Clockwise from top: Tom Robinson Band; Pansy Division; Tegan And Sara; Marcus Collins; and Indigo Girls.
To celebrate the holiday, I thought I would feature some artists who have been out and proud in the last four decades, as well as a more recent addition to the group. Mind you, there have been many others, so I was just looking for artists from particular decades that have not gotten as much coverage as others, and perhaps deserved a great deal more than the received. I will begin with an group from the 1970s who made music in the UK, and were fearless in doing so. Singer/songwriter and bassist Tom Robinson was behind the band, and was himself an out gay man. That alone was not an easy thing to do in the 70s, but he never wanted it any other way. In 1977, Tom Robinson Band had the great single, "(Sing If You're) Glad To Be Gay". The song was featured in the Monty Python film, 'The Secret Policeman's Other Ball'. And feel free to sing along!
There of course were an amazing amount from which to choose for the 80s, although some of them didn't come out until later. But there was a folk duo that first was noticed in 1985, but really took the world by storm in 1989 with an amazing single. After a couple of indie releases of their own, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers were signed to Epic Records in 1988, who loved their beautiful harmonies and amazing songwriting. We know them now, of course, as the Indigo Girls, who had their first big hit with "Closer To Fine" in 1989. Both Amy and Emily are out and proud lesbians, and still making great music!
The next group formed in San Fransisco in 1991, part of a Punk movement that later garnered the name Queercore. I am positively nuts for The Pansy Division, and have been for a long time. Their music combines so many different genres, from Punk to Pop to Country to, well, just about any one you can name. Their music is fun, and the lyrics are smart, funny, and at times have a pinpoint accuracy. It is also unapologetically gay. Jon Ginoli and Chris Freeman make up the core of the band, now joined by Luis Illades and Joel Reader. If I remember correctly, Jon, Chris, and Luis are gay, while Joel is the token straight boy. The band was certainly noticed in the 90s, touring with bands like Greenday, who are big supporters of the guys. Here are the Pansy Division with the 1995 single "I Really Wanted You", off the 1996 album, 'Wish I'd Taken Pictures'.
I venture to our neighbors to the North for our next group. Indie rockers Tegan and Sara are also identical twin sisters, and both also happen to be lesbians. And they also make some great music. They began making it in the late 90s, and were signed to Neil Young's Vapor Records label in 2000. For this post, I am going to grab "Walking With A Ghost", the single off the 2004 album, 'So Jealous'.
Well, to grab someone from the current decade was tough, for I really wanted it to be someone fairly new to the blog. Frankly, there are many talented and deserving individuals, but I decided on the runner-up in the 2011 X Factor UK show, Marcus Collins. He is bold, beautiful, brash, and brimming with talent. I mean, his musical energy could explode all over you, making for quite the mess. He is also quite fun to watch, as he just exudes style and fun. Here is Marcus Collins with his single from earlier this year, "Mercy", off his eponymous debut album.