Tag Archives: Bette Midler

Not Your Typical LGBTQ+ Pride Playlist

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Tune du Jour celebrates with this playlist consisting of two hundred songs by and/or about Ls, Gs, Bs, Ts and Qs. Happy Pride!

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It’s Pete Burns’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Ringo + Dead or Alive

Early in the career of the group Dead or Alive, UK music magazine Melody Maker described their lead singer Pete Burns as “a cross between Bette Midler and Jim Morrison.” Sure.

At the time Burns was sharing a home and a bed with his wife Lynne and his lover Steve. His marriage with Lynne dissolved in 2006, the year he announced his engagement to a man named Michael.

Today Burns celebrates his 57th birthday. Tunes du Jour kicks off its weekly dance party with Dead or Alive’s “Brand New Lover,” with lead vocals by the man Melody Maker called a “transvestite sex symbol.” Sure.


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It’s LGBT Pride Month And I Need To Dance!

Because there are millions of people who tell us we shouldn’t be who we are because it doesn’t conform to who they think we should be;

Because this “government of the people, by the people and for the people” often isn’t for all the people;

Because “All men are created equal” doesn’t include those in the LGBT populations per many politicians and their constituents;

Because our Pride parades are attended not only by LGBT peoples are their allies, but by “counter protestors” who shout hateful rhetoric through megaphones in the name of religion, as these self-proclaimed Christians have no place better to be on a Sunday morning;

Because LGBT youth represent 7% of the youth population, while LGBT homeless youth make up 40% of the homeless youth population;

Because LGB and questioning youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than non-LGB youth;

Because queer youth need to see there are many people like them;

Because if we don’t celebrate who we are, then we tacitly say we are not worthy of celebration and things are fine as they are, neither of which is true;

Because there is strength in numbers;

Because in many parts of the world one is killed for the suspicion of being gay or lesbian;

Because in many parts of the world it is illegal and/or dangerous to show your LGBT pride;

Because nobody should live in fear of expressing their authentic self, including the asshats who attempt to intimidate us from doing so;

Because it is empowering to be able to express one’s sexuality or gender identity in a supportive environment;

Because coming together brings about positive change;

Because while marrying someone of the opposite gender has been legal throughout US history, the right to marry someone of the same gender is coming on just one year;

Because we still have a ways to get to before we reach true equality, and we’ve come too far to stop now;

Because it’s fun!;

Because diversity should be celebrated;

Because pride is respect for yourself and you deserve respect;

Because men in Speedos;

Because despite all of the bull feces, we persevere. That is why

We still need LGBT Pride Month celebrations.

Here is your expanded soundtrack:


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Luther Vandross Was Here

In 1974, David Bowie hired Luther Vandross to sing background vocals and do vocal arrangements for his Young Americans album. Bowie told the then 23-year-old singer “You’re going to make it…next year is your year!”

Bowie’s timing was a little off (depending on how you define “making it”). Luther cracked the top 40 as a solo artist for the first time with “Never Too Much” in 1981. Before then, he was a much in-demand session vocalist and arranger.

Tunes du Jour celebrates the birthday of Luther Vandross with twenty tracks on which the soul great is the lead singer, a backup singer, the arranger, the producer, the songwriter, or some combination thereof.


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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 47: Diva Worship

Let’s hear it for the ladies! You know the ones.


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Make The Yuletide Gay

Today is December 24. It’s the date when people around the world celebrate Ricky Martin’s birthday. What’s the first thing you think of when someone says Ricky Martin? Gay? I thought so. Hold that thought.

Christmas Eve is tonight. Many people around the world celebrate that as well, possibly almost as many people as the number that celebrate Ricky Martin’s birthday. He’s turning 43, by the way.

Anyhoosle, I decided to combine the two celebrations. Tunes du Jour hereby presents the gayest Christmas playlist ever. Fifty songs that will bring you cheer and fabulousity and get you arrested if you listen to them in Russia.

Have a festive day!

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A Star-Spangled Night for Rights

On September 18, 1977, Aaron Russo, Bette Midler’s manager, produced “A Star-Spangled Night for Rights” at the Hollywood Bowl. The focus of the four and a half hour concert was gay rights. Performers included Midler, War, Richard Pryor, Helen Reddy, Lily Tomlin, Tom Waits and Tanya Tucker. Among the approximately 17,000 people in the audience was Paul Newman, Olivia Newton-John, Valerie Harper and Robert Blake.

It had been a rough year for gay rights. In June, Anita Bryant’s “Save Our Children” campaign proved successful when Dade County, Florida voters repealed the gay rights ordinance they had just passed in January. In Arkansas, the state legislature reinstated the sodomy laws it repealed two years earlier.

As a result of these setbacks, gay rights marches appeared around the country, official Gay Pride parades drew their highest number of participants to date, and Russo organized the concert to benefit the Save Our Human Rights Foundation.

California Senator John Briggs threatened to blacklist every Hollywood performer or politician who supported or attended the show. The following year Briggs sponsored a proposition to remove all gay or lesbian employees and their supporters from California schools. The measure was defeated due in large part to the efforts of San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk. On September 18, 1977, Milk had yet to be elected to that position.

The concert went well for its first few performances, but took an ugly turn when comedian Pryor took the stage. Among the things he said: “Motherfuck women’s rights!” “Fags are prejudiced.” “I’m sick of y’all and your faggoty-ass bullshit. What were you doing during the Watts riots – sucking each other’s dicks? Fuck you and everything you stand for, I’m getting the fuck out of here.” And the finale, “You Hollywood faggots can kiss my happy rich black ass!” It wasn’t his best material. And yes, if given the choice between arson, destruction, looting, beatdowns and fellatio, my selection is a no-brainer.

