Sunday, July 19, 2009

"I Am Strong, I Am Invincible"

Okay guys, I need your help.

I am a child of the 70's. I'm proud of that.

Homo children of the 80's and 90's think that Streisand's first bad perm was that "Phil Spector on Trial" thing she sported a few years ago . They don't know what we know.

They didn't live through Streisand's first perm. Those tragic years when Babs looked like she was wearing a "Mike Brady Perm Wig." Oh, the humanity...

But unlike most younger (and older) gay men, I have a very limited knowledge of 70's pop music.

Actually, I have a very limited knowledge of ANY pop music.


Truth be told, if a song isn't featured on "Judy at Carnegie," "Liza with a Z" or the soundtrack to "Grease 2" (...poor Lorna...), I probably don't know it.

And odds are, I probably could give a damn about it.

That's what I need help with. The knowing. Not the giving a damn. Necessarily.

I've been asked to sing once again at About Face Theatre's annual summer benefit to support their gay and lesbian youth theatre program, "Flip Flop."

Basically, "Flip Flop" is concert cabaret where men sing women's songs and women sing men's songs, focusing on songs that reference gender.

Something you would never hear anywhere else, like a man singing "I'm a Woman."

Or something that actually exists, like Carol Channing singing "If I Were a Rich Man."

(Yes, Carol actually sang that. Yes, it's on dvd. Yes, it's one of the 7 signs.)

In years past, the concert has flipped showtunes and songs from movies, but this year, "Flip Flop's" theme is pop music from the 70's. I have to pick a song by this Friday and I'm a little lost.

Any suggestions on what I should sing?

A little part of me wants to sing "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar" because I love Helen Reddy. And also because of a little memory I have of high school.

One day, as I walked into drama class, some of my friends/classmates dedicated that song to me over the intercom. Hilarious, huh? Dedicating "I Am Woman" to the fag in drama class! So fresh.


Sure, it was just a joke, a lame attempt to make fun of the small town sissy boy, but I was deep in the closet, with half the school screaming the word "Faggot!" at me in the hallways every hour on the hour. Drama class was one of only two places in the school where I could almost relax and be myself.

But then, it's...

"Steve! This song's just for you! You're theme song, right?"

...and that song starts playing and everyone starts laughing. Not laughing with me like they usually did in that class, but at me. The real me that I had been slowly showing them.

So much for being myself in high school.

Geez, how much of a drama queen can I be? All that sturm und drang because somebody played a Helen Reddy song. Oy...

But you know, if I sang that song in a gay bar during a concert raising money for a gay youth theatre program, I just might let go of that memory.

Then, I'll be able to watch "Pete's Dragon" again. Just "Candle in the Water," that is.

What do you guys think? Any ideas of what I should sing at "Flip Flop."

I would love any and all suggestions.


26 comments:

RG said...

Killing Me Softly With His Song - Roberta Flack

Midnight Train to Georgia - Gladys Knight

I've Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You - Aretha Franklin

Dr. Feelgood - Aretha Franklin

Mike said...

The first that popped into my head (because it's what I'd do if I had the talent/vagina to pull it off) is "I Feel the Earth Move" by Carole King. And according to my google search it was covered by Mandy Moore, so it's obviously timeless.

Matthew said...

If you want to go a bit more rock than pop, you could try "Cherry Bomb" by Joan Jett and the Runaways. It has a very Hedwig feel about it... "Hello, world! I'm your wild girl! I'm your ch-ch-ch-ch-cherry bomb!"

Michael Rivers said...

If I think of anything, I'll let you know! Keep us posted! By the way, I love "Pete's Dragon." Such a great soundtrack! I have it on DVD and CD.

Angel ABC said...

I'll have to suggest the standard 70's girls songs that gay men must always sing at fundraisers:

"I've Never Been to Me," by Charlene

"Happiest Girl in the Whole USA," by Donna Fargo

and

"You Light Up My Life," by Debbie Boone.

I know, these are the go-to songs, but I think you could really do that inner monologue well from "I've Never Been to Me."

Then again, you could really do a great "Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," that Vicki Lawrence standby.

Aaron said...

Actually, there's another Helen Reddy song you could sing, if you think "I Am Woman" is too trite or predictable (or painful). She also sang a song called "Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady" a few years later that fits the cheesy 70s pop rota. If I find an MP3, I'll send it to you...

Of course, you could invoke the aforementioned Streisand and sing "Woman in Love" (from that Streisand/Barry Gibb "Guilty" album). It's very dramatic. Very YOU. :-)

Aaron said...

