Tag Archives: Music

Gay History – January 20, 1979: Gloria Gaynor’s Gay Anthem “I Will Survive” Released – Five Facts You Didn’t Know

On January 20, 1979 Gloria Gaynor’s recording of I Will Survive was released and started its way up the music charts.

“I Will Survive” became one of the quintessential anthems for the Gay Pride that year and has held strong as a favorite of gay men everywhere.

But did you also know………

1. The song was released as a B-side

Gaynor originally released “I Will Survive” as the B-side to her cover of the Righteous Brothers’ “Substitute” in 1978. It wasn’t until radio DJs around the country took notice of “I Will Survive” and began giving the song airplay that the song quickly rocketed to the top of the charts and became a dance club staple.

2. Gaynor won the only Disco Grammy

Gloria Gaynor won the Grammy award for Best Disco Recording in 1980 for “I Will Survive.” This was the first and only time the Grammys offered this category at the awards and soon eliminated it after the fall of disco.

3. It doesn’t feature any background singers

Unlike many disco hits recorded at the time, “I Will Survive” is recorded without any background singers adding to the sound. Gaynor also recorded the song at a higher vocal register than she normally sings and the track wasn’t overproduced like her earlier hits.

4. The song has charted in every decade

Dozens of artists have covered Gaynor’s hit anthem, helping it achieve a timeless status on the charts. Since its release in the ’70s, “I Will Survive” has re-surfaced on the Hot 100 chart every decade in a variety of forms. In the ’80s, R&B singer Safire released her version that peaked at #53 in 1989. Singer Chantay Savage’s jazzy ballad peaked at #23 on the Hot 100 in 1996. In 2009, pop group the Pussycat Dolls sampled “I Will Survive” in their hit “Hush Hush; Hush Hush” that peaked at #73 and the hit show Glee helped bring the song back in 2011 with its Destiny’s Child mashup with “Survivor” that peaked at #51 on the chart.

5. “I Will Survive” has become a source of empowerment

The song has played an important part in many people’s lives as a source of inspiration and empowerment to overcome any obstacle in life. It not only serves as a break-up anthem for women that rouses up strength and power to move on from a relationship, but as the quintessential  empowerment song in the gay community to those who leave them behind, and even to Gaynor herself.

Just before recording “I Will Survive,” Gaynor spent six months in the hospital from a back injury and the song served as her own source of motivation to survive and overcome the injury. Since its release, “I Will Survive” has been translated in 20 different languages all over the world, and remains one of the most popular karaoke songs to this day.

Now that you know a little more behind the tune, watch and sing along with Gloria Gaynor’s timeless PRIDE anthem below!


Source K-Earth 101

Steve Bronski: Co-founder of Bronski Beat Dies Aged 61

Steve Bronski: Co-founder of Bronski Beat Dies Aged 61

Steve Bronski, a founding member of the trailblazing gay British synth-pop trio Bronski Beat, has died at age 61. No cause of death was given.

Bronski, AKA Steven Forrest, formed the band alongside Somerville and Larry Steinbachek in 1983. All three members of the band were proudly out as gay and America’s Spin magazine described them as “perhaps the first real gay group in the history of pop”.

Working with him on songs and the one song that changed our lives and touched so many other lives, was a fun and exciting time. Thanks for the melody, Steve.

Jimmy Somerville

Bronski Beat’s debut single, 1984’s Smalltown Boy, tells the story of a gay teenager leaving his family and prejudice in his hometown for an uncertain life in London. The record’s inner groove was etched with the number of the London Gay Switchboard.

Later that year Bronski Beat headlined the Pits and Perverts concert at the Electric Ballroom in London to raise funds for the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign, a performance depicted in the 2014 British film Pride.

Somerville left the band in summer 1985 owing to tensions within the group. He went on to have a successful career with the Communards and as a solo artist

Bronski continued to produce and record and spearheaded the recording of a revamped version of The Age of Consent titled The Age of Reason, with vocalist Stephen Granville. “We should be living in an age of reason,” Bronski told Pennyblack Music. “The trans community should not live in fear, and gay kids should not be bullied. We have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go.”

Back2Stonewall Sunday Tea Dance:

Back2Stonewall Sunday Tea Dance: (The Best Part of) Breaking Up by Roni Griffith (1982)

(The Best Part of) Breaking Up” is a song written by Phil SpectorPete Andreoli and Vince Poncia. It was first recorded by The Ronettes, in 1964.

