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Rock Music  
 
page: 1  2  3  

At the same time, the "Riot Grrl" movement started to take off. Riot Grrl was a grassroots feminist movement with several lesbian bands in the forefront, including Bikini Kill, L7, Tribe 8, and the Butchies. As the Riot Grrl movement gathered steam, queercore participants (both men and women) started to take notice, and the two movements began to feed off each other, leading to a diverse assortment of music and ideas.

Although queercore has a small, but passionate, group of supporters, it is perhaps too raw and controversial to move beyond the fringes of the music industry. Few radio stations are willing to play queercore music, and the independent labels that support queercore bands rarely have the resources to market them sufficiently.

Sponsor Message.

As more musicians publicly declare their homosexuality, being gay in the world of rock music may become less of an issue or a perceived detriment to a mainstream career. In recent years, for example, such rock musicians as singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco, Kathleen Hanna, of the bands Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, Corrin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, Michael Stipe, the lead singer for R.E.M., Jonsi Thór Birgisson, the front man for the Icelandic techno-rock group Sigur Rós; Chuck Panozzo, the longtime bassist and co-founder of the arena-rock band Styx; and Rob Halford, vocalist of the heavy metal British band Judas Priest, have all come out publicly as gay or bisexual.

Craig Kaczorowski

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arts >> Overview:  Country Music

Although the roots of country music are in conservative rural America, in recent years many gays and lesbians have become attracted to it, and there has been an emergence of gay and lesbian country performers.

arts >> Overview:  Music: Popular

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons have had tremendous influence on popular music, though some musical genres have been more receptive to a homosexual presence than others.

arts >> B-52s

Commonly known as the "World's Greatest Party Band," the B-52sĀ features openly gay members who are active in glbtq, AIDS, environmental and animal rights issues.

arts >> Bass, Lance

Singer Lance Bass gained fame as a member of the boy band *Nsync; since coming out in 2006, he has spoken on behalf of glbtq rights.

arts >> Bell, Andy

Singer and lyricist Andy Bell, half of the synth-pop duo Erasure, is one of the few openly gay, high-profile rock musicians.

arts >> Bono, Chaz

The child of a famous show business couple, Chaz Bono has had to cope with family resistance and intense public scrutiny as he came out, first as a lesbian, then as a transgender man.

arts >> Bowie, David

David Bowie, also known as "The Dame," became a leading light in 1970s "glam rock," going on to enjoy international superstar status, but his relationship to queer culture is deeply contradictory.

arts >> Boy George (George O'Dowd)

A pop icon with a rich soulful voice, Boy George, who fronted the band Culture Club in the 1980s, managed to survive homophobia, drug addiction, and fame.

arts >> DiFranco, Ani

Openly bisexual singer Ani DiFranco, described as "the thinking person's acoustic punk feminist," has drawn on an eclectic mixture of musical traditions to create a distinctive style.

arts >> Etheridge, Melissa

Award-winning rock singer and songwriter Melissa Etheridge has not only managed to carve out a spectacularly successful career as a popular mainstream performer, but she has also become a lesbian icon and activist for gay and lesbian causes.

arts >> Gately, Stephen

Singer, songwriter, and actor Stephen Gately gained fame as one of the lead vocalists in the Irish pop group Boyzone.

arts >> Halford, Rob

Rob Halford--dubbed "The Metal God" by fans and critics--is one of the most talented vocalists in heavy metal music and one of the few out artists in the genre.

arts >> Harris, Sam

Multi-talented Sam Harris is best known as a singer and actor; since coming out publicly in 1999, he has lent his voice to the cause of glbtq rights.

arts >> John, Sir Elton

Pop superstar Elton John's combination of melodic skills, dynamic charisma, and raucous performance style have make him a remarkably popular musical artist.

arts >> Joplin, Janis

As troubled as she was talented, 1960s rock star and blues singer Janis Joplin created an enduring musical legacy that crosses barriers of gender, race, and class; although she never identified as bisexual, she had affairs with both men and women.

arts >> LaBruce, Bruce

As a founder of the "queercore" movement, filmmaker and reluctant pornographer Bruce LaBruce reaffirms and celebrates the outsider status of homosexuals.

arts >> lang, k. d.

