Today’s Throwback Thursday playlist revisits the music of 1975. Each of the 30 songs below made the pop top 40. I miss the days before radio became so segmented and one could hear Eagles rubbing up against Minnie Riperton next to Bob Dylan followed by Labelle with Bruce Springsteen’s first hit playing with The Captain & Tennille’s first hit on deck. It satisfies the musical omnivore that I am.
Today’s Pride playlist focuses on music from the 1970s. After making it I noticed it was light on the ladies. More women will turn up as this series goes on. Here’s what you’ll hear on today’s playlist:
“Lola” – The Kinks
“I know what I am and I’m glad I’m a man and so is Lola.” You can interpret this line as meaning that I’m glad I’m a man and Lola is also glad that I’m a man, though if you consider the earlier line “I’m not dumb, but I can’t understand why she walked like a woman but talked like a man” you’ll realize that Lola is also a man. A man who made the top ten in 1970 and makes her presence known to this day.
“Rocket Man (I Think It’s Gonna be A Long, Long Time)” – Elton John
Of course this playlist needs some Elton John. I recall reading an essay about “Rocket Man” some years ago where the author posits this song’s lyrics are about a gay man. A man who is leaving his wife and children to live his life though loneliness that will surround him, at least initially. A man who is “not the man they think I am back home.” And then there’s the phallic imagery of a rocket. That’s part of this writer’s essay. Lyricist Bernie Taupin has never acknowledged this theory, as far as I know.
“John I’m Only Dancing” – David Bowie
In the traditional song “Frankie and Johnny,” a young woman named Frankie sees her boyfriend dancing with another woman and shoots him. As Johnny falls to the floor, he tells Frankie he loves her and was telling this other woman about her. “John I’m Only Dancing” flips the script. John sees his boyfriend dancing with a woman, and the boyfriend explains that it’s just dancing he’s doing with the woman. Pretty rad for 1973.
“Walk on the Wild Side” – Lou Reed
Speaking of David Bowie, he co-produced Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” a song that opens with a verse about Holly Woodlawn, who hitchhiked across the United States and by the time she arrived at her destination, “he was a she.” Somehow, this tale of “outsiders” became Reed’s only pop hit. I love the song, though I don’t know how Candy Darling was able to utter the title phrase with her mouth full.
“I’maman” – Jobriath
Jobriath was the first openly gay man signed to a major record label (Elektra).
“Jimmy’s Got a Little Bit of Bitch in Him” – Funkadelic
That’s one way to put it.
“I Got The” – Labi Siffre
Eminem’s first hit was “My Name Is,” the single version of which included lyrics one may consider to be homophobic. The music bed was built around a sample from Labi Siffre’s “I Got The.” Pity Eminem didn’t know beforehand that Siffre is an openly gay man who refused to approve the sample use until Eminem changed the lyrics for the album version. Said Siffre “Dissing the victims of bigotry – women as bitches, homosexuals as faggots – is lazy writing. Diss the bigots, not their victims.”
“Get Dancin’” – Disco Tex & the Sex-O-Lettes
Joseph Montanez Jr. became openly gay Sir Monti Rock III, who adopted the camp persona of Disco Tex, and with openly gay Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons producer Bob Crewe came up with “Get Dancin’,” to the best of my knowledge the only top ten hit with the lyric “My chiffon is wet.”
“Killer Queen” – Queen
Killer Queen. Queen. Freddie Mercury.
“At Seventeen” – Janis Ian
Janis Ian came out as a lesbian in 1993.
“A.C.D.C.” – Sweet
She’s got girls. She’s got men.
“Ain’t Nobody Straight in L.A.” – The Miracles
Not true. I’ve met three straight people since I moved to L.A. in 2003.
“Sweet Transvestite” – Tim Curry
Sometimes I’m amazed by certain movie characters that catch on in the mainstream in a big way. Tim Curry’s Frank N. Furter is one of them, though it took a few years from the 1975 release of The Rocky Horror Picture Show for it to happen.
“53rd & 3rd” – Ramones
The corner in a then gayish neighborhood where a Viet Nam War vet is trying to turn a trick.
“All the Time” – Barry Manilow
Barry Manilow publicly came out as gay in 2017.
“I Go To Rio” – Peter Allen
Peter Allen, Liza Minnelli’s first husband, was in a relationship with a male model from 1974 to 1984, when the model passed away from an AIDS-related illness. Allen passed away from an AIDS-related illness eight years later.
