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Jobriath

Signed to Elektra largely as thanks to manager Jerry Brandt for bringing Carly Simon to the label, ex-Hair actor Jobriath Boone (real name Bruce Campbell, born in 1946 in Pennsylvania) took his vocal cues from Jagger and his musical inspiration from Bowie‘s piano-based, cabaret-style inclinations to create the histrionic album, Jobriath (1973).

Despite the addition of a 55-piece orchestra, and Hendrix‘s engineer Eddie Kramer, Jobriath’s music was swallowed up by the hoopla that surrounded him.

An air of exclusivity was cultivated. Even after the singer’s eponymous debut album was released there would be no interviews, no live shows – beyond an airing on American TV’s Midnight Special – and nothing for the media to gets its teeth into beyond the fact that Jobriath existed.

If it had worked, it would have been one of the greatest publicity campaigns in rock history. But it didn’t.

Coming out as “Rock’s truest fairy” hardly endeared him to glam-baiting America, while a hyped-up Yank coming on like Brian Epstein dressed up as Bowie for the cover of this 1973 debut failed to arouse British audiences.

Creatures Of The Street (October 1975) was a glorious mash of ambition and insanity – a rock opera layered with real operatics, seen through a prism of loneliness and tears and peopled by fallen stars and forgotten heroines. There is surely a touch of autobiography here as Jobriath came to terms with the knowledge that the media generally considered him a joke, and his own record company only put up with him in the hope he’d recoup their investment.

He didn’t and he was dropped soon after. He would not record again. Like all good melodramas, Jobriath’s career quickly ended in tears but secured him cult hero status.

Jobriath died on 3 August 1983.