Exactly what constitutes a “gay anthem?” According to Wikipedia, “A gay anthem or LGBT anthem is a song that has become widely popular among, or has become identified with, the LGBT community; usually with gay men. The lyrics of gay anthems are often marked with hope against the odds, pride, unity, or defiance.” The book Queer even takes it further by breaking it down into categories”:
Big voiced divas: Rather than a particular song, this area of gay anthems is more akin to a cult of personality of a large gay male following for some particular diva-style pop music vocalists who are almost always female gay icons.
Overcoming hardship in love: Usually a narrative of a wronged lover who comes back stronger than before.
You are not alone: Songs about coming together as a community or reassurance to the lonely that there are others like them out there.
Throw your cares away: A carefree narrative about putting your troubles aside and partying.
Hard-won self-esteem: Here the themes involve fighting through oppression, darkness or fear to gain freedom, beauty or self-esteem.
Celebrating unashamed sexuality: The theme here is of transcending cultural shame to celebrate one’s sexual nature.
Search for acceptance: Songs about a welcoming promised land where the dream of acceptance and belonging and hope lives.
Torch song for the world-weary: A narrative about being used, abused and surviving to tell the tale of lament.
Love conquers all: Tales of not giving up on love despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
No apologies: Here the theme revolves around defiantly living one’s life despite what others may want.
Looking over the list, I can honestly say “gotcha covered.” I have taken some liberty by extending the definition to include specific songs that hit a nerve with the gay dance community despite the lack of a big diva voice, despair, empowerment or defiance in its overall theme. In fact, a gay anthem could just be some HUGE song that we all know the words to and the minute the first notes ring out of the speakers in the club, the floor is immediately packed and our hands are raised in the air while we lose ourselves in it’s sugar-coated, meaningless lyrics and repetitive beats.
Another area that I thought was important to cover in this list are songs that were never intended to be any type of anthem. Instead, these would be pop songs that we all know and love and have been performed by many a drag queen over the years. Fortunately, the fabulous boys over at Almighty Records understand our affiliation and importance of these songs and have even taken some of them and remixed them into high energy powerhouse monsters for the floor. Now folks, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Probably one of the most important aspects of a good gay anthem is that of empowerment. One that says “we’re mad as hell and not going to take this shit no more.” One that asks you to “rise up” or “stand up for what you believe.” One that says “keep up the good fight” or ‘we shall overcome.” Yes, there definitely is a theme within this context and there’s plenty of that and moreover the four sets I have compiled. Probably the best thing about gay anthems is that you can move your body and shake your ass to a message that melds with the beats. From the divas to the messages to the hypnotic memorable hook, gay anthems are what keeps us moving, immersed and most importantly they’re what unifies us.
With that said, ladies and queers may I introduce “Gay Anthems 2009” volume 1. Enjoy!
I just want to remind everyone that these mixes are for your enjoyment, but more importantly, have been created to benefit the good work of Equality Across America. A $10 donation per mix is required for you to gain access and download each set. Your generous donations will go towards our efforts to gain full equality for the LGBT community in the United States. Thank you for your consideration.
Album : Gay Anthems v1
Artists : Various
Year : 2009
Total Time : 1:33:33:00
Track : 1
Title : Everybody’s Free (7th Heaven Mix)
Artist : Kortezman feat. Rozalla
Amazing 2006 remake of the early 90s classic featuring the original vocals of Rozalla.
Track : 2
Title : Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent (Soulshaker Remix)
Artist : 7th Heaven feat. Katherine Ellis
Track : 3
Title : And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going (Almighty Anthem Mix)
Artist : Jennifer Holliday
No introductions required here. The Dreamgirls star became a sensation in the early 80s with her rendition of this song from the Broadway play. It wasn’t until 2001 that the dance mixes from Rosabel and Junior Vasquez took the song to #6 on Billboards Hot Dance Music/Club Play Chart. The vocals were re-recorded for this Almighty version giving it an entirely new feel for generations of queers to come. An essential in any gay card-carrying member’s music collection.
