Long before Americans deigned to view homosexuality as anything but deviant, rock stars were blurring the sexual-preference issue with what we can now safely say wasn't homosexuality or even bisexuality at all. Try an overindulged rock star with a nagging need to get in touch with his inner Gabor sister. They wore gayness like a lampshade at a party. What follows now is the one countdown show VH1 doesn't have the balls to assemble — 10 of the worst examples of hetero rock stars acting out their most festive fantasies before hair metal made it passé and Kurt Cobain used cross-dressing and makeup to mask a heroin addiction. Taken individually, each of these cataclysmic events could be blamed for at least a dozen hate crimes. Together, it's just one long, dirty shame.
10. Hall & Oates: "Method of Modern Love" video (1984)
These blue-eyed soulsters raised plenty of "which team?" questions on their 1975 self-titled album cover, by wearing more rouge on their cheeks than Madame Butterfly did all those years waiting for Lt. Pinkerton. But H&O's greatest interpretation of an alternative lifestyle came in this video, which finds the duo hanging out in their zebra-skinned Manhattan apartment, drinking foo-foo-futuristic cocktails and meeting their mullet-headed friends on the roof so that Daryl Hall can lead them in a conga line across the clouds. Not so much gay as undeniably light in the loafers.
9. KISS: "A World Without Heroes" video (1981)
KISS without genitals is more like it. The story line behind The Elder involved a boy entering a monastery called the Order of the Rose, and from the looks of the band's new bobbed 'dos and jumpsuits, they must have meant Rose from The Golden Girls. A KISS so in touch with its feminine side that it's waving groupies homeward? No wonder Gene Simmons gets all teary-eyed at the end of this!
8. Rick Wakeman performs Myths & Legends of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table on ice at Wembley Arena (1975)
Watching Wakeman in his long flowing rhinestoned robe surrounded by a choir and a full orchestra doesn't even begin to approach the excess of seeing 100 maids and blokes with pointed hats and skates take to the ice for "Guinevere." Why did no one take this video to Andrew Lloyd Webber and tell him, "Right, be on your way"?
7. The Sweet: "Ballroom Blitz" video (1974)
"Are you ready, Steve?"
Behind the collar of his gossamer Count Chocula cape, Steve replies, as disinterested as one of the Shangri-Las on her way to detention: "Uh-huh."
To which Andy exhales "yeah" with about as much breath as he'd need to blow his nails dry.
Mick registers with an "OK" that might as well be "ofay" for all the testosterone it uses up.
That concludes the roll call as poodle-haired Brian Connelly and the Sweet proceed into the gayest song ever about a small-scale riot. Clearly Steve was saving his hysterical energy to channel the Great Gildersleeves in his middle eight account of the Man in the Back who, if Steve's Batusi hand gestures are any indicator, was the first one in the ballroom to scratch somebody's eye out. This video was so gender-bending in its day, it's doubtful anyone could procreate directly after viewing.
6. Ziggy's Gay Last Supper (1973)
Bowie, Jagger and Lou Reed all denounced their purported bisexuality in the '80s when it no longer sold records, but nonbelievers still reference swishy photos taken of the threesome at a dinner following the farewell Ziggy Stardust gig as proof positive these men shared more than a fondness for ripping off the Velvet Underground.
Spoilsport Bowie had to ruin the occasion with his 1993 hetero revisionism: "I'm not actually kissing `Lou`. If you study it, I'm talking into his ear and he's talking into mine. I'm quite a way over." But if you'd like to preserve this as a bona fide gay moment forever, post the image online with a caption that reads, "Fiddle-dee-dee, gentlemen callers!"
5. Aerosmith/Peter Frampton: The "rumble" in that awful Sgt. Pepper movie (1978)
The script called for Sgt. Pepper's Band to kill Steven Tyler, who reportedly balked, "There's no way I'm gonna let the Bee Gees kick my ass." Instead, he got into a weak shoving match with Peter Frampton that two dames fighting over a bra at Nordstrom would laugh at. Upon seeing their leader and his scarf collection plummet earthward, the remainder of the "Future Villain Band" immediately formed the Joe Perry Project.
4. Rod Stewart: "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" video (1978)
Rod seems more interested in his own visage on the television screen than his latest nubile pickup. Even after he gets this girl home and shags her, he's probably eyeing her closet for future stage gear. Rod's poofy clothes and peroxide mane inspired Rod's then-drummer (and this song's co-writer) Carmine Appice to copy that look in quadruplicate for his 1984 hair-metal band King Kobra. When KK's lead singer Mark Free later had sexual reassignment surgery to become Marcie Free, it must've been a real George Bailey you-really-made-a-difference moment for old faker Rod.
3. Styx: Caught In the Act concert video (1984)
We won't go into the superbly badly acted Kilroy Was Here mini-movie that opens this Hiroshima or even Dennis DeYoung's skinny new wave keyboard tie. Instead we cite the truly fruity guitar choreography of Tommy Shaw and James Young and their unison running forward and backward ax-thrusts bit during "Don't Let It End (Reprise)." Said bit climaxes when they strut backward, sit down on the drum riser and cross their legs at the exact same time! Holy Mitzi Gaynor, it's like something outta 42nd Street!
2. Arcadia: "Goodbye Is Forever" video (1985)
Duran Duran videos were always too babe-saturated to be serious contenders for guy-on-guy stimulation, but this Arcadia romp could be Simon LeBon and Nick Rhodes' coming-out party. What else can you make of Simon spread-eagled on a giant spinning clock face while Nick swings on a pendulum above him, grinning maniacally? The Poe version of "over the table"? Before they're allowed to walk in the sunset together, Simon must say goodbye forever to a dozen lounging beauties whom Nick eyes with about as much sexual arousal as a Roman tourist viewing the 100th madonna-and-child painting of the day. These guys did marry supermodels, right?
1. Billy Squier: "Rock Me Tonight" video (1984)
Here's the classic, career-killing, pre-YouTube video, second by second:
00:00-00:10 — Billy awakes from sleeping in satin sheets. Alone. Which can explain, but not excuse, the rest of this video.
00:14-00:16 — Billy shows off his rock-me-tonight hard abs so the cameraman can work in a crotch shot. But for whose benefit?
00:24-00:31 — Billy's torn T-shirt raises suspicions that this is his Flashdance audition reel.
00:31-00:39 — Billy begins finger-snapping but looks more like someone trying to get a snotball off his hands.
00:40-00:46 — Snapping, spinning, walking and preening in the mirror: all bad ideas! Especially when capped with an over-the-shoulder come-hither look, which can only mean one thing …
00:50-01:01 — Crawling across the floor, rolling over on his back, thrusting his crotch skyward and making a human tent of himself! That's one happy camper!
01:13-01:23 — Billy points, skips and rips his shirt! And we haven't even gotten to the stripper pole yet. No more calls, please! We have our winner. Not even Richard Simmons trying out for Gypsy could make homophobes this uneasy. Remember that town that outlawed dancing in Footloose? Maybe they were onto firstname.lastname@example.org