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Music of Pride – Anthems

For the finale of our Music of Pride series we turn to the anthems – songs and remixes that not only speak to us but inspire us to keep on keeping on!  They are songs whose first few bars will immediately fill the dance floor.  Their message and groove fill us with joy and turn individuals dancing into one community of love.  They will always lift us up whether it’s the first time we hear them or the hundredth.  We’ve chosen some of our favorites from across the decades because anthems are timeless.  Hopefully a few of your favorites are included and will get you movin’ to the beat with Pride!

 

Pride without Sister Sledge’s 1979 classic “We Are Family” would be like a birthday cake without candles.  It adds instant excitement and sparkle to the celebration.  The Gold Record single went to #1 on Billboards R&B and Dance Club Songs charts; and #2 on the Top 100 (behind Donna Summer’s #1 “Hot Stuff”).  “We are Family” was preserved in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for its “culturally, historically, or artistically significant” and it will top our Pride Playlist for years to come.

 

That same year, Marlena Shaw released her own disco groove of strength and perseverance with “Touch Me in the Morning.”  (The horns playing on this track are amazing!)

 

Whether in it’s originally Broadway version or recorded and remixed in 1983 with a dance beat, “I am What I am” is  global anthem of empowerment. When Zsa Zsa sang the first few pensive notes and words, “I… am… what I am…” on stage in 1983 in Jerry Herman’s landmark musical, La Cage aux Folles, audiences had no idea of the emotional torrent to follow.  That same year, Gloria Gaynor recorded the song turning into a dance hit second only to her mega hit “I Will Survive.”

 

Originally written as a ballad, Janet Jackson’s 1997 “Together Again” was rearranged as an up-tempo dance song. She was inspired to write the song after she learned of the loss of a friend to AIDS.  The song became an instant anthem to all those lost to the terrible plague giving hope in the midst of grief to those still here.

We dedicate this selection to all those we lost to AIDS and to any one whose no longer with us this Pride.

 

What makes a great anthem even better? When a DJ master of the steel wheels remixes the song into a high energy extended track.  From her on out we’re all about the anthem remixes!

 

If you were anywhere near a dance floor worth rolling on in 1999, you know exactly the first time you heard “Unspeakable Joy.”  Kim English’s mega-dance floor hit became an instant gay anthem with its message of strength overcoming adversity; love in the face of hate; and electrified the joy of Community!

“When I’m facing opposition of those attitudes,
We come see notions, dispositions are completely rude.
When darkness thinks that it’s outdone me,
I must remember the greater love’s inside me.

‘Cause they did not hear, and they cannot take it away!
Joy!
Unspeakable joy!”

 

Last season on Abbott Elementary the divine Sheryl Lee Ralph’s character Barbra got into singing off with a rival gospel choir member.  The song was Mary Mary’s “Shackles” and reminded us of DJ Victor Calderone’s  big room remix that played out over the Roxy in New York City every weekend.  (We didn’t call clubbing “going to church” for nothin!)

 

Lady’s Gaga’s 2011 monster hit “Born This Way” didn’t just become an anthem, it was written to be one from the beginning.  In an interview with Billboard, Gaga said “I want to write my this-is-who-the-fuck-I-am anthem, but I don’t want it to be hidden in poetic wizardry and metaphors. I want it to be an attack, an assault on the issue because I think, especially in today’s music, everything gets kind of washy sometimes and the message gets hidden in the lyrical play.”

Nothing hidden in Born This Way!  Gaga left it all on the dance floor.

 

Our final anthem is a trifecta of brilliance and conveys a profound message of love even in the most desperate of times.  “My Love is Your Love” may be even more relevant today than when it was first released.

Take one great song, add a legendary voice, mix with the talent of a master DJ, and the result is an anthem which doesn’t merely echo today; it reverberates with strength, resilience, and vitality. Written by Wyclef Jean, sung by Whitney Houston, and remixed by DJ Jonathan Peters.  “My Love is Your Love” stands as a rapturous anthem to the power of love over adversity, and Community over haters.

If tomorrow is judgment day
And I’m standing on the front line
And the Lord asks me what I did with my life
I will say I spent it with you”

“If I wake up in World War III
I see destruction and poverty
And I feel like I want to go home
It’s okay if you’re coming with me”

 

Read our previous Pride Month 2024 posts:

“Proud Out Loud! – PRIDE 2024”
“Gilbert Baker’s Gift of Pride — The Rainbow Flag” 
“Make Your Voice Heard and Vote with Pride”
“Music of Pride – The Classics” 
“Amber Riley visits “MacArthur Park” for Pride: VIDEO”
“Pulse Massacre 8th Anniversary Remembrance”
“Lady Bunny is Fired Up for ‘Hot Troll Summer’ Shows”
“Podcast: Pro Wrestler Comes Out, Pride Month TV + More” 
“Music of Pride – Broadway” 
“Forty Tony Years of ‘La Cage aux Folles’”
“Docuseries Reveals How Disco Changed the World: Trailer” 
“Rejoice on Juneteenth with Alvin Ailey’s ‘Revelations’: VIDEO” 
“Show Your “True Colors” in ASL: VIDEOS” 
“Music of Pride – Divas & Legends 
“Alan Turing – Code Breaker and Father of Modern Computing/AI” 
“Stonewall National Monument Gets New Landmarks”
“‘Pride Across America’ a Streaming Celebration Returns Sunday” 
“Mancandy – Pride Edition”
“My Journey to Stonewall” 

 

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