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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THE B-52’S | Bouncing Off the Satellites
Warner Bros. (1986)
Selected by Quentin Harrison
Blasting out of Athens, Georgia in 1979, the B-52s—Kate Pierson (vocals, keyboards), Cindy Wilson (vocals, percussion), Keith Strickland (rhythm guitar, drums), Fred Schneider (vocals) and Ricky Wilson (lead guitar)—were the canny shorthand for irreverent cheek with a queer twist in the post-punk genre of new wave.
Often lost between its wilder predecessor Whammy! (1983) and the straight-ahead pop of Cosmic Thing (1989), Bouncing Off the Satellites was the link between those two disparate epochs. On entries like “Wig” and “She Brakes for Rainbows,” the band mixes esoteric song scripts (albeit with conventional hooks) and lush melodies that made Bouncing Off the Satellites a flavorful excursion that is as wacky as it is accessible.
Upon the album’s completion and submission to Warner Bros., Ricky Wilson tragically passed away from HIV/AIDS-related complications. Grief-stricken, the now-quartet found themselves unable to promote their newest LP and it subsequently slipped into relative obscurity except to those discerning fans in the know.