Sunday, March 4, 2012

"Johnny Are You Queer?" by Josie Cotton - March 4th 80's Quest Song/Band of the Day

Josie Cotton's real name is Kathleen Josey. She was born in Dallas Texas (USA) in 1956 to a prominent family who made their fortune in cotton (!). She sang with numerous local Dallas bands in the artsy Deep Ellum neighborhood (just liked Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians did too). Cotton moved to Los Angeles in the late '70s to further her career. Once in Los Angeles, she and began dating a musician named Bobby Paine, who had written a tongue-in-cheek novelty song with his brother Larson called "Johnny, Are You Queer?". The Go-Go's began singing the song during their sets, but once signed to a label, their record company advised them against recording it. Cotton recorded a 12" single of "Johnny Are You Queer" with the song with "Let's Dance the Blackout" on b-side. Bomp Records released it in 1981. The song caused a stir. The Conservatives complained it promoted a gay lifestyle, and The Liberals disdained it as homophobic. Too bad they didn't have more of a sense of humor about things!  The lyrics mirror the experiences of many American teenage girls as evidenced by the new up and coming blog :  My Boyfriend was gay:

The single attracted the attention of major label Elektra Records. They re-released the "Johnny Are You Queer" single, as well as a full Josie Cotton album , Convertible Music, which contained Farfisa organs, surf guitars and spawned the hit "He Could Be the One".

In 1983 she sang the song during the prom scene in the movie "Valley Girl" starring Deborah Foreman and Nicholas Cage. During the prom scenes she was also seen singing "He Could Be the One" and a cover of the Gary U.S. Bonds oldie "School Is In". In 2006 the song reappeared in another movie "Jackass: Number Two" during the anaconda ballpit stunt.
Josie released her second album, From the Hip, in 1984. The Paine brothers produced it. On it she covered Looking Glass' song "Jimmy Loves Maryann" with Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac playing guitar on the single. It became a minor hit, but Elektra Records soon dropped her from the label anyway.

In 1986 she appeared in the horror movie "Nomads" with Adam Ant and Pierce Brosnan. She played the character Silver Ring.
In 1997 she suddenly re-appeared with a collection of songs by songwriter/violinist Bill Rhea on an album called Frightened by Nightingales which was produced by her husband, Geza X, a legendary Los Angeles punk music producer. It was released on a French record label called Silences.

She took her skills to the business end of the music business and co-founded B-Girl Records. They recorded some bands such as Goldenboy and Alaska!, as well as a new Josey Cotton album (she reverted to the original spelling of her first name on this album), The Influence of Fear on Salesmen. It was supposed to be released in 2002 on B-Girl records, but was not released until 2006 under the name Movie Disaster. Following that release Josey released an album of covers of B-movie theme songs called Invasion of the B-Girls, and Pussycat Babylon in late 2010.
Her Facebook page lists her influences as The 60s, Wanda Jackson, Edith Piaff, Ima Sumak, Tammy Wynette, and John Waters. She is still in Los Angeles released a new single in June 2011 called, "See The new Hong Kong" which has rose to #15 on The Billboard Dance/Club charts.


Johnny what's the deal boy
Is your love for real boy
when the lights are low
You never hold me close
Now I saw you today boy
Walking with them gay boys
Now you hurt me so, now I gotta know Johnny are you queer?

'Cause when I see you dancing with your friends
I can't help wondering where I stand
I'm so afraid I'll lose you
If I can't seduce you
Is there something wrong?
Johnny come on strong.

Why are you so weird, boy?
Johny are you queer boy?
When I make a play
You're pushing me away

'Cause when I see you dancing with your friends
I can't help wondering where I stand
Johnny you've forsaken
A love you could be takin'
I want to give it to you,
But you never come through
Oh, why are you so weird, boy?
Johnny are you queer boy? When you asked for a date
I thought that you were straight.
But Johnny are you queer?
Johnny are you queer boy?
Johnny are you queer boy?
Johnny are you queer boy?
Hey Johnny.. Johnny are you.. you know...

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