ROBERT STIGWOOD (1934-2016): Australian impresario who managed the Bee Gees and produced 1970’s blockbusters ‘ Grease’ and “ Saturday Night Fever.”
In the 1960’s he managed Cream before signing the Bee Gees. In the 70’s he brought Broadway hit “ Hair” to the London stage and produced cinema versions of “ Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Tommy” and “Evita.”
Over the years, the Robert Stigwood Organization promoted artists such as Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, David Bowie, Yvonne Elliman and Rick Davis of the Bay City Rollers. He managed and developed the careers of acts including Blind Faith and Eric Clapton. On his RSO Records label Stigwood recorded soundtrack albums for the motion pictures The Empire Strikes Back and Fame in addition to the films produced by RSO Films.
Stigwood was widely recognized as being gay, but maintained a very private personal life. Despite the severe legal situation in Britain until the Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalized homosexual acts in private, it would not have been a disadvantage for Stigwood's career, as other important figures in the music industry were also gay. Some Australian music writers have suggested that the main reason why so few Australian acts were able to break into the UK music scene in the 1960s was that they were locked out by the so-called "Pink Mafia" that supposedly dominated British show business.
PET SHOP BOYS are an English electronic pop duo, formed in London in 1981 and consisting of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. Pet Shop Boys have sold more than 50 million records worldwide, and are listed as the most successful duo in UK music history by The Guinness Book of Records.
Neil Tennant, who neither denied nor confirmed gay rumors throughout the 1980s, "came out" in a 1994 interview for Attitude, a UK gay lifestyle magazine. Lowe, meanwhile, has not disclosed his own orientation. He has said (in the 2-part 1996 BBC Radio 1 documentary, About), rather, that there is only "[human] sexuality." Pet Shop Boys are seen as significant figures in gay culture for such songs as "Can You Forgive Her?," "It's a Sin" (for which gay director Derek Jarman produced the video), "New York City Boy," and their cover of Village People's "Go West."
They have written a song about a young male fan spending a night with a rapper, based on Eminem, called "The Night I Fell in Love," and at least two songs about coming out - "Was It Worth It?" and "Metamorphosis." Album tracks "It Couldn't Happen Here," "Dreaming of the Queen," "Liberation," "The Survivors," and single "Being Boring" deal with the gay experience and the devastation wrought by the AIDS crisis.
BRONSKI BEAT were a popular British synth pop trio who achieved success in the mid-1980s. All members of the group were openly gay and their songs reflected this, often containing political commentary on gay-related issues. At the height of their popularity the band consisted of singer Jim Somerville, Steve Bronski and Larry Steinbachek.
The band's debut single, "Smalltown Boy" (about a gay teenager deserting his family and fleeing his hometown) was a hit, peaking at No 3 in the UK Singles Chart, and topping charts in Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The follow-up single, "Why”? was more lyrically focused on anti-gay prejudice. It achieved Top 10 status in the UK, reaching #6, and was a Top 10 hit in Australia. At the end of 1984 the trio released “The Age of Consent.” The inner sleeve of the album listed the varying ages of consent for consensual gay sex in different nations around the world. At the time, the age of consent for sexual acts between men in the UK was 21 compared with 16 for heterosexual acts, with several other countries having more liberal laws on gay sex. (In 1994 the minimum age for gays in the UK was lowered to 18 and in 2001 it was equalized, regardless of sexual orientation at 16).
The album peaked at #4 in the UK , #36 in the U.S., and #12 in Australia. Around the same time, the band headlined "Pits and Perverts", a concert at the Electric Ballroom in London to raise funds for the Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners campaign. This event is featured in the film Pride. Somerville went on to have success as lead singer of The Communards and as a solo artist.