Tag Archives: songs

Gay Homestays’ Top 10 Halloween songs

So, it’s that ghoulish time of the year again – 31st October, a.k.a. All Hallow’s Eve (or Halloween) so we thought we’d compile a list of our top favourite 10 Halloween songs or songs that remind us of this fun annual event and are some of the most popular you’d hear at a Halloween party. Some of the songs are perhaps quite predictable (yet still classic!) but we’ve also included a few of them which you probably wouldn’t have thought of off the top of your heads. Check them out below and let us know what you think of our list:

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10) “Better The Devil You Know” by Kylie Minogue

This is obviously not a Halloween song but we thought we’d add Kylie to this list as we’re sure the gay community will approve of this Queen of Pop being mentioned just for the song’s apt title!

9) “Voodoo People” by The Prodigy

The Prodigy were well-known for their crazy songs and videos that resembled “trippy” visions or even nightmares and “Voodoo People” is a great example of this and probably one of the lesser-known Halloween songs people could think of.

8) “Bat Out Of Hell” by Meat Loaf

“Bat Out Of Hell” may actually be a song about love but much of the lyrics, the composition of the song itself and the video are very much Halloween-themed.

7) “Highway To Hell” by AC/DC

Another song that isn’t related to Halloween – “Highway To Hell” apparently reflects AC/DC’s gruelling touring schedules – but the heavy rock genre sound and lyrics could resemble this annual festival.

6) “Monster Mash” by Bobby Boris Pickett

A firm holiday favourite that surely needs no more introduction as one of the most popular Halloween songs of all time?

5) “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

Taken from the blockbuster film of the same name, “Ghostbusters” is another of the most famous Halloween songs ever that we couldn’t not add to this list.

4) “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell/Beatfreakz

Originally released in early 1984, a couple of months after Michael Jackson’s smash hit “Thriller” (MJ also provides backing vocals on this song), “Somebody’s Watching Me” managed to cement itself as a timeless Halloween song. The Beatfreakz version – which samples the chorus – was also popular when released in 2006 and the video pays homage to Michael’s “Thriller”.

3) “The Time Warp” from “The Rocky Horror Show”

We don’t think this iconic Halloween-themed song from one of the most iconic Halloween films of all time needs more of a reason or description as to why we’ve added to our list, do you? Though, we wish we could have included more than just this one…

2) “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

Perhaps one of the most well-known Michael Jackson and Halloween songs ever, “Thriller”‘s lyrics, composition and music video were like that of a short Halloween horror film and nearly always tops every list of top Halloween songs. However, while it’s great, we’ve put it at No.2 – just to be different…

1) “I Put A Spell On You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins/Nina Simone/Bette Midler in “Hocus Pocus”

Originally written and performed by rhythm and blues musician Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in 1956, “I Put A Spell On You” has been named one of the most iconic and inspirational songs to shape rock ‘n’ roll and soul music. It has since been covered by numerous other artists, most notably jazz legend Nina Simone in 1965 and Bette Midler’s comical yet equally brilliant version from the film “Hocus Pocus” in 1993.

Do you like or agree with our list? What songs do you think should have made the cut? Let us know in the comments section below!

Top 10 singles from 10 Mariah Carey albums

Today marks the 20th anniversary since the release of one of Mariah Carey’s biggest singles (well, one of her many hit singles), “Dreamlover”, taken from her most successful album, Music Box. The song became her 7th Number One single (of her overall 18 chart-toppers) in the US and the album has sold an astounding 30 million copies worldwide. Mariah is still one of the world’s top-selling artists of all time, especially for a female, with an estimated 250 million records sold, so what better way to celebrate her achievements and this landmark date as well as to anticipate the release of her upcoming fourteenth studio album, Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse, with a rundown of 10 of her best singles from 10 of her albums – one for each? Albums not included in this are her two Christmas albums, the soundtrack to the film Glitter and her as of yet unreleased album.

