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Jobriath was born Bruce Wayne Campbell and was signed with Elektra Records which, according to legend, had high hopes of turning him into ‘the great American singer.’ His debut album Jobriath (released in 1973) was hyped heavily, including the purchase of an immense billboard in New York’s Times Square to advertise it. While the album was well-received by some critics who cited a distinct and/or influence, despite the album intentionally being produced to sound like David Bowie, the American public was reluctant to give such a hyped-up recording artist even half a chance. …especially as he was the first openly gay mainstream rock musician. (While queer musicians of any variety definitely existed before 1973, such as Noel Coward, it is contextually important to note that Jobriath was always very public about being gay, whereas Coward et al. proceeded as though no one knew about them besides their lovers. Even Freddie Mercury posed as merely bi-curious for most of his career.)

Jobriath’s second album Creatures Of The Street was released in 1974, and consisted of the remaining session recordings that weren’t used for the first album. Jobriath’s career was regarded as Elektra’s (and the entire recording industry’s) biggest faux pas and most expensive advertising failure. He was quickly dropped by Elektra. Although he briefly toured with his band after that, even he soon distanced himself from the Jobriath image and performed a act under the name Cole Berlin.


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