In 1982 singer Roni Griffith hit number two on the US Dance Club Songs chart for two weeks with her Hi-NRG version of the song in 1982. By the end of that year Griffin had a platinum and gold record for her hits “(The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up” and “Desire”.

In 1983 Griffin’s career took a strange turn when she pursued a career as Christian Contemporary artist. She appeared on The 700 Club  and in 2004, she released her second Christian Contemporary album, entitled Only You.

Oy gavalt!

POP CULTURE: August 1, 1981 - Happy 40th. Birthday MTV!

POP CULTURE: August 1, 1981 – Happy 40th. Birthday MTV!

The music channel that changed pop culture forever. MTV is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Aug. 1 at 12:01 am.

I remember when we first started doing MTV News, nobody thought it would work,” he tells ET’s Kevin Frazier. “They thought it was stupid. They thought we were stupid.”

The premise was simple: Be television’s version of radio. In the early days, the network played music videos round-the-clock hosted by video jockeys (VJs).

“At the time, I don’t think anybody in mainstream media — I can’t believe I used that phrase — had much respect for the youth audience,” he adds. “What do they need the news for? Didn’t even have brains. So, the idea of getting kids interested in politics was new, I mean, was just not something that was going on at the time.”

As MTV marks 40 years, let’s look back at the iconic music videos we remember watching.

And remember: ‘I WANT MY MTV!”

Crisco Disco #FlashbackFriday ! - Patrick Hernandez: "Born To Be Alive" (1979)

Lost NYC Gay History: Remembering Crisco Disco

Crisco Disco was located at 408 West 15th. between 9th and 10th Avenue in what was once New York City’s old “Meatpacking district”.

Opened in the late 1970’s. Crisco’s as it was called was an after-hours, milti-floor club in an old converted warehouse complete that was open from 9:00 pm at night well into late morning. The DJ booth was a huge Crisco can and it attracted a diverse group, from leather queens, to Twinks to the Studio 54 crowd.

Crisco’s didn’t have a liquor license (you had to buy tickets which you exchanged for drinks) or if you were in with the club owner you could BYOB.

Hank the owner of Crisco had an incredible cocaine habit, he would invite, celebrities, fellow city gay bar and club employees, and all the attractive men he could into his VIP room where a huge pile of blow the size of a card table would be waiting The club’s VIP room was notorious for the free drugs — so famous in fact that Blondie’s song “Rapture,” with the line “Flash is fast, Flash is cool” refers to a “well known coke and heroin dealer who hung out in the club.

Crisco Disco closed in the early-mid 1980’s and the warehouse that housed it sat unoccupied unoccupied over 30 years until it was bought and turned an upscale restaurant during the Meatpacking districts “revitalization”

Unfortunately few pictures remain and not much has been written and documented about Crisco Disco despite it’s important place in New York City’s gay history.

If you have any memories, stories or photos of Crisco Disco please feel free to post them in the comment section below or email me at Will@Back2Stonewall.com

Tennessee State Republicans Block Resolution Honoring Singer T.J. Osborne Because He’s Gay

Tennessee State Republicans Block Resolution Honoring Singer T.J. Osborne Because He’s Gay

Tennessee State Republican legislators carried on with their anti-gay agenda 1234 again this week when when they blocked a symbolic resolution honoring country music star T.J. Osborne who recently came out as being gay.

State Rep. Jeremy Faison, chair of the House Republican Caucus, rejected the measure despite unanimous passage in the Republican-controlled state senate. Faison cited concerns that the resolution “wasn’t heard in committee, and I feel like it needs to be.”

The Republican controlled State House had previously voted for measures that honored dangerous rightwing pundits Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens. Neither resolution went through a committee and GOP legislators unanimously approved the honors. Only Republicans voted to send Osborne’s resolution to the committee.

“I wish I could say this didn’t hurt, but it does,” TJ Osborne wrote in an Instagram Story post

Grammy-winning singer Kacey Musgrave also expressed her disgust with the Tennessee GOP legislators 

#FlashbackFriday Crisco Disco Edition: “Knock on Wood” by Amii Stewart (1979) – Video

ammi stewart

“Knock on Wood” is a 1966 hit song written by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper and originally performed by Eddie Floyd. The Eddie Floyd version peaked at #28 on the Hot 100 and spent one week at #1 on the Soul Singles chart.

