Adam Lambert recently began his tour with the band Queen which brings to mind an interesting situation concerning sexuality and music. Queen was one of the most influential bands of its time and still influences us today. Very few people don’t know the two stomps and a clap of “We Will Rock You” or the victorious clamor of “We are the Champions.” I would even venture to say that if you don’t know any of Queen’s songs you might want to move out of the rock you probably live under. Even the most cloistered hermit could mumble the words to “Bohemian Rhapsody” as well as the intoxicated bar rats that usually sing it. Queen has obviously proved its relevance. Therefore, what it does can influence our world and especially our music.
Queen was and is made up of individuals with personal characteristics and lives. The focus of the band and the individual with the most flamboyant personality was the singer Freddie Mercury. His voice defined the band’s music, but his sexuality almost defined him. He was always rumored to have been homosexual or bisexual but he did not come to terms with his sexuality until later in his career. Lambert believes that it was difficult to come out as a homosexual during the time of the peak of rock and roll when Mercury was active (Wong, 2014). The 1970’s and 1980’s themselves were not times when homosexuality was 100% accepted by all people (this is not the case today either). Homosexuality was definitely less accepted even after the sexual revolution of the 1960’s because it was still a countercultural movement. Therefore, Mercury lived a life of hiding his sexuality as did many others during this time. There was especially more pressure on Mercury to keep closed because he was in the glam rock, heavy rock genre. Men were supposed to be effeminate but still womanizers. There was a different standard in the golden age of Glam Rock.
The biggest difference between Freddie Mercury and Adam Lambert is that Lambert is open about his sexuality. Lambert has contributed to LGBT friendly organizations and events. There is obviously a difference in the times when Mercury sang to now. Lambert admits it was easier for him to admit his sexuality. He even was quoted “From what I understand, it took Freddie a bit of time to come to terms with his sexuality, and once he did … he was living in a time when, as a celebrity or a rock star, it was something that was kind of off-limits,” (Wong, 2014). Adam Lambert is obviously comfortable with his sexuality and doesn’t mind admitting it to the world.
So what has changed in the past 30 years? Why is Adam Lambert comfortable admitting his sexuality and why was Freddie Mercury not? Well, back in the 1970’s the world was still strongly influenced by old world morals. Homosexuality was seen as a true offense against society. Additionally, the Rock culture was dominated by womanizing men who promoted a hard, macho man type image. This seemed to scare away any ideas of homosexuality and stamped it as not manly. Nevertheless, in the time from them many social changes have occurred. People have learned from new moral teaching and activist groups that homosexuality is acceptable. This has opened doors for many talented homosexual singers like Adam Lambert. Sexuality has become a nonissue.
Freddie Mercury was deeply disturbed by his sexual identity. This was a direct result of the time he lived in. It came from the ideas that people promoted. He based his self-image on other’s image as most of us do. Since then things have changed. This is obvious to Adam Lambert who is a gay singer for Queen. People no longer care about the singers sexuality. Even now people don’t mind knowing Mercury was gay. As Lambert said “Maybe, for diehard fans of the band who loved Freddie, it’s a mind-opener for them, and they can go, ‘Oh yeah, now Adam is singing these songs and is open and out, and we think that’s OK because we loved Freddie so much.’ It gives them permission to be comfortable with it, I think,” (Wong, 2014). So we can see that talent and virtue can triumph all adversity. A person’s identity doesn’t ruin their art. Once again, art is a unifying force in this world.
Wong, C. M. (2014, August 1). Adam Lambert On Freddie Mercury’s Legacy And The Fight To Be A Gay Pop Star. Retrieved November 14, 2014, from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/01/adam-lambert-freddie-mercury-queen_n_5638540.html