View Full Version : Out Magazine's 100 Greatest, Gayest Albums

12-22-2009, 10:26 AM
1. David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, 1972
It’s ironic that an album with an opener forecasting Earth’s expiration and a closer tackling celebrity excess and self-destruction remains one of the most liberating, uplifting records of all time -- about as ironic as a straight man topping this list. Robust, swaggering anthems “Ziggy Stardust” and “Suffragette City” prove this space odyssey is far from morbid or apocalyptic, yet it is on standouts like the languid, gender-flirting “Lady Stardust” and brash come-on “Moonage Daydream” -- in which the singer asks for a raygun to be placed to his head with almost masochistic sexual glee -- that Ziggy and his Spiders really shine. When in the grand finale, “Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide,” Bowie wails “Oh no love! You’re not alone!” over a sea of theatrical strings, you know he was singing for every exiled, dejected, sexually confused young kid who longed for a world of greater possibilities.

"At a time when social and sexual taboos were just starting to break down, Bowie as Ziggy created a world where the possibilities were limitless. You could be whatever you wanted to be.” -- Boy George

2. The Smiths, The Smiths, 1984
After glam rock faded in the mid ’70s, the gay sensibility so integral to British culture was redirected to its pop and dance music. But the Smiths proved the exception to that rule, particularly on the band’s 1984 debut, with a front cover featuring Warhol hunk Joe Dallesandro. As the chiming guitars of Johnny Marr suggest both despair and its transcendence, singer Morrissey articulates alienated longings that gain extra poignancy if one understands them as queer. “You can pin and mount me like a butterfly,” he croons on “Reel Around the Fountain.” Many have dreamed variations on that theme.

3. Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman, 1988
Announcing the arrival of an acoustic singer-songwriter defined by quiet alto anguish and lyrics that speak of social injustices from an insider’s viewpoint, Tracy Chapman’s 1988 debut is a revolution that sounds like a whisper. An eerily memorable chronicle of frustrated dreams, “Fast Car” still seems to slow life down every time it’s played, but the album’s plainspoken love songs -- particularly “Baby Can I Hold You” -- remain just as eloquent.

4. Indigo Girls, Indigo Girls, 1989

5. Judy Garland, Judy at Carnegie Hall, 1961
"She is a legend for a reason. That performance, at that time, by that woman was clearly once in a lifetime. When I first heard it, I wasn't sure who needed whom more. Was it the gay men in the audience needing her, or was it her needing them?” -- Wilson Cruz, actor

6. The Smiths, The Queen is Dead, 1986

7. Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973

8. Madonna, The Immaculate Collection, 1990

9. Cyndi Lauper, She's So Unusual, 1983

10. Antony and the Johnsons, I Am A Bird Now, 2005
With unflinching passion, a desperate desire for human connection, and a tremulous voice redolent of Nina Simone, cherubic Antony Hegarty -- with help from Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright, and Boy George -- delivered a sparse set of some of the saddest, rawest songs ever recorded. In I Am a Bird Now’s 10 tracks, the singer meditates on the lonesome “middle place” between life and nothingness (“Hope There’s Someone”); gender mutability (“For Today I Am a Boy”); sadomasochism (“Fistful of Love”); and, on the album’s breathtaking climax, “Bird Gerhl,” the sublime freedom of flying alone.

11. Various artists, Hedwig and the Angry Inch soundtrack, 2001

12. The Velvet Underground & Nico, The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967

13. Ani DiFranco, Dilate, 1996
“The record took me two years to digest; it overwhelmed me. Ani put words to experiences from my generation with poise and generosity I had never and still haven’t heard.” -- Melissa Ferrick, folk musician

14. Erasure, The Innocents, 1988

15. George Michael, Faith, 1987

16. Queen, A Night at the Opera, 1975

17. Lou Reed, Transformer, 1972
“The gender-bending ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ is (as far as we know) the only song about transsexuals, male prostitution, and blowjobs to hit the Top 40. Bonus points for the leather hunk with a giant hard-on on the back cover.” -- queer psych-prog band Mirror Mirror

18. George Michael, Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. I, 1990
The 6 1/2-minute “Freedom ’90” was not only the first great pop song of that decade, it was George Michael’s condensed autobiography -- the true story of a boy who had painted himself into a corner but was dying to come out. So he recast himself with lip-syncing supermodels, stopped touring, and began to quietly make good on his promise to “take these lies and make them true somehow.” There are other excellent songs on Listen Without Prejudice (most notably the viciously political “Praying for Time”), but it is the gospel choir–worthy “Freedom” that will remain a queer anthem.

