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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SYLVESTER & THE HOT BAND | Bazaar
Blue Thumb (1973)
Selected by Quentin Harrison
The entire notion of the “out” performer in popular music wouldn’t exist if it were not for Sylvester. Relocating from Los Angeles to San Francisco in the late 1960s, Sylvester spent a few years honing that incomparable falsetto through a series of events ideal for a movie plot. Soon, he managed to form his own backing group—The Hot Band—and land a deal with Blue Thumb Records. Stardom was almost certainly promised. Sylvester and His Hot Band and Bazaar both hit record racks in 1973 and while his first album is keen, Bazaar brings his brew of rock, gospel and soul to a simmering finish.
Composed of original entries and several well-selected covers, Bazaar did have its fans, but its sales were slow and Sylvester and the Hot Band went their own ways shortly thereafter. It wasn’t until Sylvester’s fourth album Step II (1978) that he began the next phase of his journey as a proprietor of disco and dance music until his untimely death in 1988.