When I came out as queer in February of 1987, I became interested in out musicians and unmistakably Queer Songs. As the ’80s rolled on into the ’90s a few performances really stood out. I’m going to share a few of those with you here – enjoy!
The first song is the most in your face queer song you’ll ever hear. I first saw Mistress Formika in Provincetown, Massachusetts. I really enjoyed her. She was an edgy drag queen who actually sang and didn’t lip-sync her performances. She also sang alternative rock and current hits rather than lip-sync to Barbara Streisand or Cher. This was and remains my all-time favorite, Fight For Your Right to be Queer, as performed in the movie “Wigstock:” (sorry the clip gets clipped before the performance is finished)
The next act is Pansy Division, a queercore group that toured with Green Day back in the day. They have several albums full of queer-positive/sex-positive songs – you should check them out. This song is audio only except for a photo of the band. This is a rewrite of a Nirvana song – here is, Smells Like Queer Spirit,:
The next song is a whole lot of fun. The group is Erasure out of Great Britain who have been a One Straight – One Queer duo for around 25 years. This is a song off of an early album of their’s, Two Ring Circus, the song is a cover of ABBA’s Gimme, Gimme, Gimme a Man After Midnight:
No Queer artist was more out and proud in the late ’80s and ’90s then Jimmy Somerville. He had hits with Bronski Beat and The Communards before going solo. Not only was he out, but also an activist with ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power), a group I also participated in. This song was a call to arms to “ACT-UP, Fight Back, Fight AIDS.” The song is Read My Lips:
I am going to close out this first, of what I hope will be many Queer Music posts, with this rarely seen video featuring the music of Elton John, from the album “The Fox.” The song’s lyrics were written by Tom Robinson who wrote and sang one of the earliest Queer Songs, Glad To Be Gay. The video shows a boy in a boarding school who is hopelessly in love with an older student. It is a haunting reminder of first crushes and unrequited love. The song is called simply, Elton’ s Song: