Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be 50 Essential Albums by LGBTQ Artists, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. 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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DEAD OR ALIVE | Mad, Bad & Dangerous To Know
Selected by Quentin Harrison
The deification of the English musical vanguard of the 1980s was warranted—Boy George, Annie Lennox, Adam Ant and more transfixed the world. Of that merry band of rebels, one held a certain kind of sway over the scene at the time, Pete Burns. From acerbic record store clerk to rowdy club kid, his transition into the androgynous lead singer for the synth-pop outfit Dead or Alive felt natural.
Their debut album Sophisticated Boom Boom (1984) and sophomore set Youthquake (1985) injected their non-conformist art into the mainstream charts. The sculpted, sensual sides of their third outing Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know (1986) found Burns commanding his band to impeccable form. Even more daringly, the typically incorruptible Hi-NRG of Stock-Aitken-Waterman—the producers of Dead or Alive’s sound—found their sparkling soundscapes given (for a second time) a far more adult tonal quality per Burns’ vocal and lyrical deliveries as heard on “Brand New Lover” and “Son of a Gun.”