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Passaic, NJ

Unreleased live concert at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey, 1 June 1979. Broadcast on WNEW, New York

Tom Robinson on stage, 1978

[Lyrics new to this version are marked in bold]

Alright, let’s get a little insecurity in here right now.

This song is dedicated to the World Health Organization, Masters and Johnson, to Anita Bryant – by the way folks, don’t buy Florida orange juice – and to Dan White and all those other arseholes. This song’s called Sing If You’re Glad To Be Gay.

You don’t have to be gay to sing along on this song… but it helps.

The British Police are the best in the world
I don’t believe one of these stories I’ve heard
‘Bout them raiding gay pubs for no reason at all
Lining the customers up by the wall
Picking out people, knocking them down
Resisting arrest as they’re kicked on the ground
Searching their houses, calling them queer
Don’t believe that sort of thing happens here

Sing if you’re glad to be gay
Sing if you’re happy that way

Pictures of naked young women are fun
In Penthouse and Playboy, page three of The Sun
There’s no nudes in Gay News our last magazine
But they still found excuses to call it obscene
Read how disgusting we are in the press
The Telegraph, People and Sunday Express
Molesters of children, corruptors of youth
It’s there in the paper, it must be the truth

Sing if you’re glad to be gay
Sing if you’re happy that way

Don’t try to kid us that if you’re discreet
You’re perfectly safe as you walk down the street
You don’t have to mince or make bitchy remarks
To get beaten unconscious and left in the dark
I had a friend who was gentle and short
He got lonely one evening and went for a walk
Queerbashers caught him, kicked in his teeth
He was only hospitalised for a week
And it happened again in Central Park

So sing if you’re glad to be gay
Sing if you’re happy that way

And sit back and watch as they close down our clubs
Arrest us for meeting and smash up our pubs
Make sure your boyfriend’s at least 21
And if you’re a lesbian don’t be a mum
Lie to your workmates, lie to your folks
Put down the queens and tell anti-queer jokes
Gay Lib’s ridiculous, join their laughter
‘The buggers are legal now, what more are they after?’

Sing if you’re glad to be gay
Sing if you’re happy that way

Sing if you’re glad to be gay
Sing if you’re happy this way

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Explanatory notes:

“Dedicated to the World Health Organization”

The UN body categorised homosexuality as a disease until 1990. For more details, see notes for Rising Free version.

“Masters and Johnson”

William Masters and Virginia Johnson were a team who researched human sexual response and treated sexual disorders. Between 1968 and 1977 the Masters and Johnson Institute ran a programme to convert homosexuals to heterosexuality, pioneering the field of ‘conversion therapy’ that continues to this day.

Their 1979 book ‘Homosexuality in Perspective’ works from the premise that homosexuality is a deviant state for those who can’t be straight. There have been recent suggestions that the reported results of their ‘therapy’, and perhaps even the cases themselves, were faked.

“to Anita Bryant”

Saccharine singer and repressive fundamentalist Christian, Anita Bryant was the pivotal figure in a number of homophobic legal campaigns in America in the late 1970s. They mostly focused on repealing laws against homophobic discrimination, but there was also a successful campaign to ban gay adoption in Florida (only repealed in November 2008), and an unsuccessful campaign in California that would have made making positive or neutral statements about homosexuality a sacking offence for public school employees.

If you want to feel a bit better, check out the footage of her being pied in the face on TV.

“by the way folks, don’t buy Florida orange juice”

'No More Orange Juice from the Un-Shine State' badgeAnita Bryant was the face of Florida orange juice’s advertising in the 1970s.

Her homophobic campaigns triggered a widespread boycott, and her contract was dropped in 1980.

“Dan White and all other arseholes”

A conservative politician, Dan White was a City Supervisor in San Francisco. In November 1978 he assassinated fellow Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person elected to public office in America, as well as Mayor George Moscone. In May 1979 White – who’d brought spare ammunition, entered through a window to avoid metal detectors and later told of how he had a plan to kill four people – was found not to have acted in a premeditated way and convicted of mere manslaughter. He was given a seven year sentence.

When Jello Biafra stood for Mayor of San Francisco in 1979, part of his platform was a plan to erect statues of Dan White in the city and have the Parks Department sell tomatoes and eggs with which to pelt them.

Talking to Tom:

Passaic, New Jersey, was a year later than the KSAN tape, on the next tour with the TRB Two line-up with Ian Parker and Charlie Morgan, and that was on my birthday, June 1st 1979. It was the night before we played the Palladium in New York. So they broadcast live over New York from the night before in New Jersey, and we had this triumphant arrival in New York to do the Palladium and Todd Rundgren got up with us to do Jumping Jack Flash with Danny Kustow on 2nd June. Then the band went home and broke up!

Were Passaic and KSAN radio tapes or were they ever pressed? I know some of those American live things got pressed up, usually just as promos for dishing out to other stations like the King Biscuit Flower Hour.

Never pressed, no, those are just radio tapes.

There’s no real lyric changes, just the odd word here and there.

Forgetting the words and making some up…

But the introduction goes to ‘the World Health Organization, Masters and Johnson, Anita Bryant, Dan White and all the other arseholes’.

Basically what would happen was I’d go round the world with the band, and wherever you were you’d talk to somebody friendly, a fan or somebody, and say ‘what’s the current state of gay liberation here? What’s the current issues?’ and then you kind of bring them in to the introductions on stage. Not just about gays. Coor’s beer had sacked a load of workers so there was lots of anti-Coor’s beer at the San Francisco concert. It’s just local colour.

I did go back to San Francisco for Pride, I think in 79. Led by the Dykes on Bikes. Two hundred greasy lesbians on Harleys driving very slowly in shades with no helmets on down the front of the march, looking round like, ‘you wanna make something of it?’. And then, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on their roller skates – roller-skating gay male nuns with beards – following them. It was another world.

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