Queer Music Heritage

Doyle, JD. Queer Music Heritage. JD Doyle Archives. January 2000-March 2015. http://queermusicheritage.com.

Queer Music Heritage in white-on-black over a tiled background of queer musicians.

Queer Music Heritage was a monthly radio program that ran from January 2000 to March 2015. Hosted by prolific queer history buff JD Doyle, the show covered a wide range of genres, identities, and time periods. Each show is archived on the website with both streaming and download options, and includes playlists, photographs, and additional information. Although the final show aired in 2015, the site remains as an archive, and Doyle occasionally adds more information and graphics. There are currently 2066 pages in a veritable rabbit warren of links leading to other links resulting in serendipitous browsing.

The website is organized in two ways: by date and (marginally) by topic. At the top of the index page, listeners can click the year, and from there, choose a month based on the provided description. For example, if I click on 2013, I can then locate a great show on “Lesbian Music Obscurities” in September. This particular show has three parts and clocks in at nearly 3 hours. Other shows range from 2 to 4 hours.

Besides searching by date, listeners can also click on various special sections interspersed throughout the index page between graphics, text, and hyperlinks galore. Topics include women’s music, gay musicals, transgender shows, camp records, songs about AIDS, spoken word vinyl, specific musicians and genres, and much more. One of my personal favorites is the March 2014 show, “Accidentally Gay Songs of the 1920s/1930s.” This whimsical segment showcases songs that were meant to be sung by one gender, sung by the opposite gender. As publishers in this time period didn’t allow lyrics changes, pronouns were kept intact, thus rendering the song “accidentally gay.”

Queer Music Heritage is a fantastic resource for the queer community. Doyle has faithfully preserved a massive catalog of queer music, some of it quite rare, and shared it with his personal brand of earnest excitement and wry humor. Although the site can be exasperating to navigate at times, with walls of text, flashing graphics, and excessive hyperlinks, it also feels very homespun and very, very queer. This site is a treasure trove and one can easily spend an entire afternoon clicking around joyfully.

Content note: At times, Doyle delves into topics he isn’t an expert on, and uses older or inappropriate language for talking about identities. One example is occasionally unintentionally misgendering trans artists.

About Charlie McNabb

Archivist, Folklorist, and Legend Tripper
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