Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Jobriath was the stage name of Bruce Wayne Campbell (December 14, 1946-September 3, 1983), who was a glam rock singer from 1973 to 1974.

Signed to Elektra Records for a reported $500,000, he was advanced by his manager Jerry Brandt as the great American glam singer. A huge marketing campaign ensued, with Jobriath's naked torso on buses, in music magazines, and on a 43 x 41 billboard in Times Square. Jobriath is credited as the first mass-marketed pop star, and the first to be openly gay. On both counts, it was thought to be too much. Jobriath's first, self-titled album was well-publicized, but sold very poorly. The public seemed less frightened than puzzled by the performer who sang of sexual themes, posed as an alien (not unlike David Bowie or Zolar X, or later Klaus Nomi), sang in a range of styles and voices, and name-checked everyone from Jesus to Marlene Dietrich.

Losing interest in the act, Brandt canceled their much-talked-of stage show. A second LP, Creatures of the Street, which contained songs from the same extensive sessions as the first album, was released to scant interest. Glam itself was fading, and by late 1974 had all but vanished. After Jobriath and his band embarked on a brief American concert tour the act folded. Other members of the band included Jim Gregory, Steve Love, Greg Diamond, and Hayden Wayne. Over the next decade he became known as one of the industry's most expensive blunders.

Jobriath himself sought to distance himself from his solo career, taking a new name, Cole Berlin, and adopting a new style - cabaret. He played the rest of his life in local cabarets, clubs and parties. Under contract to Brandt for 10 years, he could not record music, but worked privately on a series of musicals, including the fabled "Popstar." By the time the contract was up, Jobriath was dying of AIDS, which eventually took his life in September 1983.

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