David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music

Darryl W. Bullock's David Bowie Made Me Gay is a comprehensive, illuminating and entertaining celebration of LGBT singers, composers, producers and musicians who created music over the last century. Bullock enhances these mini-biographies by placing them in context with historic advancements and setbacks in the quest for gay civil rights.

"Written histories have tended to straightwash the stories of the female pioneers of the blues," writes Bullock before correcting accounts of Bessie Smith, Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey and Billie Holiday in the 1920s and '30s. Bullock then profiles Noël Coward, Marlene Dietrich and Cole Porter. (Porter's 1941 song "Farming" is the first pop song to use the word "gay" to mean "homosexual.") The 1950s brings scandal sheets, arrests and lawsuits (amazingly, Liberace sued two newspapers who hinted he was gay and he won money from both publications).

Things loosen up in the 1960s when Little Richard, Lesley Gore and Dusty Springfield came out to the press. And while the Who's Pete Townshend and the Kinks' Dave Davies didn't come out until the '90s, they were both writing popular queer-themed songs in the 1960s. Bullock also covers multiple musicians in chapters on specific genres like women's music (Janis Ian, Joan Armatrading, Holly Near), country (Ty Herndon, Chely Wright and Drake Jensen) and disco (Village People, Sylvester, Divine, Jacques Morali). Bullock's sensational reference guide uncovers a lot of fascinating and unfamiliar queer history and shares it in an entertaining and breezy style. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant

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