Donna Summer‘s death was heartwrenching enough, but Robin Gibb‘s death from cancer at age 62 on Sunday substantiated the past three days as Disco Devastation Weekend. While Donna is an obvious gay muse, the Bee Gees’ influence in the homosexual world is a little bit sly: Yep, the gents in the band are straight, and they even sing exclusively about romancing ladies. But there’s something about the open sensitivity and serious rhythm of the Bee Gees’ music that qualifies it for enshrining in every gay hall of fame. Today, we commemorate the band’s nine gayest songwriting contributions. Some songs are written by all three members and some are written by fewer, but all are meaningfully gay. Let’s jive-talk on in.
9. Yvonne Elliman’s “If I Can’t Have You”
While Yvonne Elliman‘s classic track is very much a survival anthem — and therefore inherently gay — it notches a spot on this list for inspiring Adam Lambert to give his tenderest performance of American Idol‘s eighth season. You can have your “Mad World” and “A Change is Gonna Come” renditions; I’d rather Adam hoot this number and make us believe in gay hurt and triumph.
8. Destiny’s Child, “Emotion”
“Emotion” has a history of gay: The original version, by one-hit wonder Samantha Sang, was intended for the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever but ended up on — wait for it! — the soundtrack to Joan Collins’ movie The Stud. When Beyonce, Kelly, and Michelle got their hands on the hit, it inspired the gayest video ever, which featured a three-way split-screen of the girls pouting through melodramatic storylines. This is the only way a Valley of the Dolls remake can and should happen.
7. Andy Gibb, “Shadow Dancing”
The most tragic Gibb brother also had the gayest Gibb-sung hit. “Shadow Dancing” is part of the trend of goofy TV stars who clocked in with hokey hit singles. It’s up there with David Naughton‘s “Makin’ It” (which I effing LOVE) and David Soul‘s “Don’t Give Up On Us Baby.” It has a snakey groove, sinister vocal, and the title “Shadow Dancing” going for its gayness. Come on, can you even picture a woman dancing to this? “Shadow Dancing” was made for striped dude pants and tight-crotched gyration.
6. Dionne Warwick’s “Heartbreaker”
With the possible exception of “Love Power” (cowritten by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager), “Heartbreaker” is Dionne Warwick’s greatest and gayest hit of the ’80s. It’s a comeback ballad with a driving beat and a profound sense of loss, and songwriter Barry Gibb makes sure to include crybaby confessionals like “You made a life out of hurtin’ me” and “My love is stronger than the universe.” Gay to me!