Gayest Songs of All Time List Omits Morrissey, But Still Kind of Sad

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


mojo-photo-abba.jpgAs part of a celebration of the 30th anniversary of Sydney, Australia’s legendary Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, Australian website SameSame asked readers to vote on the “gayest songs of all time,” and they’ve just announced the top 50 vote-getters today. It’s pretty predictable, with lots of Madonna and Pet Shop Boys and Village People, plus since it’s Australia there’s about 14 Minogue songs (both Kylie and Dannii). You’d think maybe the Smiths’ “I Want the One I Can’t Have” might have snuck in there, but I guess this is Gay Pride, not Gay Horrible Shame and Misery. Here’s the Top 20:

20. Dolly Parton “9 to 5”
19. Coming Out Crew “Free, Gay and Happy”
18. Village People “In the Navy”
17. Frankie Goes To Hollywood “Relax”
16. Village People “Macho Man”
15. Judy Garland “Over the Rainbow”
14. Bronski Beat “Smalltown Boy”
13. Diana Ross “I’m Coming Out”
12. Cher “Believe”
11. Gloria Gaynor “I Am What I Am”
10. Alicia Bridges “I Love The Nightlife”
9. Madonna “Vogue”
8. Olivia Netwon-John “Xanadu”
7. Kylie Minogue “Better the Devil You Know”
6. Pet Shop Boys “Go West”
5. Kylie Minogue “Your Disco Needs You”
4. The Weather Girls “It’s Raining Men”
3. Gloria Gaynor “I Will Survive”
2. Village People “YMCA”
1. ABBA “Dancing Queen”

The Minogue and Madonna stuff is at least relatively recent, but other than that, almost everything on this list came out in a 7 year period between 1975 and 1982. Was this really the gayest era in history, the heyday of disco and androgynous new wave? Why did music suddenly get so gay and then, just as suddenly, put away the sparkles? Will there ever be another time when high camp holds such sway over popular music? At this point, it sure doesn’t seem likely: whether it’s detached indie rock or booming hip-hop, lyrical themes are aggressively hetero-realist, except for deeply underground exceptions like the Magnetic Fields. Of course, come to think of it, we didn’t exactly know how gay things were back in the late ’70s: to my 10-year-old mind, the Village People seemed like paragons of macho ideals and admirable career choices, their winking gayitude only recognizable in retrospect. Perhaps in 20 years, our “gayest songs” list will include secretly homoerotic anthems from, like, Daughtry, and we’ll all go “how did we miss that?”

Photo courtesy Atlantic Records.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest