Our sisters over at AfterEllen.com posted an intriguing entry about songs written or performed by straight artists about lesbians. Let’s take a look at the flip side: Ten songs written or performed by straight artists about gay (or, in one case, transgender) men. (In no particular order except #1.)
10. Rod Stewart: “The Killing of Georgie Part 1 & 2”
In 1976, Rod Stewart wrote and recorded this song about a gay boy named Georgie, who moved to New York City and met an untimely end.
In these days of changing ways,
so called liberated days,
a story comes to mind of a friend of mine.
Georgie boy was gay I guess,
nothin’ more or nothin’ less,
the kindest guy I ever knew.
His mother’s tears fell in vain
the afternoon George tried to explain
that he needed love like all the rest.
Pa said there must be a mistake
how can my son not be straight,
after all I’ve said and done for him.
9. The Kinks: “Lola”
1970’s “Lola” was one of the biggest hits for The Kinks, and was about a naive young man who falls in love with a girl with “something extra”. The matter of fact way it was treated was quite daring for the time, and according to Ray Davies, was based on a true story.
I met her in a club down in old Soho
where you drink champagne and it tastes just like Cherry Cola
She walked up to me and she asked me to dance.
I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice she said, “Lola”
L-O-L-A Lola, lo lo lo Lola
Well, I’m not the world’s most physical guy,
but when she squeesed me tight she nearly broke my spine
Eight more straight songs about gay men after the break!
8. The Lemonheads: “Big Gay Heart”
Evan Dando, the creative force behind the 90’s alternative band The Lemonheads, was once dubbed the “slacker sex kitten” because he oozed sex appeal. “Big Gay Heart” was released in 1993, and still sounds fresh (and the video features a very young Chloe Sevigny!).
Take a look into some big grey eyes and ask yourself
You wanna make em cry?
Lookin out of them its just as well
But you’re gonna live to see Im gonna ask you why.
Either way you got a bone to pick, cant you leave that to somebody else?
I don’t need you to duck my sick or to help me feel good about myself.
Big gay heart, please don’t break my big gay heart
7. Bruce Springsteen: “Streets of Philadelphia”
An Academy Award winner for Best Original Song, Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia” gave us the remarkable vision of the “Boss” singing the theme song to a story of a gay man dying of AIDS. Still packs a whallop, fifteen years later.
I was bruised and battered and I couldnt tell
What I felt,
I was unrecognizable to myself.
I saw my reflection in a window I didn’t know
My own face.
Oh brother are you gonna leave me
On the streets of philadelphia
6. Willie Nelson: “Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other”
“Cowboys are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other” was written back in 1981 by country musician Ned Sublette, during the time he and his wife lived next door to a gay country western bar in New York called Boots & Saddles. He wrote it with Willie Nelson in mind, but it wouldn’t be until the release of Brokeback Mountain that Willie decided to dust it off and record his own version.
There’s many a strange impulse out on the plains of West Texas;
There’s many a young boy who feels things he don’t comprehend.
Well small town don’t like it when somebody falls between sexes,
No, small town don’t like it when a cowboy has feelings for men.
5. Franz Ferdinand: “Michael”
The Scottish indie band Franz Ferdinand caused quite a stir when they released the homoerotic “Michael” in 2004. Lead singer Alex Kapranos stated in an interview that the song was written about two friends of his — “It was one night when me and the band were out with friends from Glasgow, and we went to this warehouse dance party thing called Disco X. It was a very debauched night and these two friends got it together in a very sexy way.”
Michael you’re the boy with all the leather hips.
Sticky hair, stickyhips, stubble on my sticky lips.
Michael you’re the only one I’d ever want
Only one I’d ever want only one I’d ever want.
Beautiful boys on a beautiful dance-floor
Michael you dance like a beatiful dance-whore.
Michael waiting on a silver platter now…
And nothing matters now.
4. Josie Cotton: “Johnny Are You Queer?”
Rockabilly pop princess Josie Cotton released “Johnny Are You Queer?” in 1981 to minor attention, but it received wider notice when it was included in the soundtrack to Valley Girl in 1983 (and has received more attention for being included in the film Jackass 2.) She asks the question that girls have been asking of their inattentive boyfriends since time began.
Johny what’s the deal boy,
Is your love for real boy.
when the lights are low
You never hold me close. Now I saw you today boy
Walking with them gay boys.
Now you hurt me so, now I gotta know Johny are you queer?
’Cause when I see you dancing with your friends
I can’t help wondering where I stand.
3. Tori Amos: “Real Men”
Joe Jackson’s song “Real Men” was one of the greatest songs of the 80’s, and the questions he raises about “what is a man” are still relevant. When Tori Amos covered the song for her Strange Little Girls album, the song became even more provocative, with a woman singing as a gay man.
see the nice boys
dancing in pairs,
golden earring, golden tan
blow-wave in the hair.
sure they’re all straight, straight as a line,
all the guys are macho
see their leather shine.
you don’t want to sound dumb,
don’t want to offend
so don’t call me a faggot
not unless you are a friend.
then if you’re tall
and handsome and strong
you can wear the uniform and i could play along.
2. Peter Curtis: “PIZAZZ!”
I know what you’re thinking – why the hell am i including this awe-inspiring song? Because I’ve made it my life’s mission to spread the word about “PIZAZZ!” Legend has it that Peter Curtis and other Hampshire University students decided to make a video one drunken night. Even more incredible than the finished product is the rumour that Peter is … straight.
Looking around for that special someone,who could he be, i’m sure we’ll have lots of fun. Cruising around for an awesome par-tay, PIZAZZ will be there to show you the way.
1. Nat King Cole: “Nature Boy”
I first heard “Nature Boy” as a teenager, when it played on the car radio (when you’re trapped in a car with your mom & dad, you have to listen to stuff like that). At the time, i was coming to terms with my sexuality, and my first thought listening to it was “OMG, it’s about a gay man”. I’ve never backed down from that assumption, and frankly, it doesn’t matter to me anymore if i’m proven wrong. “Nature Boy” will always be my personal coming out song.
There was a boy,
a very strange enchanted boy.
they say he wandered very far, very far
over land and sea.
a little shy and sad of eye
but very wise was he.
And then one day,
a magic day he passed my way.
and while we spoke of many things,
fools and kings,
this he said to me.
“the greatest thing you’ll ever learn
is just to love and be loved in return”