Popular music’s queer DNA is inarguable, from Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, from cross-dressing Kurt Cobain to “female Elvis” k.d. lang. Regardless, due to the tenuous legal status of homosexuality and the rife homophobia that lives on in spite of the victories of Gay Liberation, gay and lesbian performers have preferred the safety of the closet for generations.
It comes as no surprise that
there has never been a comprehensive general history of LGBTQ+
personalities and influences in and around popular music—until now.
Martin Aston’s Breaking Down the Walls of Heartache: How Music Came Out is the first book to convey the protracted, but ultimately triumphant, tale of popular music’s queer past, present, and future.