Introduction by Quentin Harrison
It’s a Herculean task, to be sure, to attempt to even try to chart the 50 “essential” albums by LGBTQ artists.* But, here we are, in the midst of Pride Month, embarking upon this endeavor and celebrating the albums that resonate most with our collective staff. I know for me, as a thirty-four-year-old gay black man, that some of these records have been soundtracks, companions and even guides to many of the weird and wonderful moments I’ve lived so far.
Our list spans decades and genres, delivered from a cast of characters wildly different from the other, but somehow similar in their insatiable artistic appetites and willingness to share their own stories—usually joyful, sometimes sorrowful—with the world. Their fearlessness to chart their narratives and those of our community so fiercely is what makes every entry on this list vital.
We invite you, the reader and listener, to revisit or discover these albums in the hopes that they will lead you to delve deeper into the individual discographies of each artist featured here.
Click “Explore List” below to check out our team's perspectives on each of the 50 selections or for easier exploring, click on the album cover art in the index below. Please also let us know which albums you would have included within the comments section!
*Editor’s Note: Considering that the qualifier “LGBTQ” can often be open to various interpretations, for the purposes of this particular list, we have defined an artist as LGBTQ if he, she or they have ever publicly identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer. Moreover, albums by groups have been included in the list if any of their members fit the aforementioned criteria, even if some members do not.
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50 Essential Albums by LGBTQ Artists