Jobriath Boone: Rock's Fairy Godmother

Richard Metzger is the current Boing Boing guest blogger.


If you've never heard of Jobriath Boone, don't worry, you're not alone. Obscure even by "rock snob" standards, Jobriath was the first really openly gay rock star. David Bowie and Lou Reed flirted with bisexuality, nail polish and make-up, of course, but Jobriath was in his own words, "a true fairy." He wasn't just "out of the closet" he was out like a police siren with the volume turned up to eleven!

I've been a Jobriath freak for about 20 years when I stumbled upon his first LP at a New York City flea market. "What is THIS?" was my initial reaction to the cover, obviously influenced by the artwork for David Bowie's "Diamond Dogs." Clearly from the image on the cover, Jobriath was a 70s glitter rock wannabe. Make that perhaps a "neverwas," for aside from a massive advertising campaign that saw his image on 250 New York buses and a 40 foot high poster in Times Square, two solid LPs (recorded with the likes of Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and Peter Frampton) and a memorable "Midnight Special" performance, Jobriath was a massive flop at the time. Too gay for mid-America in 1974? For sure, but that hasn't stopped Jobriath's Broadway showtunes meets glam rock oeuvre from being rediscovered by fresh ears this decade. Championed by Morrissey, Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys and singer-actress Ann Magnuson (who once told me that I was "the only straight guy in the world who's ever even HEARD of Jobriath" back in the early 90s), the tiny cult of Jobriath got a lot of new members when the CD compliation "Lonley Planet Boy" was released in 2004. His life was also a major part of the inspiration for Todd Haynes' "Velvet Goldmine" although few people realize that fact (the Maxwell Demon album covers are direct homages to the original Jobriath records). Admittedly, his music isn't for everyone –some people just HATE it– but for those of you who embraced the equally obscure Klaus Nomi, you'll probably love Jobriath.

"I'maman" on The Midnight Special

"Rock of Ages" on The Midnight Special

"I'm Ready for my Close-Up" an informative Jobriath article from MOJO.

Why You Should Like Jobriath