When I was coming of age I was very naïve, I got Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wide Side,” the Beatles “Get Back,” and the Kink’s “Lola” you couldn’t not know the meaning of those songs but other songs like Melissa Etheridge’s “Come to My Window” was a little less obvious.
22 Queer One-Hit Wonders From YesteryearBut others like…
Remember these great one-time-only Top 40 hits by LGBT artists?
By Gina Vivinetto
April 30, 2015
A trip down musical memory lane reveals that the Top 40 archives are peppered with one-time-only hits by LGBT artists — some beloved and some relatively unknown. Let's turn the radio dial to yesteryear and remember a few such gems.
Lou Reed, "Walk on the Wild Side" (1973)
If you're a fan of Lou Reed, who reportedly bedded both men and women, you know his tribute to transgender cult film stars Candy Darling and Holly Woodlawn, which made it to number 16 on the pop charts, was just the tip of iceberg. "Walk on the Wild Side" only hints at Reed's vast, decades-long musical catalog that explored life on a seedy Lower East Side. But of course, for many, this hit tune's catchy doo-doo-doos are all they'll ever hear of Reed, who died in 2013.
Janis Ian, "At Seventeen" (1975)
The best song about growing up female ever written, out folk singer Janis Ian's "At Seventeen" made it all the way to the number 3 spot on the pop singles chart (and hit the number 1 spot on the adult contemporary chart). This ballad of an "ugly duckling" was nominated for several Grammys, scoring a Best Female Pop Vocal Performance win. Though she continues to release excellent music, Ian never cracked the Top 40 again. But she's actually not a one-hit wonder: In 1967 she hit number 14 on the pop charts with "Society's Child," a timely take on interracial relationships.
Me'Shell Ndgéocello and John Mellencamp "Wild Night" (1994)And…
Another one that's hard to believe: Critically acclaimed bisexual R&B songstress Me'Shell Ndgéocello has cracked the Top 40 just once, and that was in a duet with John Mellencamp. And the duet was a cover of an old Van Morrison tune. It went to number 3 on the pop chart.
Baltimora, "Tarzan Boy" (1985)I never heard of, but that is not surprising for me because I usually listen on to artist from mainly the sixties and seventies.
Baltimora was a short-lived Italian dance-pop group fronted by a young gay Irishman named Jimmy McShane. It scored exactly one hit, "Tarzan Boy," which spent six months on the Billboard chart, ultimately reaching the number 13 spot. The song bounced back on the chart in remixed form in 1993, climbing to number 51. Sadly, McShane died of complications from AIDS in 1995.