“The Killing of Georgie” – Rod Stewart
In which a gay man dies from a gay bashing on 53rd & 3rd. Not your typical top 40 fare in 1977, and yet.
“Jet Boy, Jet Girl” – Elton Motello
Sung from the persona of a 15 year-old boy who likes to kiss, get head from, and wishes to penetrate another boy, this song surprisingly didn’t make the top 40. Or top 100.
“Fuck Off” – Wayne County & The Electric Chairs
Considered to be rock music’s first openly transgender singer, Jayne County wrote and sang this song that to me is THE anthem of LGBTQI+ people.
“I Was Born This Way” – Carl Bean
Openly gay Carl Bean had a hit on the disco chart in 1978 with this song about being openly gay.
“Glad To be Gay” – Tom Robinson Band
“I Love the Nightlife (Disco ‘Round)” – Alicia Bridges
Alicia Bridges came out as a lesbian in 1998.
“Muscleboys” – Mumps
Hey – there’s a new compilation of recordings from gay punk band Mumps that just came out. Someone whose blog you’re now reading worked on it. J
“Cherry Poppin’” – Mitch Ryder
With The Detroit Wheels, Mitch Ryder had a handful of hit singles in the 1960s, the most famous of which was his medley of “Devil With a Blue Dress On” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly.” This song about his love of anal sex with other guys is not as well-known.
“Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)” – Buzzcocks
Written and sung by Buzzcocks’ bisexual singer and songwriter Pete Shelley.
“Instant Replay” – Dan Hartman
The late Dan Hartman was a gay man who kept his sexual orientation and HIV status secret form the public during his lifetime.
“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” – Sylvester
On the other end of the spectrum is Sylvester, who was openly gay, outspoken, and refused to conform to the typical straight or gay presentation of one’s self.
“There But for the Grace of God Go I” – Machine
Carlos and Carmen Vidal move far away from the Bronx so they can raise their newborn daughter away from the Blacks, the Jews and the gays. How do you think the daughter turned out?
“Go West” – Village People
Village People’s openly straight lead singer Victor Willis said the lyrics he contributed to this song were not intended to be gay in any way, but as a gay man, it’s hard to not hear the song about two people in love beginning a new life in a place that’s peaceful and near the beach where they can be carefree and happy to not be about going west to California, particular gay mecca San Francisco. I’ll also add that Village People’s “Macho Man,” “In the Navy,” Y.M.C.A.,” “San Francisco,” and “Fire Island” sound kinda gay to me as well.
“Manimal” – The Germs
The Germs’ lead singer Darby Crash went to great lengths to hide the fact that he was gay, so as not to alienate the group’s fans. He took his own life in 1980, aged 22.
The Spotify embed link is still not working, so here is the link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4sRn5vjsgNdNm80iiSUf0M?si=ae606e31c882414a
I didn’t appreciate how much great music hit in 1973 until I compiled this playlist. Take a listen to the classic tunes that were unleashed in that year. Dag yo.
The Spotify embed feature isn’t working again, so here is the link: https://open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/77FwxEBSB575UVrsGKmOSv
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Inspired by the October 5 birthdays of Steve Miller, Sweet’s Brian Connolly, Sparks’ Russell Mael, The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy, Mrs. Miller, The Boomtown Rats’ Bob Geldof, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s Kip Berman, Glynis Johns, William Tabbert, Madness’ Lee Thompson, Billy Riley, The Chantels’ Arlene Smith and Girls Aloud’s Nicola Roberts.
In the late 70s, people often confused my dad for Kenny Rogers. They’re close in age, and my dad was a white guy with a beard (still is both) and drove around in fancy sportscars you would imagine a country music superstar would drive, so one could see why he was stopped to sign autographs. Many people confused my brother for John Travolta. We grew up one town over from where Travolta grew up, and my brother had the dimple in his chin (still does). Once while the family was eating at a local restaurant, a couple came over to our table to meet John Travolta. They thought they were slick when their opening line was a question directed to my dad: “Excuse me, are you Sam Travolta?” Sam was John’s dad. If I remember correctly, he owned a tire shop in town. My dad replied that he is not Sam Travolta. He’s Kenny Rogers. The celebrity I was often mistaken for was Kermit the Frog. I’m not joking. Frequently people told me of my resemblance to the actor/singer/banjo player/TV host/piece of felt. On a public bus once a woman came up to me and asked “Has anyone ever told you you look like Kermit the Frog?” Yes! All the time! It’s not easy being green.
