Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday 80s Flashback for June 26, 2014

[Love Conquers] -- When I was in college in the mid-to-late 80s, I took a training program to become a resident assistant (RA). Counselor Education 302. One of the exercises in that course left a strong impression upon me as it was meant to help potential RAs empathize with students who were struggling with their sexual orientation. We also watched Torch Song Trilogy and attended a performance of The Normal Heart, but it was that aforementioned thought experiment that most moved me and changed the way I saw hetero- and homosexual relationships. Now, it may seem difficult to remember this, but even as recently as the 1980s, the majority of LGBT people kept their affections a private, hidden matter (with, of course, a few very public exceptions). I remember wondering if gay people would ever be fully welcomed into society. (A society, by the way, they had entertained, taught, and served while all-too-often keeping their true selves in the shadows).

Flash forward to today -- June 26, 2015 -- and the Supreme Court of the USA has legalized same-sex marriage across the US.

This doesn't mean that LGBTs still don't have some hurdles to conquer. No, there are still places where a person can lose their job if they are outed. And not everyone was happy with today's news. I, for one, applaud the Supreme Court decision. And I've decided to honor this historic occasion with a suitable selection of 80s tunes. What is on our playlist this week? Read and hear more after the break!  

Flashback #1"To your soul | Cry, cry, cry."

Our first Flashback is "Smalltown Boy" by British group Bronski Beat. It was the first single off the band's debut album, The Age of Consent (1984). A popular gay anthem, "Smalltown Boy" was a big hit and reached #3 on the UK's chart as well as peaking in the top 10 of other European countries. In the US, it hit #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play charts. Lyrically, "Smalltown Boy" tells the story of a young gay man who leaves home and heads to the city (London) as he tries to run away from homophobic bullying. 

Flashback #2"He'll never love you the way that I love you."

In 1983, Bananarama covered Steam's 1969 hit, "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye." The Steam version of the song is probably best known for being played at sporting events (where it is aimed at the losing team). Seems like a strange choice for our second Flashback? Well, Bananarama's cover of the song leaves the original pronouns intact, so it's hard to tell whether a girl is asking a guy to leave a girl for her ... or if she is asking a girl to leave a guy for her. Whatever the case, it seems rather oblivious to traditional notions of sexuality. 

Flashback #3"Soul, I hear you calling | Oh baby, please, give a little respect to me."

Our third and final Flashback of the week, "A Little Respect," comes from my favorite synthpop duo, Erasure. It was the third European (and second American) single from their 1988 album, The Innocents. A commercial success, "A Little Respect" reached #4 on the UK Singles Chart, and it peaked at #14 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs charts respectively. Although the lyrics of this song are about about someone who feels neglected by their lover, I felt this was an appropriate song to end this week's Flashback post because, with the Supreme Court decision, the LGBT community as a whole was given, ahem, "A Little Respect."

Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

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