Actually, "Woman In Love" came out in 1980, so it probably wouldn't work. The Helen Reddy one came out in 74 (I think), so it falls into the right range.

Or (yet another brainfart--don't you love how I come up with them?) how about Barbara Mandrell's song "Woman to Woman?" (1977)

dbb said...

Barbra Streisand sang a song in the 70's titled, "I am a women in Love." This would very vocally challanging for a man to do and fun to hear.

RG said...

I would fly out to Chicago, just to hear you sing some of these songs.

Anonymous said...

Check out Dixie Girl. It was on Cher's Dark Lady album released in 1974.

Java said...

NOT Midnight Train to Georgia! Please! I HATE that song.
"I've Never Been to Me" is too maudlin.
"Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady" though, is pretty good.

Stephen said...

I used to sing BILL from Showboat for auditions in the 80s. I would do it without changing a single lyric & without irony or camp. Most people didn't understand, but it got me some major attention & I loved it & I sang the hell out of it. Give it a listen. I like Cleo Laine's version. You have such a cool life!

heat said...

"You Aint Woman Enough to Take My Man" by Loretta Lynn??? I know it's not pop, but......

Wonder Man said...

I am a woman in love, by Babs

Anonymous said...

The Man I Love (as sung by Ivri Lider) is an AWESOME choice

Prospero said...

"Stand By Your Man"

"Evergreen"

"Nine to Five"

Misster Kitty said...

I don't know how well this would work given the criteria but there is: I Kissed a Girl by Katie Perry and I Kissed a Girl by Jill Sobule. quite frankly I love the later, but just because she got Fabio to play her dumber than a box of hair (literallt in this case) boyfriend in the video...And considrering it's a song by a chick kissing a chick, and the last I knew you were a dude that kisses dudes.. this does sorta make sense... Anyhoo that's my suggestion...

Avenjer said...

The perfect song from the 70's is "Woman" as sung here by Raquel Welsh and Miss Piggy... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIWpqSajYPM

or if you prefer Raquel Welsh and Cher here... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tid4jRG7DSs&NR=1

dirkmancuso said...

"That's the Night That the Lights Went out In Georgia" by Vicki Lawrence

"Lead Me On" by Maxine Nightingale

"We're All Alone" by Rita Coolidge

"Brand New Key" by Melanie

"If You Love Me (Let Me Know)" by Olivia Newton John

Mike said...

Okay, both of these are too early but since Andy and I are both obsessed (me more than him - but he had the idea separate of me so we have to mention it) with the idea of you doing "story songs" -- "Ode to Billie Joe" (all 11 verses if they exist" and "Harper Valley PTA." Maybe you could do a whole night of them sometime.

But back to suggestions that were actually released in the 1970s "You're So Vain" (Andy) and "Love Will Keep Us Together" or "Do That To Me One More Time" (released in late 1979, topped the charts a little too late) -- which were both mine -- but I'm really suggesting anything belted out by Toni Tennille. Maybe you can find a lady to where a captain's hat -- or I definitely will -- though I can't play the piano.

Just Kevin... said...

Stephen- Whatever you choose, PLEASE provide those of us who are so far away a video to watch. It will be magnificent, I'm sure!

Jim said...

How about "Billy, Don't be a Hero"? Sung by a man, it addresses both Don't Ask Don't Tell and gay marriage!

(As an About Face board member, my personal thanks for participating in Flip Flop, Steven. Looking forward to it!)

philip said...

"Tapestry"

"Love Will Keep Us Together"

One of the "Bond" songs.

and please tell Amy that if she doesn't sing "Shaft", then there's nothing I can do for her.

Joe said...

How's about "Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin, "When Will I Be Loved?" by Linda Ronstadt, "Nobody Does It Better" Carly Simon, "Touch Me In the Morning" Diana Ross

The Promiscuous Reader said...

Well, "Me and Bobby McGee" was written by Kris Kristofferson, and the first version I heard was by Gordon Lightfoot, so Janis already flipflopped it. (Whether Kristofferson deliberately chose the first name to be sexually ambiguous, I don't know.)

But I second Jill Sobule's "I Kissed a Girl", even though it's from a later period. I perform it myself, just changing a couple of lyrics here and there to make it into a gay man singing about kissing a girl. I've also done a fair number of Joni Mitchell songs, such as "You Turn Me On I'm a Radio," "Michael from Mountains," and "Conversation."
And there's a song by the Roches, "Pretty and High," that I have always wanted to perform, because I think it makes more sense if the singer/narrator is male. But probably no one has heard of that one.

Matt said...

I agree with "That Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady"!