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“Vision of Love” from Mariah Carey

Her début single, “Vision of Love” immediately secured Mariah her first of many hits and put her on the map as a vocal force to be reckoned with.

“Make It Happen” from Emotions

A tale about her past that tells us of her trying to scrape money together to record a demo, this is Mariah’s “rags to riches” story that is full of gospel gusto.

“Hero” from Music Box

Probably arguably her most popular song to date, “Hero” remains as one of Mariah’s signature songs and is one of the most covered songs of all time on talent shows.

“Fantasy” from Daydream

One of her first forays into full-on R&B music and hip-hop, “Fantasy” helped Mariah shift into the urban music scene with ease.

“My All” from Butterfly

Connecting with her Latin/Hispanic roots, “My All” was a musical masterpiece that had influences of Latin music, used Latin/Spanish instruments and further showed Mariah’s versatility.

“Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” from Rainbow

Mariah released two versions of this Phil Collins classic – a solo version and a duet with Irish boy band Westlife, which was more successful (particularly in the UK) than the first one, giving her her second No.1 single in Britain.

“Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” from Charmbracelet

“Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” is another cover by Mariah, this time of the song by rock band Def Leppard. This remains one of Mariah’s best covers and one of her first and rare songs that has a rock element to it.

“We Belong Together” from The Emancipation of Mimi

After a shaky few years, “We Belong Together” – a huge torch ballad of a song that was the second single from this album – saw Mariah back in top form and on top of the charts once more and almost beat her own record of the longest-running Number One on Billboard. It also earned Mimi her fifth and sixth Grammy awards.

“I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time” from E=MC²

After many years of sticking to R&B and hip-hop, “I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time” hinted at more pop and soul elements, which Mariah first started off with at the beginning of her career and has been seen by many as a standout track from this album.

“I Want to Know What Love Is” from Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel

Another cover of a rock ballad, Mariah’s version of “I Want To Know What Love Is” adds more gospel influences to the song and dispelled rumours of her voice having suffered a huge decline.

What are your favourite Mariah Carey singles? Let us know in the comments section below!

Cher’s Top 6 Hits: 6 Decades of Cher

Cher is undoubtedly the ultimate gay icon and a legend. Having sold an estimated 150 million records worldwide as a solo artist and as a duo with then-husband Sonny and having been around since the mid-1960s, she’s the definition of longevity. Now she’s back on the scene again with her 26th solo studio album and first since 2001 – entitled “Closer To The Truth” – due for release in September, and recently officially released its first single, “Woman’s World” – a female-empowering club anthem. So to mark this glorious occasion and return of this magnificent Queen of Pop, we have listed Cher’s six biggest and best hits from her record-breaking six decades in the music business – one from each decade. Check them out below:

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1960s – Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)

Her third solo single and the second from her second album “The Sonny Side of Chér”, “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” became Cher’s first major worldwide hit in 1966. It has been covered many a time by other artists, the most famous being Nancy Sinatra’s version in the same year. Nancy’s father Frank also covered it, as well as Stevie Wonder, among others.

Cher’s other hits in this decade include début single “All I Really Want To Do”, and her version of “Alfie” for the US release of the film of the same name, as well as “I Got You Babe” with Sonny.

1970s – Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves

“Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” became Cher’s first solo Number One hit in the US when it was released in 1971 and is still one of her signature hits four decades later, as well as still being one of her biggest-selling to date.

The 70s saw more hits for Cher, such as “The Way Of Love”, “Half-Breed” and Dark Lady”.

1980s – If I Could Turn Back Time

The music video for “If I Could Turn Back Time” cemented Cher as a classic gay icon, with a huge wig (which from then on she soon became well-known for wearing a variety of them) and controversial, wacky and revealing outfit (which inspired the likes of Christina Aguilera to wear a similar get-up in her “Dirrty” video) as well as a ship full of sailors. It was her first major global hit in about 15 years.

Her other big singles in the 90s include “Dead Ringer For Love” with rockstar Meat Loaf and “I Found Someone”.

