“I’m a true fairy,” Jobriath exclaimed, putting any debate over his true sexuality to rest, becoming rock music’s first openly gay superstar. It’s just that the superstar part never happened, despite hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of hype.

An in-your-face, outrageous gay rock star. The kind of glittery glamster Bowie, Reed and Pop only hinted at being. The year was 1973 and America was having none of it. While he paved his own way, he was derided as merely a cheap American Bowie clone (never mind that Jobriath was rocking the pierrot clown hat and white makeup a full seven years before Bowie would do so in the “Ashes to Ashes” video).

Despite bright hopes, heaps of talent, and sass to spare, “Jobriath” Bruce Wayne Campbell died of AIDS in 1983, alone in his suite at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City after a life filled with sex, drugs and booze. Gossip says four days passed before his body was discovered.

He left behind two albums, his 1973 self-title debut and “Creatures of the Night”, released just six months after the first. After that his label, Elektra, dropped him and Jobriath retired from the music industry. Years later, admirers such as Morrissey and movies such as “Velvet Goldmine” have touched upon his legacy, but it’s a crying shame that gay people at large have no idea who this man was. To be an out rocker in 1973! Unreal.

You can find a few Jobriath tracks on Limewire, or listen to the entire first and second albums here at Ron “Boogiemeister’s” excellent “Crap From the Past” homepage.

Strange note: Spellchecker suggestion for “Jobriath”?


About the Author

John C. Hughes

John C. Hughes began his Lost in the ’80s blog in 2005 and is now proud to be a member of the Popdose family, where he’s introduced LIT80s’s companions, the obviously named Lost in the ’70s and Lost in the ’90s, alongside the slightly more originally named Why You Should Like…

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