Clockwise: Album covers from The Nylons, Culture Club; B-52s; and Communards.
I've been a bit distracted this week, "dog-sitting" Wally for my sister. He is an adorable three-year-old Australian Terrier, and is an energetic guy. So he kept me busy. But back to the music, which is what this blog features, I decided to go with a party featuring some wonderful music released in the 1980s by some groups who had out and proud members long before it was hip or cool. I will start with the group The Nylons, who got together in the 1970s, making albums featuring their acappella realness, often making Do-Whop cool again. The Nylons were not officially a gay, but certainly had no problem accepting talented gay men into the fold. In 1982, The Nylons released a great album, 'One Size Fits All', on which they sing "Up The Ladder To The Roof", a song first made a hit in 1970 by a little group called The Supremes.
The following year, Boy George and Culture Club released one of my favorite songs from their early work. While most were going crazy for "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me", the song that made them famous in the United States, I was digging another song off the 'Kissing To Be Clever' album. Like the rest of the songs off the album, "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" was written by the band, and had a sweet easy feel. It is impossible to not dance to the song, even if it is in your chair at your desk. I hope you enjoy the official music video for "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" as much as I do!
I've been a fan of Jimmy Somerville far longer than I care to admit. I fell in love with the Bronski Beat, mesmerized by Jimmy's bold vocals, and the in-your-face song lyrics. I was crushed when Jimmy left the band, but followed him to The Communards, an exciting project with Richard Coles, and the occasional guest vocal from the brilliant Sarah Jane Morris. They had a great hit with a remake of "Don't Leave Me This Way", but I just was crazy about the amazing vocals Jimmy had on the 1986 single, "So Cold The Night". The song, written by Somerville and Coles, featured an exotic Middle-Eastern sound that flowed well into the Hi N-R-G groove that defined their singles. Jimmy's vocals gave new definition to the term 'soaring'. This is "So Cold The Night".
The final song of the night comes from Athens, Georgia, the home of The B-52s. The first time I heard the music of The B-52s, I was in a gay bar in Reading, Pennsylvania, and quickly learned the joys of the band, and dancing to "Rock Lobster". They made music that was smart, edgy, fun, and just wonderful. This made them insanely popular in the gay community at the time. Well, that, and of the original five members, Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, Keith Strickland, and the late Ricky Wilson, only Cindy came out as straight. When news broke in 1985 that Ricky Wilson had passed away due to complications related to AIDS, we all knew how that felt. That did cause a bit of a shake up in the band, as they were all close. But it was not that long before they were making music again, and by the time 1989 rolled around, the B52s released a new album and the first single "(Shake That) Cosmic Thing". I love the raucous feel of the song, reminding us they were at their core a rock band. The song that made everyone crazy was the third single, "Love Shack". But I will always have a spot in my heart for "(Shake That) Cosmic Thing".
Have a great weekend!