Today’s playlist is inspired by the September 24 birthdays of Jim Henson, Gerry Marsden, Jack Scott, The Dixie Cups’ Rosa Lee Hawkins, Linda McCartney, Kreayshawn and Shep.
You may not know the name Mike Chapman. Then again, maybe you do. Chances are I don’t know you, so I have no idea what familiarity you may have with the name Mike Chapman. Even if I do know you, I don’t know everything that you know. I mean, I don’t know how much familiarity you have on certain subjects. Of course, you know things I don’t. Where am I going with this? I forgot. I’ll start over.
Mike Chapman. Even if you don’t recognize the name, chances are you recognize his hit songs. He produced Blondie’s Parallel Lines album. He produced Get the Knack. He produced lots more, some of his earlier efforts with his former business partner Nicky Chinn. The Chapman-Chinn team is also credited with writing many hit songs, as is Chapman without Chinn. Have you ever heard Toni Basil’s “Mickey?” Of course you have. It was written by Chapman and Chinn. Do you know Tina Turner’s “Better Be Good to Me?” That was written by Chapman and Chinn with Holly Knight.
Today’s playlist consists of nineteen songs on which Mike Chapman has a production credit, with Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz” as a bonus track. Chapman didn’t produce that, though he and Chinn wrote it, as they did Sweet’s hit “Little Willy.” I love both of those records! Chapman and Chinn also wrote but didn’t produce the Huey Lewis and the News hit “Heart and Soul.” It’s no “Ballroom Blitz.” If you want to listen to it, you’re on your own.
Today may be Mike Chapman’s birthday. Then again, maybe it isn’t. It depends on what website you look to to get your information. Either way, the man is responsible for so many great hits, and that’s reason enough to post a playlist of some of his finest work (plus Rod Stewart’s “Love Touch,” which Rod agrees isn’t his finest, but whatevs). Included are the original versions (produced by Chapman) of the previously-mentioned hits for Toni Basil and Tina Turner.
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It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap
You gotta get out while you’re young
New Jersey does not have an official state song. There have been attempts to adopt one since at least 1939, when the state’s Board of Education held a contest to find a suitable number. They named Samuel F. Monroe’s “The New Jersey Loyalty Song” as the contest’s winner, but it was not good enough to be the official state song.
In 1972, the state legislature proposed that Joseph “Red” Mascara’s “I’m from New Jersey” be the state’s song, but Governor William Cahill vetoed the measure, stating succinctly about the song “It stinks.”
In March of 1980, radio d.j. Carol Miller started a petition to have “Born to Run,” written and recorded by New Jersey’s favorite son, Bruce Springsteen, be named the state song. Three state assemblypersons drafted a resolution declaring “Born to Run” “as the unofficial *rock* theme of our State’s youth.” I’m confused to as to how an official resolution can name an “unofficial” theme, just as the state’s senate was confused as to how a song that includes the lyrics that open this post expresses pride in where one’s from. The bid died.
The song also includes these lyrics that tickle my friend Audrey so: Someday, girl, I don’t know when, we’re gonna get to that place where we really wanna go.
Oh, that place!
By the way, I got out of New Jersey when I was 24.
This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist spotlights some of the best tunes from 1975, kicking off with what is unofficially New Jersey’s unofficial state song, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”
Singer/Songwriter/Record producer Ed Townsend had, in his own words, “a monstrous addiction to alcohol.” While in rehab he wrote a song which he described as a message to himself “about the business of getting on with life.”
On March 13, 1973, Townsend recorded a demo of Marvin Gaye singing this composition.
Nine days later, the men were again in the studio. Visiting the two men there was Barbara Hunter, a friend of Townsend. She came with her 16-year-old daughter, Janis.
Gaye was immediately smitten with Janis. As he often did, Gaye made up new lyrics in the studio. Inspired by the presence of this beautiful teenage girl, Townsend’s song about understanding and brotherhood became a paean to enjoying sex for its own sake, particularly when it is with someone you love.
Marvin and Janis got married in 1977, four years after the song Gaye recorded the day they met, “Let’s Get It On,” hit #1.
This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist consists of twenty big hits from 1973, kicking off with the classic “Let’s Get It On.”
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