Next on the concert bill…Tom Waits! It reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons where Homer was to perform a comedy set at Mr. Burns’ birthday party. Mr. Smithers gets on stage and announces “I have some sad news to report. A small puppy, not unlike Lassie, was just run over in the parking lot. And now it’s time for the comedy stylings of Homer Simpson!”

Waits was invited to perform at the event by his close friend Bette Midler, who he met three years earlier at The Bottom Line in New York. Subsequently, Midler recorded Waits’ “Shiver Me Timbers” in 1976 and they did a duet on Waits’ Foreign Affairs album released the year of the Hollywood Bowl show.

Before Waits took the stage Aaron Russo came out to apologize for Pryor’s outburst. “I’m terribly embarrassed and don’t know what to say about what just happened, but I do think this show tonight started out and will end up on a positive note.” However, the audience was agitated. Waits gave up after two songs.

The crowd wanted the headliner. Bette Midler bounded on stage and asked the crowd “Is there anyone here tonight who wants to kiss this rich white ass?” The crowd cheered and she closed the show.

Today Tom Waits turns 65. Aside from Milder, his compositions have been recorded by Rod Stewart, Bruce Springsteen and The Ramones, among others. Here are twenty career highlights.

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Bette Midler’s “Friends”

Winston + Bette
Before her hit records and Radio City Music Hall performances, Bette Midler entertained at the Continental Baths, a New York City bathhouse frequented by gay men. In her repertoire was the song “Friends,” written by Mark “Moogy” Klingman and Buzzy Linhart.

“You’ve got to have friends.” That’s true now and it was true when she sang it in 1972. The song’s lyrics resonated with her audience. It was the early days of the gay liberation movement, and our friends often played the roles that would for straight folks be filled by family.

The lyrics seemed prescient the following decade. The poignancy of Midler singing the lines “I had some friends but they’re gone / Somethin’ came and took them away” at the onset of the AIDS epidemic was deeply felt by those remaining from her early core audience.

On December 1, World AIDS Day, we remember those friends we lost.

December 1 is also Bette Midler’s birthday. Here are twenty of my favorite selections from her vast repertoire.

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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Ebola is now in the US. Isis is on its way. Unarmed civilians are getting shot by law enforcement officials. Civil wars, mass kidnappings, volcanoes, a new Lenny Kravitz album. It’s a scary world!

I got my flu vaccination earlier this week, so I have one less thing to worry about. There is a movement against the flu vaccine, but the flu is mighty unpleasant and can lead to death. I’d rather go on living and enjoying my life with a little mercury in my system than deal with chills, fever, a runny nose, a sore throat, muscle pains, a severe headache, coughing, and/or fatigue. If I wanted to be in that much pain I’d listen to the new Lenny Kravitz album.

Though I get my flu shot every year, the needle always scares me. This year the doctor used a very small needle. I barely felt it and I’m happy to say I suffered no side effects. I feel great and energized, which is great because it’s Friday and I need to dance.

Big_Love_singleThe cover art can be obtained from Warner Bros. Records.

We’ll kick off this week’s dance playlist with the only Fleetwood Mac song to make the US dance chart, “Big Love.” The track was written, co-produced and sung by FM’s Lindsey Buckingham, who turns 65 today.

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It’s Olivia Newton-John’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

I celebrated my thirteenth birthday in 1976. I was your typical heterosexual teenager. My bedroom was plastered with posters of the girls I loved. Diana Ross, Bette Midler, Joan Collins, Joan Rivers, Olivia Newton-John, Donna Summer. Miss Piggy. Girls, girls, girls!

Ringo + Livvy 2014-09-25 19.24I’m not going to mention that I still have the 27 O N-J posters that adorned my childhood bedroom walls. That may sound weird.

Olivia was my favorite. I had a major crush on her. I was in her fan club. I even invited her to my bar mitzvah. On her invitation I wrote “They named a country after you called Bolivia. The ‘b’ is for beautiful.”

She didn’t come.

yearbooks 2014-09-25 11.19My friends in elementary and high school were very encouraging regarding my relationship with Livvy.

In 1984, Olivia married Matt Lattanzi, a muscular dance eleven years younger than she. They met on the set of the 1980 smash film Xanadu. By chance at the newsstand I noticed that Matt was mentioned in Playgirl, a women’s magazine. It was in an article about up-and-coming actors. There was a photo of him leaning against a wall in jeans, no shirt. Nice-looking guy. Good for you, Olivia! Good for you! Out of my devotion to my favorite female singer, I bought a copy of this issue. Sure, as I had the magazine, I browsed though it a handful of times. There were some interesting articles that gave me insight into how females think. Also, I thought the guys were nice-looking, objectively speaking. I can see why girls would like the magazine.

Matt Lattanzi001It could have been me!

In 2008 Olivia performed at West Hollywood Gay Pride. I watched her along with a few hundred other guys who I’m sure also learned a lot browsing Playgirl.

Olivia 106I found many of the guys watching Livvy at Gay Pride nice-looking, objectively speaking.

Today is Olivia’s 66th birthday. We kick off this week’s dance playlist with her smash “Physical.” The song’s video featured Olivia surrounded by a bunch of men who turn out to be gay. Can you imagine?

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