5. The Smiths, "Reel Around the Fountain"
Although Smiths big-head honcho Morrissey rarely addresses his sexuality specifically in lyrics, his occasional direct forays into gay-themed lyrics have meant the world to gay teens (including myself) since the '80s. While the ecstatic "This Charming Man" and snarling "Hand In Glove" might get more love, the first song from the first, self-titled Smiths album set the tone for a career of songs that offer solace and empathy for those who have felt misunderstood. Specifically, the song's openly sensual lyrics, and the line "people see no worth in you, I do," make it a positive (if melancholic) celebration of queer love and camaraderie.
4.Tom Robinson Band, "Glad to Be Gay"
Speaking of directness, it doesn't get much more "straight"-forward than Tom Robinson's "Glad to Be Gay," the U.K.'s de facto gay anthem. Sure, the chorus of this Brit pub-punk classic says, "sing, if you're glad to be gay," but it goes beyond that--it's also a smart send-up of hypocrisy and oppression.
3. Erasure, "A Little Respect"
It's hard to pick a favorite gay new wave anthem from amongst the likes of Culture Club, The Eurythmics, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Bronski Beat, but Erasure wins the best coming-out song honor for the song's chorus: "Oh baby please give a little respect to me." It's a winningly self-affirming refrain, even if the song's speaker seems to be singing to someone who couldn't care less--oh well!
2. Scissor Sisters, "Take Your Mama"
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What do you do when your mom doesn't understand why your jeans have to sit so snugly? Take her out get her GAYSTED. Thanks, Scissor Sisters!
1. Donna Summer, "I Feel Love"
OK, so I did have to include Donna Summer, but this one's better--a proto-electro classic featuring producer Giorgio Moroder's oscillating synthesizers. Summer, and the song, helped spawn American disco, new wave, electronica, house, you name it--genres that have been cherished by the gay community. But, more importantly, it's nearly six minutes of pure, all-encompassing love in music form. It's so good they had to make a 15-minute version, which, separately, also is a classic in its own right. Now, excuse me while I fantasize about Diana Ross ripping off Donna Summer's wig because I didn't include her on this list.