We’re back after a few months’ hiatus with a look at a groundbreaking video for the Brothers Osbourne song “Stay A Little Longer” which recently broke into the top 10 in the Billboard country music charts. While the lyrics are not specifically gay-themed, the video features a gay couple among the five couples going through various stages of a relationship. The video does not shy away from displaying passion and tenderness among each of the couples, treating the same-sex couple no differently from the others. For a genre that leans particularly conservative, this is perhaps the first time such raw same-sex emotion is viewed in a country mainstream video, and so naturally to boot. There’s a great article in Rolling Stones magazine about the video.
Interestingly there hasn’t been a controversy about this (yet), like there was about Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush,” which was feared by some in conservative circles to have a lesbian theme. (It doesn’t). Some radio stations were reluctant to play it, but the song eventually reached #3 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart anyway. Interestingly, “Girl Crush” spent a record-breaking 13 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart which factors in a combination of airplay, downloads and streaming.
Certainly Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow” also suffered a lack of radio airplay because of its explicit acceptance of same-sex attraction, among other concerns. The song only reached #43 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart despite winning the Song of the Year award at the 2014 Country Music Association awards. Go figure.
Possibly the first mainstream country song with a positive (or at least neutral) gay subtheme was “Whatever Gets You Through The Night,” recorded by Mel McDaniel in 1985, and also by Waylon Jennings. This song was just an obscure track on a popular album (“Stand Up”), but it was a staple for years at the old gay country-western bar Rawhide 2 in San Francisco. You may even hear it occasionally 30 years later at Sundance Saloon.