Track : 4
Title : Love Hangover (Almighty Anthem 12” Mix)
Artist : Diana Ross
In 1976, Diana’s initial foray into disco took her straight to the top of the pop and disco charts. Featured prominently in the movie “Looking For Mr. Goodbar” this song along with its companion by Thelma Houston (see #12 below) are considered among disco’s biggest hits.
Track : 5
Title : Chase (Josh Harris Club Mix)
Artist : Maiysha
Critically acclaimed and Grammy Award nominee, R&B newcomer Maiysha struck a home run with the second release from her album “This Much Is True.” What is true, she’s an amazing vocalist and someone to watch out for in the coming years. If you haven’t heard the Josh Harris production of this song, you’re in for a real treat.
Track : 6
Title : Free (Full Intention Vocal Mix)
Artist : Ultra Nate
Ultra Nate has been a longstanding favorite of the gay community. “Free” the #1 club song from 1997 was the gay pride anthem of the year. Expect an updated Freemason’s version sometime in 2010, which should be fabulous!
Track : 7
Title : Love On My Mind (Back To Philly Mix)
Artist : Freemasons feat. Amanda Wilson
Heavily sampling the 1979 classic disco track “This Time Baby” by Jackie Moore, this former #1 from 2007 just got a makeover on the Freemason’s recently released “Shakedown 2” album. With amazingly dead-on vocals by Amanda Wilson, anticipations are running high that we might be served with a full version sometime in 2010.
Track : 8
Title : You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) (Don Carlos Club Mix)
Artist : Byron Stingly
Byron updated this 1978 disco classic with vocals the eerily recall the late, great Sylvester. His 1998 #1 club hit deserves accolades for an amazing rendition with snippets of other Sylvester hits like “Do You Wanna Funk.”
Track : 9
Title : Young Hearts Run Free (Almighty Mix)
Artist : Hannah Jones
To this date, I don’t believe that anyone has licensed the original vocals by Candi Staton’s 1976 disco classic. The good news is that she’s taken her gospel work and is finally getting back into the club scene. Regardless, Hannah Jones (You Only Have To Say You Love Me, No One Can Love You More Than Me) does a fantastic re-work of this song.
Track : 10
Title : Faith (7th Heaven Remix)
Artist : Bliss Inc. feat. Carlotta Chadwick
Originally released in 1998, this uplifting gospel track got some well-deserved 2007 remixes. 7th Heaven took the honors and delivered a heaping slice of disco heaven with a positive message.
Track : 11
Title : Enjoy Yourself (7th Heaven Remix)
Artist : Viola Wills
With 80s disco classics like “Gonna Get Along Without You” “If You Could Read My Mind” (yes, she did it first) and “Stormy Weather” the queen of 80s NRG was poised to make a comeback after she signed to Harlequin Records. Doing her legacy proud, “Enjoy Yourself” is a romping disco treat that will go down in the annals of all-time gay anthems. Sadly, Viola passed away earlier this year. RIP Viola, you will be missed.
Track : 12
Title : Don’t Leave Me This Way (Almighty Mix)
Artist : Thelma Houston
Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way” is considered to be one of disco’s all-time greatest. The Almighty treatment brings it to a whole new generation of club-goers making it a must-have in any gay anthem compilation.
Track : 13
Title : Chains Of Love (Almighty Essential Mix)
Artist : Erasure
OMG, OMG, OMG!!! Erasure and Almighty make a fabulous pairing. Also, be on the lookout for “A Little Respect” and “Oh L’amour” in the Almighty archives. Grab them before they’re gone!
Track : 14
Title : I’ve Never Been To Me (Sophisticatz Funky Remix)
Artist : Eye Witness feat. Charlene
Originally released in the late 70s not once, but twice and failing to make a dent on the charts, Motown re-released it again in 1982 where it became a worldwide smash landing the #2 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100. Featured in the 1994 gay film classic “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” this song has been played out by every drag queen from around the world. This unlikely remix from 2008 features Charlene (Oliver) reprising her biggest hit and taking it to the floor. What a fabulous delight!
Track : 15
Title : Sing (Almighty 12” Anthem Mix)
Artist : Wynonna
Taking a page out of the Leann Rimes handbook, Wynonna (Judd) authorized remixes for her latest single earlier this year. Party Favorz is glad she did, because “Sing” is an emotional and uplifting song falling under the empowerment category.