19. The B-52s, The B-52's, 1979
“I remember auditioning for the character of Duckie in Pretty in Pink and bringing in ‘Planet Claire’ to dance to in front of the director. I still hate Jon Cryer.” -- John Cameron Mitchell

20. Queen, A Day at the Races, 1976

21. David Bowie, Hunky Dory, 1971

22. The Gossip, Standing in the Way of Control, 2006

23. Deee-Lite, World Clique, 1990

24. Sylvester, Living Proof, 1979

25. k.d. lang, Ingénue, 1992
With its silky textures and subtle, slinky rhythms, 1992’s Ingénue shifted k.d. lang’s musical focus from the prairie to a cabaret of her own design. “Miss Chatelaine,” her dreamy Lawrence Welk tribute (as its video bears out), birthed a butch-goes-femme lesbian variation on camp that narrowed the aesthetic divide between lang’s sapphic sisters and her gay brothers, while “Constant Craving” wooed adult pop radio and scored lang her well-deserved third Grammy, transforming this Canadian country crooner into an unconventional mainstream icon. In live performance lang remained a wild thing, but on her fifth and most popular album, she’s deliciously smooth -- nearly regal with poise.

26. Scissor Sisters, Scissor Sisters, 2004

27. Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), 1983
Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart’s romantic partnership had ceased by the time of its release, but that troubled relationship is at the core of Sweet Dreams. On the title track the yin/yang of Stewart’s driving synths with Lennox’s ethereal vocals is as electrifying today as it was 25 years ago, but while the single scored their first (and only) U.S. number 1, it’s the spectral “Love Is a Stranger” and “This City Never Sleeps” that evoke the mood of foreboding and loneliness that came to dominate Lennox’s solo career.

28. Queen, The Game, 1980

29. Pet Shop Boys, Actually, 1987

30. Diana Ross, Diana, 1980

31. Sarah McLachlan, Fumbling Towards Ecstacy, 1993
“Lesbians all across the world have had sex to this record. A lot of sex.” -- Jen Foster, folk musician

32. The Smiths, Meat Is Murder, 1985

33. The Smiths, Hatful of Hollow, 1984

34. Donna Summer, Bad Girls, 1979

35. Yaz, Upstairs at Eric's, 1982
When this synth-pop duo first appeared, many thought its singer was a black gay man. In fact, Yaz (or Yazoo, outside the United States) was deep-voiced English chanteuse Alison Moyet and fellow Brit Vince Clarke (formerly of Depeche Mode). Together they merged hot soul and icy arpeggios not only for “Situation,” one of the first new wave crossovers from gay clubs, but also for the album’s equally explosive ballads. After one more album Moyet went solo, while Clarke created another pioneering synth-pop duo: Erasure.

36. Madonna, Erotica, 1992
“Madonna was fully exploring her sexuality with the simultaneous release of Erotica and the Sex book, and as a budding young queer teen, I had never heard a mainstream artist tell me it was OK to love who I love and have sex with who I want.” -- Ari Gold, pop singer

37. Blondie, Parallel Lines, 1978

38. Dusty Springfield, Dusty in Memphis, 1969
Despite its many songwriters, this exquisitely sequenced album by British songbird Dusty Springfield presents a unified statement on the tumultuous nature of love. It didn’t sell spectacularly, even while yielding the instant classic “Son of a Preacher Man,” but it has long been considered a pinnacle of white soul. When Springfield follows the philosophic “No Easy Way Down” with the pleading “I Can’t Make It Alone,” the effect is softly devastating. A year later she spoke openly of her same-sex attractions.

39. Laura Nyro and Labelle, Gonna Take A Miracle, 1971
“Nyro brought in Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash (well before ‘Lady Marmalade’), and the four voices are staggering, heartbreaking, and roof-shaking. It’s simple music that was never written to be this complex, but these girls looked at it from another angle, which is the hallmark of the gay approach to life -- and which so often results in great art.” -- Bruce Vilanch, comedian

40. Pet Shop Boys, Behavior, 1990

41. Melissa Etheridge, Yes I Am, 1993

42. ABBA, Gold, 1992

43. Prince, Purple Rain, 1984

44. Pet Shop Boys, Very, 1993
The foppish synth-pop duo’s coming-out album, released at such a politically charged era in queer history, unspools like an unabashed crash course in gay. Self-deception (“Can You Forgive Her?”), the AIDS crisis (“Dreaming of the Queen”), and feigned barroom indifference (“To Speak Is a Sin”) all show up to the party, before Neil Tennant’s tenor throws open the doors and summons us to a campy utopia in the bittersweet Village People remake “Go West.”

