Circa 1987 Madonna was truly coming into her own as a pop artist. She would release her third studio album True Blue which debut the hit single "Papa Don't Preach" and controversy would ensue as religious groups abhor what they conceive is Madonna's attempt to entice America's youth to engage in pre-marrital sex that would lead to pregnancy, blah blah blah. On the radio Janet Jackson was getting "Control" and Stacey Q was giving us "Two of Hearts", but on the onset was this import act with a remake of the Carole King pop classic sung by Little Eva "Loco-Motion". That import was the spry and very young Kylie Minogue and that first single was a huge summer time hit for her and she had a few modest follow-ups, but America didn't seem ready for the Minogue...at least not until we couldn't get her out of our head -- years later!
I remember listening to that track -- the first one "Loco-Motion" and not being particularly impressed by it, but I would still grove to it and I will admit I wasn't the most groovy teenager -- I was very skinny and awkward and not very coordinated, so I didn't really dance all that often. Not in public anyway, but in my imagination I sold out arenas!
Kylie Minogue was one of those artists that I constantly kept my pulse on. Musically she was pushing the envelope of pop/dance and even if Americans weren't getting it, the gay underground club scene was all over it! Minogue had several modest hits "Confide In Me" and "Better the Devil You Know" that immediately endeared themselves to the gay scene, all the while her star was climbing to the stratosphere in Europe and the UK in measure that matched Madonna's own celebrity internationally! And when Kylie took her music on the road the comparisons between the two divas was always evident -- it was clear that they both were drawing inspiration from fashion and art. Madonna of course usually had more of the finances to fully realize her vision, while Minogue experimented with what she could technologically -- cut to: 2000 when she released Light Years which yielded the hit single "Spinning Around" and it's ultra-stylish music video. On the heals of that success Minogue's success would touch American soil again with the 2002 release of Fever and everybody was feeling it -- the album featured her biggest international hit "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" and it wasn't long before Kylie was once again commercially embraced by her North American audience.
But I digress: anyone can go on-line and read through Minogue's biography or check out her discography anyone can see her live concert performances on video and the spectacle that she performs -- all the while singing her heart out live!
What makes her an icon is the love that Kylie has always spread universally to her fans -- which is almost apropos that her latest release is entitled Aphrodite -- after the mythic Goddess of Love. Because truly in the pantheon of female gay icons where Madonna would without a doubt sit among them in the apparent role of Hera, Queen of the Gods for her indomitable strength, Minogue would be the inherit Aphrodite spreading joy and love where ever she goes. Kylie has also been one of the more apparent artists who has always championed equal rights and fought for those disenfranchised few that have made her such a sensation: she's never abandoned her gay fans and has always been at the front of line fighting to raise funds for those living with HIV/AIDS. She's never shirked in her responsibility to the community, and she never asked for anything in return accept our endearing admiration.
But MInogue is not without her own fierce sense of strength: she fought and won a battle with cancer which was discovered while she was on one of her tours -- it forced her to cancel the last 3 shows, which she quickly rescheduled as soon as she recovered from her treatment putting her in front of the people she loves most and doing exactly what she was born to do...entertain! And now as she prepares for world domination (yet again) Kylie appeals to those fans that have always made her a standout artist and delivers with great love and happiness some of the best music of her career. And it's that quality that has made her an icon!
After you hear Aphrodite tell me that you don't agree. This goddess of love's time has come to be embraced by everyone -- but it's true when they say that gays are the cultural taste-makers in any society. So I don't have to convince you -- Kylie knows we love her!