Queer Music of the 1990s

What makes compiling lists of queer music by decades more challenging as we move forward in time is that the number of songs from which to choose keeps increasing greatly. For today’s playlist, I started with a list of several hundred songs by out LGBTQ+ acts or with LGBTQ+ subject matter, from which I whittled it down to the 30 tunes below. I second guess myself a lot. Should three of the first four songs be by straight-identifying acts? Should I include a lightweight novelty number over something by Maria McKee? (I decided yes, though I love Maria.) I didn’t necessarily choose my favorites. Instead I went for songs/acts that were on some level trailblazers. Here they be:

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Throwback Thursday: 1992

It’s Throwback Thursday, and on today’s playlist we go back to 1992. Compiling this list made me notice (or remember) what a kickass year for music 1992 was. The success of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” a top ten pop hit around the world months after it was sent to alternative radio, came as a complete surprise to the band’s record label and management, and seemed to kick open the doors for weirdos and freaks (I use those terms affectionately) to find their place in the sun and on the charts.

The left field entries weren’t solely from the guitar rock field. Shakespear’s Sister’s “Stay” was a song (or two songs) that stood out from the pack and was not something one would have expected from a former member of Bananarama and someone who co-wrote and sang backup on Eric Clapton’s hit “Lay Down Sally.” And Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” endures all these years later.

To me this era was a golden age for hip hop. Arrested Development, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Kris Kross, Das EFX, Sir Mix-A-Lot and House of Pain hit creative peaks, while rap duo P.M. Dawn hit number three with “I’d Die Without You,” an unexpected ballad with nary a hint of the hip or hop.

Nineteen ninety-two was the year we met Mary J. Blige and Billy Ray Cyrus. It was the year many more people got to know Red Hot Chili Peppers, k.d. lang and En Vogue. And while new names were dotting the Hot 100, there was still room for more hits from Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Whitney Houston and U2.

Here are thirty musical highlights from 1992, a year that most definitely was not wiggida wiggida wiggida wack.

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Pride 50

On June 28, 1969, what was supposed to be a routine raid on a gay bar by the New York City police turned violent when patrons at the Stonewall Inn fought back, thus setting off the gay liberation movement. That pivotal moment was recognized one year later with a gathering in New York’s Greenwich Village, where the Stonewall Inn is located, and Gay Pride marches in Los Angeles and Chicago. The following year, Gay Pride marches sprang up in Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Paris, West Berlin and Stockholm. The Pride movement grew with each passing year, and it continues to expand to this day.

Tunes du Jour celebrates 50 years of Pride with today’s playlist. Be seen. Be heard. Be proud. Celebrate. Love.

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Winston + Nirvana

Throwback Thursday – 1992

Prior to Nirvana, alternative music was consigned to specialty sections of record stores, and major labels considered it to be, at the very most, a tax write-off. After the band’s second album, 1991’s Nevermind, nothing was ever quite the same, for better and for worse. Nirvana popularized punk, post-punk, and indie rock, unintentionally bringing them into the American mainstream like no other band to date.
AllMusic

It’s the Song that Broke Punk, the incantation about self-despising entertainment that turned a dead-end Aberdeen kid into a supernova, the very last rock song everyone could rally around.
Pitchfork

Winston + Nirvana
The song that changed everything, “Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” was released as a single in September 1991. It reached #6 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in January of the following year, and kicks off this week’s Throwback Thursday playlist focusing on 1992.


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Ringo + Pras 002

Lost In Emotion And Lost In My Condo

I can’t find my Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam promotional athletic socks. I know they’re in my home somewhere. I wanted to post a photo of them on my blog today, Lisa Lisa’s birthday, but I can’t find them anywhere. I found my Tenacious D socks, but they do me no good.

Over the years, while at my various record company jobs, I’ve collected promotional tchotchkes. You’d be surprised what were manufactured. Madonna lollipops, a Rolling Stones matchbook, a Terence Trent D’Arby electric toothbrush. I have all of those at my fingertips. I have an Aerosmith thermos and an Eazy-E thermos at my disposal. I can find my Kiss lunchbox and my Aaron Carter lunchbox (autographed!), my Babyface clock and my Prong clock (I can’t name a single song or album by Prong), my Gloria Estefan CD wallet and my Toto CD wallet, my Bruce Springsteen wallet and my Pras wallet. Pras! The member of the Fugees you never hear about these days. I know exactly where to find my Eminem bobble-head, my Michael Jackson paperweight, my Ricky Martin diary, my Nas inflatable globe, my NSYNC make-up case, my Cher paper fan, my Dead Milkmen flipbook, my Jamiroquai flag, my Nick Heyward kite, my Aerosmith handkerchief, my Pearl Jam doormat, my Michael Jackson duffle bag, my George Michael oversize paper clip, my Alice Cooper water gun and my Poi Dog Pondering whistle. Who the hell are Poi Dog Pondering? Where are my Lisa Lisa promotional athletic socks? I know where my Sophie B. Hawkins “As I Lay Me Down” hammock is – it’s hard to lose that! I remember giving away my Celine Dion luggage. The line had to be drawn somewhere. But for the life of me, I have no idea where my Lisa Lisa promotional athletic socks could be.

When I find my Lisa Lisa promotional athletic socks, I’ll post a photo of them. For now, here is Ringo with my Pras wallet.

Ringo + Pras 002

Enjoy Lisa Lisa’s birthday (she’s 48!). Here is a mini-playlist of her best tracks.