45. Bikini Kill, Pussy Whipped, 1993

46. Madonna, Ray of Light, 1998

47. The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs, 1999

48. Cris Williamson, The Changer and the Changed, 1975

49. Patti Smith, Horses, 1975

50. Rufus Wainwright, Poses, 2001

51. Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Welcome to the Pleasuredome, 1984

52. Kate Bush, Hounds of Love, 1985
“What I love about this album is essentially what I love about being gay. It's eccentric, wildly imaginative, and has a completely naive view of the world in which it exists. In Kate Bush's conceptual world the clouds make magical shapes in the sky, God can change the place of a man and a woman, and innocence is lost only to give way to the beauty of romance. I paint the memory of my coming out in similarly vibrant and violent colors.” -- Darren Hayes, pop singer, formerly of Savage Garden

53. Culture Club, Colour by Numbers, 1983

54. Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes, 1992
“A song has the ability to convey so many emotions, and that’s exactly what this exquisite album does. It takes you on a very powerful journey.” -- Perez Hilton, blogger

55. David Bowie, Diamond Dogs, 1974

56. Team Dresch, Personal Best, 1994

57. Prince, Dirty Mind, 1980

58. Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville, 1993

59. Bronski Beat, The Age of Consent, 1984
“It was the first overtly political queer album. It saved lives and broke hearts.” -- Kiki and Herb’s Justin Bond

60. R.E.M., Automatic for the People, 1992

61. Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out, 1997

62. Jeff Buckley, Grace, 1994
“My first boyfriend lived in New York City when we met, and he insisted I buy this cassette. Jeff’s angelic voice and soul-wrenching lyrics touched my heart immediately. During my first trip to New York to visit said boyfriend, he and I got into a huge fight. While I was wandering alone around the East Village, I ran into Jeff outside a music venue. I told him I loved his music. He told me he loved my shirt. I immediately tracked down the boyfriend for make-up sex.” -- Darryl Stephens, Noah’s Arc

63. Björk, Debut, 1993

64. Patti Smith, Easter, 1978

65. Le Tigre, Le Tigre, 1999
“It was the soundtrack to the queer cultural landscape of the late ’90s. It inspired countless girls to pick up instruments and give a shit about what was going on. It was riot grrrl with a bit more technology and dance appeal.” -- Scream Club

66. Soft Cell, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, 1981
Of all the new wave albums to have conquered the charts, Soft Cell’s debut is the most deliciously sleazy: It sounds as though it was recorded in a Times Square peep-show booth. Known primarily for the album’s massive synth-pop reworking of Gloria Jones’s cult soul classic “Tainted Love,” the British duo of queer singer Marc Almond and keyboardist Dave Ball also documents the last gay gasp of pre-AIDS abandon in tracks like “Seedy Films” and “Sex Dwarf” as well as the sobering mornings after in “Bedsitter.” Almond misses notes but, more important, nails the tenderness at the heart of the hedonism.

67. Hüsker Dü, Candy Apple Grey, 1986

68. Nirvana, Nevermind, 1991

69. Frances Faye, Caught in the Act, 1959
Perhaps the most unjustly forgotten nightclub singer in queer history, Frances Faye was a brassy bisexual broad whose act was equal parts cabaret and comedy, a mischievous love child of Mae West and Cole Porter. Caught in the Act -- a live recording from 1958 featuring her wild versions of “Night and Day” and “The Man I Love” -- is rare, undeniable evidence that her fans, including Rock Hudson, Barbara Stanwyck, and even Paul McCartney, were in on all the dirty jokes. In “Frances and Her Friends” anything goes: “I know a guy named Willie / Willie goes with Tilly / Tilly goes with Millie / What a ball!” And the crowd goes wild.