1990s – Believe

The 90s was Cher’s most successful decade as an artist – she racked up a string of hits, including “Just Like Jesse James”, “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)”, “Love And Understanding”, her gospel-tinged version of Marc Cohn’s “Walking In Memphis”, “Strong Enough” and the big ballad “All Or Nothing” (proving she really had a good set of pipes on her).

However, it was of course “Believe” that stood out above the others. A huge hit all over the world, this iconic single with its trance-like beat and ingenious use of auto-tune to give Cher’s voice a robotic effect, set and broke records for her – mainly for the being oldest artist on practically any chart to reach Number One.

2000s – (This Is) A Song For The Lonely

The 2000s were a slow decade for Cher, as she toured for what seemed like years (and it was) with her Farewell Tour, while promoting her last – and astounding – 25th studio album, “Living Proof”. While not hugely successful on the main charts, “Song For The Lonely” became another dance club hit for her, as did “A Different Kind Of Love Song”. “The Music’s No Good Without You”, the lead song from the aforementioned album was also quite popular.

2010s – You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me

Perhaps it’s a given because it was her only song that charted anywhere since 2010, but “You Haven’t Seen The Last Me” became a new favourite for many fans when she recorded it for the “Burlesque” soundtrack. It showed her back in top form and once again proved that she still had a great voice that was able to belt out a big tune like this.  It went to Number One on the Dance Club Singles chart in the US, breaking and setting more records for her. “Welcome To Burlesque”, also from the film, is a popular track too.

What’s your favourite Cher song, do you like her new single and are you looking forward to her new album? Let us know!

Top 12 Donna Summer hits

On 17th May 2012, Donna Summer – a.k.a. “The Queen of Disco” – passed away after losing her battle with lung cancer at the age of 63. She was one of the most influential artists, particularly for a female, of her era – the 70s. She was inspired by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick, her contemporaries at the time included Diana Ross and Gloria Gaynor and she herself paved the way for other divas including Madonna, Whitney, Janet Jackson and Beyoncé.

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Because of her impact on modern disco and for helping to kickstart the craze of dance-pop and electronica genres that followed in the 80s and 90s, Donna not only cemented herself as one of the greatest musical legends of all time, but also became popular with the LGBT community, despite controversy surrounding things she allegedly said about gay men. She was still recording music well into her 50s and within the first two decades of her career, which were her most successful years, notched up 19 Number One songs on the Billboard Dance and Club Songs chart and sold over 100 million records worldwide. Here is our list of our top 12 favourite hits by her:

12) She Works Hard For The Money

11) Could It Be Magic

10) This Time I Know It’s For Real

9) MacArthur Park

8) Dim All The Lights

7) No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) – with Barbra Streisand

6) On The Radio

5) Bad Girls

4) Love To Love You, Baby

3) Last Dance

2) Hot Stuff

1) I Feel Love

What do you think of this list and what are your favourite Donna Summer songs? Let us know in the comment box below! And if you want to check out some of her best but rare and lesser-knows tracks, then click here.

International Women’s Day: Ten Female Empowerment Anthems

International Women’s Day is a globally-recognised day celebrated every year on 8th March; the focus of the day’s celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements. The day and the culmination of it has a long history that spans over 100 years since 1909 when the first National Women’s Day was observed in the USA, and many other nations held their own days in the following years, but was not observed internationally as a popular event until 1977 after a gathering of the United Nations. The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2013 is “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women” and theme is “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum”. Coincidentally, International Women’s Day is close to Mother’s Day in many countries, which takes place on 10th March this year.

International Women's Day

To mark International Women’s Day, especially for all our LBT (lesbian, bisexual and trans women) fans, we have compiled a list of ten of our favourite female empowerment anthems from over the years from some of the biggest divas in the music industry, many of whom have spoken out about women’s rights and supported the feminist movement and are popular gay icons in today’s music culture. Check them out below:

10) P!nk – Stupid Girls

P!nk’s “Stupid Girls” was written about her despair with some girls’ ambitions and the way modern society, the media, popular culture and celebrities have influenced many women to have no drive for a real career, to objectify or dehumanise themselves or to act or look a certain way.