Amii Stewart’s disco version of the song, served as her debut single which reached number one in the U.S. charts in April 1979, as well as charting on the soul singles and disco charts, becoming the best-known version of the song. The song was co-produced by Simon May. It also reached the Top 10 twice in the UK, first in 1979 (#6) and a remixed version reached #7 in 1985. Amii’s version was featured in the 1998 film The Last Days of Disco and 54

Stewart followed up with another cover of The Doors’ classic, “Light My Fire”, which reached #5 in the UK, although only managed a lowly #69 in the US. She recorded it as a medley, incorporating “Light My Fire/137 Disco Heaven”.

In the 1998 movie 54, actress/singer Mary Griffin portrayed Stewart, performing the song Knock on Wood, at the famed discothèque. While performing, Griffin wore a similarly extravagant outfit to that which Stewart wore in the video to “Knock On Wood” in 1979. Although it was obvious that Griffin was portraying Stewart, the credits at the end of the movie have Griffin’s character listed as Disco Star.

Since 2001 Stewart has been working as a goodwill ambassador for Italian Unicef and has been involved in a large number of projects such as “Uniti per i bambini, Uniti contro l’AIDS” (translated as “United for the children, united against AIDS”). In 2006, she recorded the charity single “Love Song” for UNICEF in four different languages, once again returning to work with Ennio Morricone. The following year saw her return to duet with Mike Francis on the track “Nothing Can Come Between Us”. In 2006 Stewart and long-time friend and collaborator Ennio Morricone released 5 track single “Love Song”, sung in English, Italian, French, Spanish as well as a multilingual version. All proceeds from the single went to Unicef’s campaign “Check Out For Children”

#PRIDE50 - WATCH: Matt Bomer Sings "People Like Us" from Doom Patrol - VIDEO

#PRIDE50 – WATCH: Matt Bomer Sings “People Like Us” from Doom Patrol – VIDEO

Hey everybody loses it
Everybody wants to throw it all away sometimes
And hey, yeah I know what you’re going through
Don’t let it get the best of you, you’ll make it out alive
Oh, people like us we’ve gotta stick together
Keep your head up, nothing lasts forever
Here’s to the damned to the lost and forgotten
It’s hard to get high when you’re living on the bottom

#PRIDE50 - MUSIC: Sylvester & Patrick Cowley MENERGY (1980/1984)

#PRIDE50 – MUSIC: Sylvester & Patrick Cowley MENERGY (1980/1984)

“Menergy” is a 1980 dance single by producer Patrick Cowley. Along with the song “I Want to Take You Home”.

Sylvester was San Francisco’s biggest star and Cowley’s muse – a larger-than-life presence around town, dressed to the nines and often carrying multiple shopping bags as he walked down Castro Street. Cowley most famously worked with Sylvester on the ecstatic mega-hit You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) and was a pioneer of the genre known as hi-NRG, a relentlessly uptempo variant of disco that gained serious traction, especially in the UK and Europe.

“Menergy” spent two weeks atop the Billboard Dance/Disco chart in October and November 1981. It was Cowley’s most successful single of four Top 10 dance chart hits, all of which occurred within the span of 15 months. As with Cowley’s other singles, “Menergy” did not place on any other chart until 1984, when  a version of “Menergy” was released where Sylvester’s vocals were featured and became a huge hit especially with the gay dance crowd.

“The boys in the barroom
Living it up,
Shootin’ off energy.
The guys on the sidewalk
Workin’ it out,
Talkin’ ’bout Menergy.”

Pride Anthem 1980 - The Story of "I'm Coming Out" sung by Diana Ross

Pride Anthem 1980 – The Story of “I’m Coming Out” sung by Diana Ross

In 1979, Diana Ross commissioned Chic founders Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards to create material for a new album after taking her daughters to see the band in concert.  Rodgers got the idea for “I’m Coming Out” after noticing three different drag queens dressed as Diana Ross at a Gay/Drag/Trans New York club called the GG Barnum Room that had a trapeze with flyers soaring over the dance floor. 

Thus, ever since the song has bee interpreted as a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, identity and the encouragement of self-disclosure.