70. Rent original Broadway cast, Rent, 1996

71. Elton John, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, 1975

72. Donna Summer, Once Upon a Time, 1977

73. various artists, Fame soundtrack, 1980

74. Michael Jackson, Off the Wall, 1979

75. Carole King, Tapestry, 1971

76. Ani DiFranco, Imperfectly, 1992

77. New Order, Substance, 1987

78. various artists, The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack, 1975
"I was a regular Rocky midnight attendee by the time I was 11 (courtesy of my best friend's hippie Mom). Now I'm a singin' dancin' tranny with a penchant for tranny girls in fishnets. You do the math." -- Sean Dorsey (trans choreographer, dancer, and Artistic Director Fresh Meat Productions) and Shawna Virago (trans rock star, activist, Director Tranny Fest)

79. T. Rex, Electric Warrior, 1971

80. Rufus Wainwright, Want One, 2003

81. Scissor Sisters, Ta-Dah, 2006

82. Cher, Believe, 1998

83. Bette Midler, The Divine Miss M, 1972

84. Cyndi Lauper, True Colors, 1986

85. Nina Simone, Anthology, 2003

86. Madonna, Madonna, 1983
"I was in love with her. I never wanted to be her but I definitely wanted to hold hands. I still have my Like A Virgin tour t-shirt. I can tell you what I wore to the concert but that might be really saying too much. One word... AWKWARD!" -- Melissa York, drummer for the Butchies and Team Dresch

87. Madonna , Confessions on a Dance Floor, 2005

88. Hüsker Dü, Zen Arcade, 1984

89. Fifth Column, To Sir With Hate, 1986

90. Kate Bush, The Kick Inside, 1978

91. Grace Jones, Nightclubbing, 1981

92. Morrissey, Viva Hate, 1988

93. Sade, Lovers Rock, 2000

94. Hair original Broadway cast, Hair, 1968

95. Culture Club, Kissing to Be Clever, 1982

96. Nick Drake, Bryter Layter, 1970

97. Janis Ian, Between the Lines, 1975

98. Ferron, Testimony, 1980

99. Joni Mitchell, For the Roses, 1972
"An album to play alone in your bedroom when the phone doesn’t ring after your virginity is gone." -- Tom Kalin, director Savage Grace

100. The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967
“I couldn’t help being influenced by this truly trailblazing album by the ultimate pop group who was managed by a gay man, Brian Epstein. The world would have missed this cultural watershed without his influence.” -- Holly Johnson, Frankie Goes to Hollywood

12-22-2009, 10:31 AM
hahaha ALL The Smiths' albums are on there.

12-22-2009, 10:37 AM
I'm concerned. I have 50 of them.

12-22-2009, 10:39 AM
This list needs more Hercules and Love Affair.

I also listen to a disturbing amount of gay music.

12-22-2009, 10:51 AM
I'm concerned. I have 50 of them.

I have 20. You're gayer than I am.

12-22-2009, 10:57 AM
I have 35 of them. I'm pretty sure I don't have Bikini Kill, Pussy Whipped, 1993.

They need more Bette Midler, Carpenters, Depeche Mode, Cher, En Vogue, and Erasure.

12-22-2009, 11:13 AM
Erasure is soooooo gay

ps. love the new avatar gps

12-22-2009, 11:26 AM
100. The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967
“I couldn’t help being influenced by this truly trailblazing album by the ultimate pop group who was managed by a gay man, Brian Epstein. The world would have missed this cultural watershed without his influence.” -- Holly Johnson, Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Sgt. Pepper's came about in a large part because the Beatles were falling out from under the influence of Brian Epstein. They should've gone much earlier if they were looking for something more attributable to Epstein.

12-22-2009, 11:35 AM
Nirvana? Really?

12-22-2009, 11:37 AM
There is absolutely NOTHING gay about The Velvet Underground & Nico.

Isn't this magazine aware of what the band name means??

12-22-2009, 11:39 AM
hahaha ALL The Smiths' albums are on there.

Actually Strangeways Here We Come isn't on there. That's the only one I own so far, and I only have 5 I think off this list. I am a homophobe.

12-22-2009, 11:40 AM
I own 6.

I am 6% gay.

12-22-2009, 11:44 AM
Actually Strangeways Here We Come isn't on there. That's the only one I own so far, and I only have 5 I think off this list. I am a homophobe.
That one should be on there too. I didn't see it, but was just skimming and saw Hatful of Hollow on there (which isn't even a US release) and a bunch of others, so I figured SHWC would be on there. Sorry.

