Lesbian Pop historian Rabdrake has posted a remarkable contribution to the rarefied world of lesbian erotic music and video: The G2G Love Song List.
All the songs are by female vocalists singing love songs to other women— "Not friendship love, but undisguised sensuality, an open expression of same-sex attraction."
Every tune links to a video featuring the likes of Patti Smith, Lisa Lopes, Janet Jackson, Ani DiFranco, Laura Nyro, Melissa Ethridge, The Butchies, Katy Perry, Joan Jett, Amy Winehouse, and Marlene Dietrich.
It's interesting to look at that group of names, isn't it? Some are outspoken dyke activists, some are "it-ain't-no-big-thing" bisexuals, while others are persistent closet cases who nevertheless make these videos which reveal their true affections.
My personal favorites are Amy's "Valerie," Marlene Dietrich's montage, and the concert clip above from Sarah Jane Morris.
I was always interested in "straight" pop songs that crossed over into the once-dynamic lesbian bar scene. It often had to do with a play on words, like "Me and Mrs. Jones."
"I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)," with Aretha Franklin wringing it out wet, has to be at the top of that list. I just had another little gasp listening to Allison Crowe's cover of the same.
Rabdrake is the researcher behind the story of "Emmie," Pop music's first lesbian love song, composed by Laura Nyro, who wrote it for her lover, Maria Desiderio.
The reason Nyro must've been so secretive about her lover wasn't because they were gay in a not-so-friendly time— but because they were 13 and 18 when they met and fell in love. That's when Nyro wrote "Emmie."
Later, she wrote "Desiree," another devotion to her partner. Both women died, still together, in middle age, of ovarian cancer, just a few years apart. It reminds me of the rose and the green briar in the lyrics of "Barb'ry Allen:"
Till they could grow no higher
And there they twined in a true love's knot
Red rose around green briar
I wish we knew more of their story.