentin Tarantino and his films Pulp Fiction (1994) and Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003). The video received generally positive reviews and was nominated for three awards at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, including one for Video of the Year. In January 2015 Billboard named it the best video of the first half of the decade. In memory of Alexander McQueen, Gaga performed an acoustic rendition of "Telephone" mixed with "Dance in the Dark" at the 2010 BRIT Awards. It was also performed during the Super Bowl LI halftime show, and many of the singer’s later tours, the most recent being the Joanne World Tour (2017–2018).