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Jobriath

Jobriath was born Bruce Wayne Campbell and was signed with Elektra Records which, according to legend, had high hopes of turning him into ‘the great American glam singer.’ His debut album Jobriath (released in 1973) was hyped heavily, including the purchase of an immense billboard in New York’s Times Square to advertise it. While the album was well-received by some critics who cited a distinct show tunes and/or vaudeville influence, despite the album intentionally being produced to sound like David Bowie, the American public was reluctant to give such a hyped-up recording artist even ...read more

Jobriath was born Bruce Wayne Campbell and was signed with Elektra Records which, according to legend, had high hopes of turning him into ‘the great American glam singer.’ His debut album Jobriath (released in 1973) was hyped heavily, including the purchase of an immense billboard in New York’s Times Square to advertise it. While the album was well-received by some critics who cited a distinct show tunes and/or vaudeville influence, despite the album intentionally being produced to sound like David Bowie, the American public was reluctant to give such a hyped-up recording artist even half a chance…especially as he was the first openly gay mainstream rock musician. (While queer musicians of any variety definitely existed before 1973, such as Noel Coward, it is contextually important to note that Jobriath was always very public about being gay, whereas Coward et al. proceeded as though no one knew about them besides their lovers. Even Freddie Mercury posed as merely bi-curious for most of his career..

Jobriath’s second album Creatures Of The Street was released in 1974, and consisted of the remaining session recordings that weren’t used for the first album. Jobriath’s career was regarded as Elektra’s (and the entire recording industry’s) biggest faux pas and most expensive advertising failure. He was quickly dropped by Elektra. Although he briefly toured with his band after that, even he soon distanced himself from the Jobriath image and performed a cabaret act under the name Cole Berlin.

Pre-Jobriath, Campbell played the presumed-gay character Woof in the Broadway musical HAIR, and was a member of the folk-rock band Pidgeon (one album for Decca, 1969).

In 1983, on August 3rd, he died at his apartment in New York’s Chelsea Hotel from AIDS-related complications. His death pre-dated Klaus Nomi’s by three days, making him the first known recording artist whose death was AIDS-related. « hide

Similar Bands: David Bowie, Morrissey, Roxy Music

Creatures of the Street
1974

3.7
5 Votes
Jobriath
1973

4
4 Votes

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