Five years ago this month I posted a lengthy review of Martin Aston’s encyclopedic Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache: How Music Came Out.1 Last week one of Aston’s subjects came to life as it was pushed my way courtesy of YouTube: 1964’s “Have I the Right?” by the Honeycombs. Lyrically it’s reminiscent of Sixties songs that became gay and lesbian bar hymns. Think Sinatra’s “Strangers In the Night” (1966), Bobby Darin’s version of “My Buddy” (1962), Connie Francis’s “Where the Boys Are” (1961). Such songs were appropriated by this social set, but its membership included a few of the hymnists as well.Continue reading “A Taste of Honeycombs”
Billy Idol has a new music video. And four dates in Vegas.
At the Chelsea. In October.
I remember first hearing Idol’s band Generation X on Rodney Bingenheimer’s show on KROQ. I thought the song was titled “Wild Dove.” Rather, it was the dub side to their second single, “Wild Youth.” It sounded so mysterious, this up-paced power-pop tune pulled apart.Continue reading “Idol not Idle”
With this new volume, Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache: How Music Came Out, Aston fills a much needed lapse in LGBT+ pop history. Unlike books such as Zoot Suits and Second-Hand Dresses (1988) edited by Angela McRobbie and John Gill’s Queer Noises (1995), the former which deals with the subject tangentially and the latter which deals with it personally and sporadically, Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache (taking its name from a late ’60s Northern soul hit) moves decade by decade through the 20th century (a bit before, and after), just as the music itself comes into play.