10 Pride Anthems We're Blasting All Month Long

by Christopher Ehlers

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Sunday June 12, 2022

10 Pride Anthems We're Blasting All Month Long
  (Source:Associated Press)

When it comes to Pride, it's impossible to celebrate all things queer without also celebrating the unabashedly gay music that has made up the soundtrack of (most of) our lives. It's also impossible to understate the important role that most of the artists on this list have played in our lives, at one point or another. From club bangers to hopeful anthems, here are 10 very queer songs that we'll be blasting this month and every month.

Donna Summer, "I Feel Love"

Donna Summer's relationship to the gay community is a somewhat complicated one, though it seems that most of us have moved on from her supposed homophobic comments that the Born again Christian made in the years prior to her death. Still, there's no denying the impact that Summer had on both the music industry in the '70s and on the lives of gay men who spent the years before and during the AIDS epidemic dancing to her music. Cited as one of the most influential songs ever recorded, "I Feel Love" was a game changer and an early predecessor to EDM.

Diana Ross, "I'm Coming Out"

Written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of Chic, "I'm Coming Out" was an early LGBTQ+ anthem that was inspired by drag queens dressed as Diana Ross that Rodgers saw at a New York nightclub. Of course, this song was personal for Ross, too, who was emerging as an artist in her own right, no longer under the control of Berry Gordy. Allegedly, Ross didn't know what coming out meant in terms of the gay community, and she was initially furious that Rogers didn't think to mention that to her. She released the song anyway, and the rest is history.

Kylie Minogue, "All the Lovers"

Any one of Kylie's songs could be on this list, but we went with "All the Lovers" for its infectious beat and its slightly sad, wistful lyrics. Released as the lead single from "Aphrodite," Kylie's eleventh studio album, in 2010, "All the Lovers" was actually the last song written for the album. Disappointed by the reception of her previous album, "X," which was her first following her recovery from breast cancer, Kylie immediately got to work on a comeback album that packed more of a punch. The result, "Aphrodite," remains one of Kylie's best albums, and this has undoubtedly become one of her greatest songs.

George Michael, "Freedom! '90"

While an overplayed Chase Freedom commercial featuring this song has made the song seem more annoying than it really is, its place in LGBTQ+ pop culture cannot be underestimated. Although the song actually had nothing to do with Michael's sexuality — he didn't publicly come out for another eight years — the song became a queer anthem for its calls to live openly and on your own terms. Of course, Michael later became a gay icon, which cemented this song's status.

Cher, "A Song for the Lonely"

Like Kylie, any one of Cher's songs could be here, but we decided to pick just one. Three years after her career-defining "Believe," it was originally written as a love song, but the events of September 11 reframed the song, which instead became a defiant celebration of life and togetherness. But, in reality, people don't remember this song as an uplifting call for unity in the face of a terrorist attack, but rather as a giant bear hug for her many gay fans, who surely knew a thing or two about longing for love while feeling ruthlessly othered. Sadly, Cher almost never performs the song live anymore; the last time concertgoers got to hear it was a decade ago. Maybe on her next farewell tour?

The Weather Girls, "It's Raining Men"

This choice seems obvious, sure, but this soul-tinged post-disco smash is one of the most deliriously fun songs ever recorded. Paul Jabara and Paul Shaffer originally wrote this song for Donna Summer, but she had recently become a Born again Christian and found the song to be blasphemous. It was then offered to Diana Ross, Cher, and Barbra Streisand, who all passed on it. Imagine what their versions would have been like?

Robyn, "Dancing on My Own"

What could be gayer than a bittersweet dance song about watching your ex-lover make out with someone else on the dance floor? Surely the majority of us have been there a time or two. Sad gay disco anthems are hard to pass up, and this is one of the all-time best.

Lady Gaga, "Born This Way"

Gaga faced the impossible with the release of her second studio album: How would she ever match the success and creativity of previous singles "Just Dance," "Poker Face," "LoveGame," "Paparazzi," "Bad Romance," "Telephone," and "Alejandro?" Well, her answer to that was to release a song — and an album — that would empower the LGBTQ+ community. The song was a smash, reaching number one in over 25 countries, and changing countless lives in the process.

Cyndi Lauper, "True Colors"

While Lauper is an LGBTQ+ icon and ally in her own right, she did not actually have a hand in writing this song, although most people don't know that. In fact, the song was originally offered to Canadian singer Anne Murray, who passed on it. By the time it got to Lauper, she re-did the arrangement and fashioned it into something that was more her style. Although it wasn't written about or for the LGBTQ+ community, it eventually became a queer standard, so much so that Lauper founded the True Colors Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating LGBT youth homelessness.

Madonna, "Express Yourself"

From her fourth album "Like a Prayer," "Express Yourself" was written to be a song of female empowerment, urging women never to settle for second best. But of course, it being a dance song — and her being Madonna — the song was quickly embraced and claimed by the gay community, and it has been a gay anthem ever since its 1989 release.