June 2008 Script
Chixie Dix - Marry Me (2004)
This is Queer Voices on KPFT and this segment is called Queer Music Heritage. That song was called "Marry Me" and was by a duo who got together for just that recording. Drag artists Hedda Lettuce and Yolanda called themselves, with tongue firmly in cheek, the Chixie Dix.
I'm JD Doyle and welcome to my June show, and this show will be all about songs about gay and lesbian marriage. I've been collecting songs on this subject for some time now, and had been thinking for a while of devoting a whole show to it. In light of the recent court decision in California, and also because June is gay pride month, well, this seemed like a good time to do it.
I'll also mention that I've set up a special page of my website, Queer Music Heritage.com, for Gay Marriage Songs, and have collected over 65 of them, and you can download them all from that page, as I've set it up as a resource, for the media or just for folks wanting songs for their own wedding events. Of course I can't play 65 songs on this show; that would take 3 or 4 hours, so I'm going to showcase some of the best, ones that approach the issue from different angles.
Many of the songs I've collected are from around 2004, the year of the Massachusetts decision and when gay marriage was a hot wedge issue in the general election, so some songs are political, and some are just on-topic love songs. But I've some older ones as well, and can't resist one accidentally on the subject from 1930, by a big band called The Clevelanders.
The Clevelanders - In My Little Hope Chest (1930)
Ah, "In my little hope chest, I'm hopin' I'll open some day. I've the sweetest little bridal gown all tucked away." From 1930, "In My Little Hope Chest" by The Clevelanders, and I said that was accidentally on the subject, as back then it was common for artists to sing songs without paying much attention to the gender.
From that innocence I'm going to a song doing a full frontal attack on the subject, by one of our music pioneers whose political songs have been a delight since the mid-80s. Ron Romanovsky was half of the duo Romanovsky & Phillips, and in recent years has gone solo. In 2006 he recorded the song "Sanctity of Marriage," which was released on his 2008 CD "Turn Up the Fun!" I'll let Ron intro the song.
Ron Romanovsky comments (2008):
I can't even believe that gay marriage has finally become a national you know, an issue that's being debated nationally. And so for years I've been wanting to write a song about it. So I just thought I'd attack the whole ridiculous issue of the sanctity of marriage, because heterosexuals, though there are many happy couples out there, there are a lot of miserable couples, and I think that heterosexuals really haven't done a great job of protecting the sanctity of marriage themselves.
Ron Romanovsky - Sanctity of Marriage (2006)
That was Ron Romanovsky. And many of you will recognize this next song by The Kinsey Sicks, blending fun and politics on their 2002 song "Locked Out of the Chapel of Love."
Sicks - Locked Out of the Chapel of Love (2002)
And following the Kinsey Sicks was Mark Mercer, from 2004, with one called "Chapel of Love," which was definitely not the Dixie Cups song.
Songs about gay marriage come from a variety of musical genres. Also from 2004 is one by one of my favorite hip hop artists. Here's Tori Fixx, with the sanitized radio version of his song "Marry Me"
Fixx - Marry Me (2004)
I blended Tori Fixx's song into another political one, by Scott Free. From his CD "The Call Me Mr. Free" was "The Battle Hymn of the Intolerant."
Want some lesbian music on the subject, let's hear one from 2006 by Janis Ian, called "Married In London."
Ian - Married in London (2006)
Again I wish I had time on this show to play complete versions of these songs, but you can hear them on my website. After Janis Ian was Lisa Rogers of The Therapy Sisters and "Tying the Knot in Vermont" from the CD "Let's Put a Folksinger in the White House," and Jamie Anderson and her song "A Love So True." That was from her 2001 album called "Listen."
Next up is some vinyl history on the subject of gay marriage, and I'm starting with a straight actor and comedian. Sandy Baron released a number of comedy albums and one from 1972 was called "God Save the Queens." While the album did play up some stereotypes, for 1972 it was remarkably positive and got good coverage in the gay press. In an interview in The Advocate Baron was asked why he recorded the album, and he said "To me, the album just isn't about gay/straight. It's like all my other comedy albums. Deep down I'm always talking about the same subject: when's the Majority going to figure out that the Minority's rights have to be respected?"
See what you think. Here's the track "Do You Take This Man?"
Sandy Baron - Do You Take This Man? (1972)
And here's another very interesting song on the subject, this time from 1987. One of our musical pioneers, both for his solo albums and his musicals, is Tom Wilson Weinberg. He has a great knack for capturing the politics and the heart of issues that affect us. From his production called "Ten Percent Revue" is "Wedding Song."
Ten Percent Revue - Wedding Song (1987)
Going back even further, on the front page of The Advocate in March of 1972 was the story of the marriage in Canada of two male entertainers, Michel Girouard, and Regeant Tremblay. It was technically called a union contract, as it was drawn up by lawyers, so it was not really a legal marriage recognized by Canada. A few weeks later they flew to Los Angeles, where Rev. Troy Perry performed a religious ceremony for them.
