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THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

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  NIGHTSPOTS

Dancing About Architecture
by Marc 'Moose' Moder
2015-09-30

This article shared 2598 times since Wed Sep 30, 2015
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It was thirty years ago this past week, as regular readers know, that we launched Windy City Times. Some things have changed since 1985, but some have remained constant, like the lack of gay role models in pop music and the low level of LGBT references on the charts. Sure, artists have come out in droves, but most remain fringe—or at least mid-level with dedicated followings—and you have, as always, young pop singers professing their bisexuality whether it takes or not. With that, let's take a look back at the charts from September 28, 1985, and see how gay the charts were three decades ago.

"Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits was number one, and is such an interesting song, owing to the controversy over the lyrics including the phrase "faggot" three different times. We all know that wouldn't fly today—at least not to number one—and since then, even Canadian radio has banned the song for hate speech. Truth is, the song is sung from the point of view of a blue-collar character, and is meant to point out how ignorant he sounded. Back then, that only played to a small, knowing crowd, while the rest of the record buyers didn't mind the word or its context.

At number three we have Wham!, featuring future out icon, George Michael, with "Freedom." Even as a tween, I could spot that George wasn't your heteronormative pop star, but he steadfastly did his due closeted diligence: Dating Brooke Sheilds; saying he was with the lady in the video of "I Want Your Sex." All the while, we all secretly knew. He kept this up for another decade, believe it or not, until he was outed in a sex sting, but at least he flung those doors wide open and didn't look back after that.

Slot number seven was held by the dreamiest Nords to ever grace the charts: a-ha's "Take On Me" ( new album out now ). Our beloved Whitney Houston was having her second massive hit as a superstar with "Saving All My Love For You," but the star in our eyes was, as she is now, Madonna. "Dress You Up" ( number six ) was Madge's seventh consecutive top-five hit, and the last single off the blockbuster Like a Virgin album. The video was her first live one, memorable only for that unfortunate brocade jacket and her cherubic face. But what stood out for me was this was the first song of hers that I took seriously as a budding gay youth of 15. Before that, she seemed too gimmicky and her songs too fluffy. "Dress You Up" had balls ( and ovaries ) and was the first single that got me hooked and believing this little girl could really sing, and could make a go of it. So as I'm off to my fourth Madonna show, I won't be checking the set lists. I'm hoping she'll be saving all that love for me, and rocking "Dress You Up" on its 30th birthday.


This article shared 2598 times since Wed Sep 30, 2015
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