9) Shania Twain – Man! I Feel Like A Woman!

“Man! I Feel Like Woman!” is about Shania expressing herself in different ways yet still managing to feel free, feminine and womanly, even when acting or dressing like a man. The song and video appears to challenge role reversals and the historical and stereotypical idea of what women should or should not wear (skirts and dresses, not shorts or trousers), yet Shania says you can still be, look and feel like a woman when doing so.

8) Cher – Woman’s World

Cher’s latest comeback song – which is not released until later this year, but was previewed late last year – is about bouncing back from a broken relationship, and is very reminiscent of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”, but overall sounds like the female version of James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World”. Ultimately the song moves on from talking about a breakup to female empowerment about being able to overcome and do anything and everything.

7) Aretha Franklin – Do Right Woman, Do Right Man

Many consider a lot of Aretha Franklin songs such as “Respect” and “Think” to be strong female empowerment anthems, but “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”, although lesser known, should not be overlooked. The song contrasts the power of temptation and rewards of fidelity and urges men to respect women as their equals and not follow the then-common belief that it is “a man’s world” by using or abusing them, as well asking men to be loyal, responsible, and sexually expressive.

6) Destiny’s Child – Independent Women (Part I)

A lot of Destiny’s Child songs can be seen as anthems for women, but none more so than “Independent Women”, which talks about relationships between men and women and how even though being in one can be seen as an opportunity for some men to oppress and control their lady, these women won’t be and believe in a 50/50 relationship. The song also talks about although they are in relationship, ladies are able to fund and fend for themselves without the need for their man’s money.

5) Madonna – Express Yourself

Madonna was quoted in the book “Madonna ‘talking’: Madonna in Her Own Words” as saying “Express Yourself” is one of female empowerment, urging women never to “go for second-best.” She also added that “the ultimate thing behind the song is that if you don’t express yourself, if you don’t say what you want, then you’re not going to get it. And in effect you are chained down by your inability to say what you feel or go after what you want.”

4) Alicia Keys – Superwoman

“Superwoman” is about a woman who is able to stand above all her problems and still continue living her life every day and in particular talks about women who have become successful and famous through their hard work, including working and/or single mothers.

3) Chaka Khan/Whitney Houston – I’m Every Woman

This iconic song, first recorded by Chaka Khan and then Whitney Houston – both of whom had a hit with their versions, is about a strong woman who takes very good care of her man, supporting him and making him a better person. While some feminists may argue that living to “serve” a man in such a way is oppressive, this song appears to be about women who are willing to and want to do so, rather than feel like they have to.

2) Christina Aguilera, ft. Lil’ Kim – Can’t Hold Us Down

This song challenges the double standards in today’s society, particularly when it comes to sex, with Christina Aguilera – known for her feminist attitude – saying that while men can do or say what they want, women are slated for doing the same thing, whether it be sleeping around, not wearing many clothes or even just speaking one’s mind. Aguilera also lets people know that she does not appreciate being called a bitch simply because she stands up for herself and is a strong woman.

1) Annie Lennox/The Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin – Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves

Probably the most obvious choice for a top female empowerment anthem, but definitely a good one, “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” sees two of the most successful and feminist women in music, Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin come together to sing this song. Women are the most extraordinary force in the world. In an interview, Annie Lennox said of the song: “There is such a strong need for feminism, particularly in developing countries where women are still relegated to third class citizen status – where they don’t have choices about their fertility, education and life choices. I’m very grateful for the things that feminism has offered me. I can vote in a democratic system. Women and men are trying to progress together, but women very often carry the brunt of the burden in life. Actually, I do like to take the opportunity to speak up for women’s rights.”