12-22-2009, 11:44 AM
Not sure how many I have bought, but I have 24 of those in my collection.

And if adoring Carole King's Tapestry makes me gay, then hello penis.

12-22-2009, 11:47 AM
i've got 42 of these

12-22-2009, 12:08 PM
That one should be on there too. I didn't see it, but was just skimming and saw Hatful of Hollow on there (which isn't even a US release) and a bunch of others, so I figured SHWC would be on there. Sorry.

That little "sorry" at the end gives off kind of a "Oh shit I pissed off a Smiths fan" vibe. Don't worry, there will be no tussle in the gay album thread.

I own 6.

I am 6% gay.

Actually I miscounted, I have 6. We're gay album buddies.

12-22-2009, 12:30 PM
I have a lot less of these than I expected, I'd have considered my music taste a lot gayer than it apparently is.

12-22-2009, 12:45 PM
I think I have (or have had) about 17.

12-22-2009, 12:57 PM
Actually I miscounted, I have 6. We're gay album buddies.

Well then. Let's have sex.

12-22-2009, 12:59 PM
Gaying it, Victorian style.

12-22-2009, 01:02 PM
How is Kylie not on this list??? I swear I was one of 8 straight guys at her concert at the Bowl

12-22-2009, 01:13 PM
How is Kylie not on this list??? I swear I was one of 8 bi-curious guys at her concert at the Bowl


12-22-2009, 01:30 PM
How is Kylie not on this list??? I swear I was one of 8 straight guys at her concert at the Bowl

Yeah, the other 7 were lying.

12-22-2009, 01:36 PM
How is Kylie not on this list??? I swear I was one of 8 straight guys at her concert at the Bowl

Come out, already!

12-22-2009, 01:38 PM
like your avatar, GPS.

12-22-2009, 01:38 PM
ps. love the new avatar gps

Thanks. After seeing Avatar (the movie), I felt I needed something more 3D computer generated.

12-22-2009, 01:40 PM
haha, well, I don't have any of the albums on this list, soooo...

Kylie is a guilty pleasure I suppose

12-22-2009, 01:43 PM
whoops, didn't see biggfoot's admiring post.

12-22-2009, 01:45 PM
We should compare these to that spoof gay bands website that crops up now and then.

12-22-2009, 01:47 PM
haha, well, I don't have any of the albums on this list, soooo...

Kylie is a guilty pleasure I suppose

Hey, it's fine man. Love at First Sight is a great song.

12-22-2009, 01:49 PM
I have 15 so 15 % here. I have mostly the chick lps', Sara, Kate and the bunch. Of course all of the Bowie, Trex and Beatles cr****

12-22-2009, 01:55 PM
ABBA Gold at #42 is an outrage!!!!

12-22-2009, 02:04 PM
This just in from KFOG, it sort of fit the thread ..... cr****

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dear Ron,

You're probably busy enough with last minute holiday details, so let us help by providing the soundtrack for your Christmas celebration with family and friends.

Starting at 3pm Christmas Eve and continuing thru 3pm Christmas Day, we'll offer up 24 hours of uninterrupted Christmas music from some of your Foghead Favorite artists, inlcuding Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow, Jack Johnson, Melissa Etheridge, Bruce Springsteen, Los Lonely Boys, Sarah McLachlan, Chris Isaak, KT Tunstall, B.B. King, Tom Petty, Sting, and more.

12-22-2009, 03:35 PM
I only have 18, and most of those (Madonna) by default when my boyfriend moved in. Too bad i'm not a bigger Smiths/Morrisey fan, could've doubled my gayness.

12-22-2009, 03:37 PM
Half of my gay is all the Smiths/Moz stuff I own. I remember being upset whenever anyone told me he was gay when I was younger (I wanted a chance at him).

12-22-2009, 03:39 PM
Oh, Heaven let your light shine down...

12-22-2009, 08:38 PM
While I am not gay according to this list, my lack of gayness is skewed because I would be embarrassed playing plenty of my music in a car full of straight buddies. Then again that's partially due to their lack of taste.

12-22-2009, 08:44 PM
I'm really surprised Of Montreal didn't make the cut yet The Gossip are at #22..

12-22-2009, 10:57 PM
Hey, it's fine man. Love at First Sight is a great song.

And she's fucking hot. The english accent does it for me