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Oliver Kurt - University of SalfordRSS | |
Coming Out; LGBT in the Music Industry
In 1988 following his divorce with Renata Blauel, Elton John publicly admitted he was homosexual contrary to him saying he was bisexual. John’s openness after years of suppression poses questions into why people in the music industry feel as if they have to hide their sexuality. Although this year’s LGBT history month is focusing on sport, it still allows us to celebrate the contributions from LGBT icons in the music industry.
Queen were one of the most influential and successful rock bands of popular music, fronted by possibly the greatest frontman ever, Farrokh Bulsara a.k.a Freddie Mercury. Composing most of the bands hit songs, Mercury’s talent stretched far beyond the stage performer that he naturally was. Although being open about his sexual orientation, Mercury was still subjected to criticism concerning the way he hid his illness, which eventually caused his death. However, looking beyond the bleak and sad nature of his passing it can be said that Mercury’s legacy is one that remain in the rock & roll history books forever. Widely noted as one of the most distinguished and illustrious bands ever, Queen are a prominent example of the success that openly LGBT people have had in British history.
Love him or hate him Morrissey’s contribution to music is something to be admired. The Smiths were only active for five years however the bands contribution to modern music is something to be celebrated. Emerging in the early-1980s The Smiths are regarded as one of the innovators of independent and alternative music, and, although they lacked commercial success their cult following remains strong today. Morrissey’s sexuality has always been something of a speculative nature with he himself stating that he is not interested in men or women and that he is asexual. His stance on sexuality is clear in relation to his music with his consistent answer that his sexuality is irrelevant. As a musical icon Morrissey can be said to be one of the more popular figures who stands for new ideas in relation to sexuality, refusing to recognise terms such as bisexual, homosexual or heterosexual claiming that everybody has the same sexual needs.
Sexuality in music appears to be an ongoing interest of the consumer. The constant questioning that pop stars face regarding their orientation can be considered insulting. ‘Why?’ is the question which must be asked on both sides of the argument; ‘Why should stars be subjected to personal questions?’ against ‘Why should they feel like they can’t be open about their sexuality?’. It is clear that sexuality is becoming more prominent as pop music changes and hopefully it will lead to further equality. We as music appreciators should not only look forward at what music is being offered but also remember what has shaped music today; LGBT history month is the perfect opportunity to open up to new music and celebrate the success of open sexuality.