Tag Archives: Carl Bean

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 Cheryl Lynn’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

The Gong Show debuted on NBC in June of 1976. The program was a competition between amateur performers, whose acts were rated by three celebrity judges, rotating between Rip Taylor, Rex Reed, (Juicy) Jaye P. Morgan, Jamie Farr, Arte Johnson, Phyllis Diller, Steve Garvey, and Potsie Weber. The judges gave each act a rating between 1 and 9, unless any of them found the act particularly odious, in which case he or she would bang the gong and end the performance. The act who scored the highest cumulative rating of any given episode won a trophy and a cash prize of $516.32.

Performers on The Gong Show included Paul Reubens and John Paragon, prior to the creation of their alter-egos Pee Wee Herman and Jambi the genie; Andrea McArdle, just before she won the role of Annie in the Broadway musical based on the Little Orphan Annie comic strip; and Cheryl Lynn, who would go on to sign a record deal with Columbia Records.

Ringo + Cheryl Lynn
On The Gong Show, Cheryl Lynn scored a 30 with her performance of “You Are So Beautiful.” However, she didn’t win the $516.32, as a juggler on the same episode also scored a 30, and audience applause settled the tie score in his favor. Still, the exposure netted Lynn the recording agreement, and odds are she made more than $516.32 from her pop/disco/r&b hit “Got to Be Real.”

“Got to Be Real” was Lynn’s only top 40 single on the pop chart. On the r&b chart, she scored twelve top 40 singles.

Today, Cheryl Lynn turns 59 years old. Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party kicks off with the disco classic “Got to Be Real.”


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It’s Berry Gordy’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

It’s interesting that Berry Gordy, the head of Motown Records who in 1970 told his top male vocalist Marvin Gaye that the new song Gaye had written, “What’s Going On,” was “the worst thing I ever heard in my life” and that he shouldn’t do protest songs, would five years later have Motown be the first major label to release a pro-gay anthem.

Bunny Jones, a heterosexual Christian woman, owned several beauty salons in Harlem. Most of her employees were gay. Seeing how they needed to suppress their natural selves and being aware of the issues they faced, she wrote song lyrics about a man who says he’s “happy, carefree and gay,” the way God made him.

Set to music written by Chris Spierer, also straight, Jones looked for a male vocalist to record her song. After catching a performance of Hair at the Westbury Music Fair, she approached one of the show’s actors, Charles “Valentino” Harris, and told him of the song.

In 1975, at age 22, Valentino recorded his only record, a single entitled “I Was Born This Way.” Jones released it on a label she started, named Gaiee. On her own she sold 15,000 copies of the song. This got the attention of Berry Gordy, whose Motown Records picked up the single for distribution.

Valentino’s record got some club play, particularly in the UK where it was a #1 disco hit.

Two years later Motown approached a gospel singer named Carl Bean and asked him if he would record a new version of “I Was Born This Way.” Unbeknownst to Motown, Bean was gay. In early 1978, Bean’s version of the tune reached #15 on the Billboard Disco chart.

The song has since become something of a classic. Two years after Bean’s success with “I Was Born This Way,” Motown released Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out.” It would hold the #1 position on the Disco chart for five weeks and have much crossover success at pop and r&b radio as well.

Today Berry Gordy celebrates his 85th birthday. Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Here are twenty of Motown’s best disco/dance tracks from the 1970s thru 1990.

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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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LGBT Pride And Black Music Month

June is LGBT Pride Month. June is Black Music Month. June is Audiobook Month. June is busting out all over.

For eleven months out of the year I stay in the closet and listen to Mantovani while reading actual books, but in June I am Marvin with a capital Gay.

Tunes du Jour will celebrate LGBT Pride and Black Music all month long (you’re on your own for Audiobooks). Here is a sampler to kick off the celebrations.

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