Josie Cotton: Johnny Are you Queer? / (Let’s Do) The Blackout


Format: 12″

Label: Elektra

Country: US

Year: 1981

Paid: $3

Purchased at: Books and Melodies


Well I saw you today boy
Walking with the gay boys
God it hurt me so
Now I gotta know
Johnny are you queer?

It’s hard to imagine today just how subversive and radio unfriendly this song was at the time of release. Needless to say it failed to chart, but was fairly well known in the 80’s due to its inclusion in the ‘Valley Girl’ soundtrack. Back then I found it marginally sexist, but ultimately all in good fun as a modern take on the ‘girl pining for love’ theme popular in the fifties and sixties.

Josie has had somewhat of a resurgence of late, in no small part due to the gay community, where this song is seen as somewhat of an anthem. Not meant as a lifestyle judgement in any way, but personally I prefer the original sardonic wistfulness over the new patina of irony coupled with gay pride that the song seems to have acquired through modern reinterpretation.

This is the Elektra reissue, previously released on Bomp! Records the year before. The artwork is nearly identical on both, but in either case it’s simply brilliant. Not the best cartooning skills but an eye-catching, colorful masterpiece nonetheless. The cover design was done by Diane Zincavage (aka D. Zincavage aka D.Z., DeeZee aka Zincavage) who did art direction for west coast bands such as The Nuns, Pandoras, Agent Orange, T.S.O.L. and many others.


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