Michel Girouard and Regeant Tremblay released an album together in 1972 called "The Couple," with Michel singing and Regeant on piano. The music was not political and was all sung in French, but I still wanted to share a little of it, to take us up to the break. You'll recognize the song, made famous Edith Piaf, "Hymn to Love"
Michel Girouard & Regeant Tremblay - "L'Hymne a L'Amour (1972)
Coming up more gay and lesbian marriage songs of love, politics and satire. But this is a good time to invite you to check out my website. If you visit it while you're listening you can see the playlist and follow along, while looking at photos of the artists and recordings. I've always considered our music history as a visual as well as an audio experience. Again, that's at www.queermusicheritage.com, Also, for more very queer programming, please listen to After Hours with Jimmy Carper, every Friday night/Saturday morning from 1 to 4 am, on KPFT, it's Queer Radio, with attitude.
Ready for some chorus music? First from the Boston Gay Men's Chorus is a little of the song "Marry Us," which will be followed by the Heartland Men's Chorus.
Gay Men's Chorus - Marry Us (2004)
Both of those tracks were from 2004. The second song was from the Heartland Men's Chorus out of Kansas City, with the Eric Lane Barnes song, "I Do."
Next are some very pretty songs, starting with one by Tret Fure, called "Wedding Song." It's from her 2002 album "My Shoes."
Fure - Wedding Song (2002)
Following Tret Fure was a duo called Emma's Revolution with "This Love," from 2004. And from the next year was "Forever With Me," by Nedra Johnson, from her album "Nedra."
Alan Cumming - Married (2006)
Yes, that was Broadway star Alan Cumming, and he took the song "Married," from "Cabaret" and made it very gay. That track came from a 2006 concert CD called "Wed-Rock: A Benefit for Freedom to Marry," which featured Lou Reed, Margaret Cho, John Cameron Mitchell, Bob Mould, Sleater-Kinney, Le Tigre and others.
I mentioned before the break that I had some songs of satire for you, and these two are by straight artists, but certainly done using their humor in a positive way. I'll start with Mark Bridge and the song "Same Sex Marriage."
Mark Bridge - Same Sex Marriage (2005)
Yes, that's a one-joke song, so I'll move along to an actor/comic named Eded Gross and a song more tongue in cheek, called "It's All Because."
Eded Gross - It's All Because (2008)
And it escalates from there, but I encourage you to check the song out on youtube, for the very neat video of it.
We're going to a couple weddings now, the first one in a song by the very talented Kiya Heartwood and Miriam Davidson, who together are Wishing Chair. I've been an admirer of their music for many years. This song is called "Outlaw Wedding," and is from their 2005 CD "Underdog."
Chair - Outlaw Wedding (2005)
There you had two different weddings. Starting with Wishing Chair, and I rushed from that wedding to another, "Biff & Tony's Wedding," brought to us by Dave Hall, on his album "Places." That was from 1999, making it one of the earlier songs about a gay wedding.
An artist I quite like is Steven Franz and his second album, "Skins & Shirts" featured two songs about this subject. I asked him about them.
Steven Franz comments (2008):
"When Is It My Turn" is interesting. I got an email from Sony Pictures, when they were producing the movie "Wedding March," with John Stamos. I think it was last year, 2007. And they were just soliciting I guess different gay songwriters, probably through Outmusic and Queer Music Heritage, your site, people they found for songs for the movie, and so I submitted the song. Of course it didn't get selected, unfortunately, but I thought it was a good song, and thought it was great for the album.
Steven Franz - When Is It My Turn? (2008)
"I Do" was written for my husband, Rick, on our one-year
anniversary, after getting married in Provincetown, May 24th, 2004,
about a week after the State of Massachusetts passed a law allowing
I want to slip in a song that is lyrically not about a gay wedding but would be the perfect song to play at one. Peter Donnelly included it on his 1998 CD "A Sure Thing," and I think it's just beautiful. Here's an edited version of "Love With Me."
Peter Donnelly - Love With Me (1998)
That's so nice. Peter Donnelly and "Love With Me."
I'm down to the last song, but before I get to it I want to thank you all for listening, and I want to especially thank Ron Romanovsky, Steven Franz, and, coming up, Roy Zimmerman for the comments on their songs. Remember, on my site I've got a whole section for Gay Marriage Songs. So you can visit that, and also the page for this show there. That's at www.queermusicheritage.com. And, as always if you have questions or comments about any of the music I've featured, please write me. This is JD Doyle for Queer Voices on KPFT in Houston.
I knew immediately when I decided to do this show what would be my closing song, as it's my favorite gay marriage song, and get this, it's by a straight artist. His name is Roy Zimmerman and he does just wonderful political songs, all bent decidedly to the left. The song is called "Defenders of Marriage," and it was originally a live concert track on his 1998 album "Comic Sutra," but he re-recorded it a couple years ago as a studio version for the album "Faulty Intelligence." So, continuing the story, I decided to do this show and, as it happened, that same week, Roy Zimmerman was in town for a house concert, so I was able to meet him and also ask him about the song.
Roy Zimmerman comments (2008)
it's been around for a while now, unfortunately. You know,
it's an issue that keeps coming up. I wrote it originally just before
the California Knight Initiative, which you might remember, the little
initiative sponsored by a State Senator by the name of Pete Knight,
who spelled his name with three k's, for some reason. That was kind
of the first salvo over California's bow on the issue. And since then
the song "Defenders of Marriage"
it was actually before
the DOMA Act, before the Defense of Marriage Act that I wrote that.
It's a song that I hope is doing some good work in the world.