Queer Music History 101 - Notes

Recommended Books

( This list omits biographies, though many of those are identified within the lesson )

"Queer Noises" by John Gill, 1995

"Rock on the Wild Side: Gay Male Images in Popular Music" by Wayne Studer, 1994

"Back Stage Pass: Interviews With Women in Music" by Laura Post, 1997

"Out Sounds: The Gay & Lesbian Music Alternative" by Will Grega & Randy Jones, 1996

"Hot Licks: Lesbian Musicians of Note" by Lee Fleming, 1996

"Eden Built By Eves: The Culture of Women's Music Festivals" by Bonnie J. Morris, 1999

"Intimate Nights: The Golden Age of New York Cabaret," by James Gavin, (2006).
Mostly straight artists, covering the 30's to the present, but plenty of G&L to interest.

In Addition:

Researchers looking for books on this subject will undoubtedly find Boze Hadleigh. He has published a number of books about celebrities, and also two on gay and lesbian music: "The Vinyl Closet" and "Sing Out." If you are tempted to acquire these I feel caution is warranted, as a number of reviewers have found his work suspect due to lack of substantiation and documentation, especially concerning gossipy assertions about now conveniently dead performers. A common reviewer comment was "the book really could have used a bibliography. Otherwise there is a question as to the truthfullness of some of the author's claims."

Recommended Website


Throughout the lesson I link to a number of websites, but the one above deserves special mention. "Hot Wire: The Journal of Women's Music and Culture" was published from 1984 through 1994 and was a scholarly and also entertaining wonder, indeed documenting the music and culture. The publishers have recently established a website where every issue can be downloaded, and I cannot recommend it more highly.


Songs are available in streaming format only, as obviously I would not want to "give away" someone else's songs. But, please consider buying the music of these artists.

Use of the song files in this lesson is done under the "fair use" doctrine of the U.S. Copyright law, Section 107, number 1. Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair, such as: The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.

QMH 101 is for use by Universities in their LGBT Studies classes, and will be completely free.

This lesson is part of my website, and like my site, the content is copyrighted. Except for actual use in University classes, no material from the lesson may be republished, copied, posted, rewritten, printed, photocopied, broadcast, publicly displayed, or distributed in any way without prior written permission.

Notes on Style: Instead of providing just a long essay I opted instead to spreading it out with graphics and photos of the artists. I have always considered our music history a visual as well as an audio one, and think if you can see the artists and recordings it adds layers to the appreciation.

Tech Stuff:
I am not a computer or website expert so I really cannot field questions about any problems using the Flipbook on someone's particular browser, etc. The specs for the program used to design the Flipbook state that at least Adobe Flash 9 is recommended.

Some Notes on Internet Browsers:
I debugged the Flipbook in Internet Explorer 8 and Mozilla Firefox 3.6.13, and found these differences: with Internet Explorer and the Flipbook in full screen mode the sound and URL links do not work, though during testing all work fine in regular mode. With Firefox in full-screen mode the sound and URL links work, although the act of clicking on them, just like hitting "escape," will revert your view to regular mode. As a matter of practice though, since I designed my pages really as half-pages, they are likely large enough to easily read in regular mode.