Long before she came out, lesbians had made singer k.d. lang their own.

arts >> Larson, Jonathan

Although apparently heterosexual, musical theater composer Jonathan Larson wrote sympathetically about a diverse community of artists, many of whom are glbtq.

arts >> Levan, Larry

Regularly hailed as the world's greatest DJ and widely credited with changing the sound of dance music in the 1970s and 1980s, Larry Levan was the driving force behind New York City's legendary dance club Paradise Garage.

arts >> Little Richard (Richard Penniman)

A legendary figure in popular music, Little Richard, torn between his sternly religious upbringing and his homosexuality, denounced his rock and roll lifestyle at the height of his career.

arts >> Mercury, Freddie

The front man of one of the world's most popular rock groups, Queen, Freddie Mercury was noted for his flamboyant, gender-bending androgyny.

arts >> Merritt, Stephin (b. 1966?) and the Magnetic Fields

Featuring an openly gay singer-songwriter and an openly lesbian accompanist and chanteuse singing songs about love in all its permutations, Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields have produced some of the most critically acclaimed queer-themed popular music in recent memory.

arts >> Michael, George

Popular singer and songwriter George Michael, who confirmed his long-rumored homosexuality after an arrest for "lewd behavior" in 1998, has devoted much effort to AIDS charities since 1992.

arts >> Ndegeocello, Meshell

Singer, songwriter, and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello is a notably eclectic artist whose music confronts social and sexual issues, including racial identity, same-sex attraction, and homophobia.

arts >> Pansy Division

The first rock band entirely composed of gay musicians who sang frankly gay-themed tunes, Pansy Division have recently emerged with a more mature sound.

arts >> Reed, Lou

In the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, bisexual rock musician Lou Reed, pencil-thin, craggy, and dressed in tough leather or androgynous glitz, came to symbolize the rebellious outsider.

arts >> Robinson, Tom

British rocker and activist Tom Robinson was embraced by the gay rights movement in the late 1970s, but became the subject of controversy in the 1990s when he chose to live with a woman and become a father.

arts >> Saint, Assotto

Through his contributions to literary and popular culture, Haitian-born American poet, performance artist, musician, and editor and publisher Assotto Saint increased the visibility of black queer authors and themes during the 1980s and early 1990s.

arts >> The Smiths and Morrissey

A Manchester pop group that flourished from 1982 to 1987, The Smiths created a highly original brand of punk-inspired music with queer subtexts; the group's singer and lyricist, Morrissey, in his solo career cultivates an androgynous image.

arts >> Somerville, Jimmy

Noted for his diminutive size and amazing voice, Jimmy Somerville achieved fame as the lead singer with the openly gay pop groups Bronski Beat and The Communards; many of his songs are overtly political and deal with such issues as gay relationships and the loss of friends to AIDS.

arts >> Stipe, Michael

Lead singer, lyricist, and composer for the rock band R.E.M., as well as a movie producer, Michael Stipe identifies himself as a queer artist.

arts >> Wainwright, Rufus

Singer and songwriter Rufus Wainwright, dubbed the "thinking gay man's sex symbol," has built a successful career with witty lyrics and rich melodies.

arts >> Wenner, Jann

Jann Wenner, founder and editor of the influential music and culture magazine Rolling Stone, was outed in 1995.

arts >> Young, Will

The first winner of the British Pop Idol talent show, Will Young has gone on to achieve success as a recording artist and actor, while also using his celebrity to advocate for good causes.


    Bibliography
   

Collum, Danny Duncan. "Rock's Little Secret." Sojourners 30.5 (September-October 2001): 52.

County, Jayne, with Rupert Smith. Man Enough to be a Woman. New York: Serpent's Tail, 1996.

Dickinson, Chris. "The Music Is the Message: Some Radical Gay Bands Put Their Sexuality Way Up Front." St. Louis Post-Dispatch (April 21, 1996): 3C.

McDonnell, Evelyn, and Ann Powers, eds. Rock She Wrote: Women Write About Rock, Pop, and Rap. New York: Delta Books, 1995.

Sullivan, Caroline. "Queer to the Core." The Guardian (December 17, 1993): 12.

Artist Home Pages:

www.thebutchies.com/.
www.eltonjohn.com/.
www.sonymusic.co.uk/georgemichael/.
www.jaynecounty.com/.
www.joanjett.com/.
www.jobriath.org/.
www.kdlang.com.
www.melissaetheridge.com.
www.morrissey-solo.com/.
www.pansydivision.com/.
www.petshopboys.co.uk/.
www.rufuswainwright.com.
www.letrigreworld.com.
www.tomrobinson.com/.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Kaczorowski, Craig  
    Entry Title: Rock Music  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated October 2, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/rock_music.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
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Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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