Queer Music Of The 1970s

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

Rad.

“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

Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (3-15-20)

Inspired by the March 15 birthdays of The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, Sly Stone, Terence Trent D’Arby, the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh, Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus, Buzzcock’s/Magazine’s Howard Devoto, Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath, Rockwell, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider and Lil Dicky.

A Hint Of Mint – Volume 70: LGBTQ Music From 1977 To 1978

We are everywhere! In punk, in disco, in glam, in pop, in adult contemporary, in classic rock.

This playlists consists of twenty songs, some performed by artists who fall somewhere under the LGBTQ umbrella, others with queer lyrical content. Performers include Buzzcocks, the Rolling Stones and the Kinks.

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Throwback Thursday – 1978

Just how popular were the Bee Gees in 1978? So big that they accounted for two percent of the record industry’s profits that year.

On January 1, 1978, the trio, made up of brothers Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb, were at #1 with “How Deep is Your Love,” which the three performed, wrote and co-produced. It stayed on top for three weeks. In February they returned to the #1 position with “Stayin’ Alive.” That stayed at #1 for four weeks. It was knocked from the top spot by “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water,” performed by Andy Gibb, younger brother of the Bee Gees. “Thicker Than Water” was co-written and co-produced by Bee Gee Barry Gibb. “Thicker Than Water” was knocked from the top spot after two weeks by “Night Fever,” performed, written and co-produced by the Bee Gees. That song remained at #1 for eight weeks, only to be knocked from the top by “If I Can’t Have You,” performed by Yvonne Elliman and written and co-produced by the Bee Gees. Starting in mid-June, “Shadow Dancing,” written by the Bee Gees and Andy Gibb, co-produced by Barry Gibb, and performed by Andy Gibb went to #1 and stayed there for seven weeks. In late August Frankie Valli had his first #1 single in three years with “Grease,” written and co-produced by Barry Gibb.

Not everything they touched hit #1 that year. “Emotion,” written by Barry and Robin Gibb, co-produced by Barry Gibb and performed by Samantha Sang, peaked at #3 in March 1978. It was kept from #1 by “Night Fever” and “Stayin’ Alive.”

The album from which “Night Fever,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep is Your Love” and “If I Can’t Have You” were taken is the soundtrack to the film Saturday Night Fever, which spent 24 weeks at #1 and became the largest-selling album in history at that time. It remains the only soundtrack to have spawned four #1 singles. It could have been five if the Bee Gees’ version of their composition “More Than a Woman” had been released as a commercial single. Instead, the Tavares version of the song, which also appears on the soundtrack, was the single and became a top forty hit. Saturday Night Fever became the first soundtrack album to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The Bee Gees also won Grammy Awards for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals (both “How Deep is Your Love” and “Stayin’ Alive”) and Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices (for “Stayin’ Alive”), and Barry Gibb, along with Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson, won Producer of the Year.

In 1978 the Bee Gees were connected with another high-profile movie project: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, in which they starred and performed on the soundtrack. Though Robin Gibb hit #15 with the film’s “Oh! Darling”, the album and film were considered flops.

The relative failure of Sgt. Pepper’s notwithstanding, the Bee Gees remained huge throughout 1978. Their blend of pop, soul, and dance music gave them mass appeal. Besides hitting #1 on the pop charts, “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever” were top ten hits on the r&b and disco charts.

Tunes du Jour celebrates Throwback Thursday this week with the music of 1978. The Bee Gees may have dominated the mainstream, but as you’ll hear, rumblings of new and exciting permutations of rock & roll were rumbling under the surface.

We’ll kick off today’s playlist with the song that went to #1 in the UK, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and the US.


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A Hint Of Mint – Volume 36: The Gay Seventies

Compared to today, there were fewer out performers and fewer outlets for performers in the 1970s. Still, some queer acts broke through, and queer songs showed up in unexpected places. This playlist consist of twenty highlights of 1970s LGBT music from a diverse group of genres.

[8tracks width=”300″ height=”250″ playops=”” url=”http://8tracks.com/mixes/7507136″]
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