December 14, 2018

20,000 Vinyl LPs 160: Jobriath


Jobriath ~ vinyl LP front cover
cover photo by Shig Ikeda
photo of album cover by Styrous®  

Bruce Wayne Campbell was born on December 14, 1946, and was known by his stage name Jobriath. He was an American actor, the first openly gay rock musician to be signed to a major record label, and one of the first internationally famous musicians to die of AIDS on August 4, 1983.     

photographer unknown

He was one of rock 'n’ roll’s most tragic casualties. Initially hyped as the “American David Bowie” via a massive marketing campaign spearheaded by Elektra Records and infamous Svengali Jerry Brandt, Jobriath instead faced a swift and vicious backlash — no doubt at least partially because he was openly gay, which was basically unheard-of in 1974. Less than a decade after the spectacular commercial failure of his debut album, Jobriath died of AIDS in obscurity and alone at the Chelsea Hotel.          
Jobriath was born in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and raised in Houston, Texas. He played organ in his local church and it was during this time he was introduced to Eugene Ormandy as a child prodigy. While he was a high school student, he became further interested in classical music, and favored composers such as Sergei Prokofiev, and he wrote the first two movements of his first symphony by his senior year in high school, but for reasons unknown chose not to complete it. In 1964, he took an interest in folk music and formed the trio, The Last Three.     

Jobriath ~ vinyl LP front cover detail cover photo by Shig Ikeda
detail photo of album cover by Styrous® 

He was drafted into the military in the mid-1960 but went AWOL within months. Renaming himself Jobriath Salisbury, he relocated to Los Angeles. He auditioned for the musical Hair as a piano player but impressed producer and director, Tom O'Horgan, with his singing and talents on the piano and was cast into a leading role as 'Woof', a gay teenager; however, in 1969 he was fired from the production for "upstaging" the other actors.   

When he left Hair he joined the folk-rock band Pidgeon as their lead singer and guitarist; the group was signed to Decca Records. The band recorded a debut album originally titled First Flight From the Forest which was re-titled by their label as the self-titled Pigeon. and shortly after the album's release the group disbanded. At this time he was traced by the military police and arrested, spending nearly six months in a military psychiatric hospital after suffering a breakdown. During this period he began writing the songs that would lead to his next musical incarnation. 

album cover with embossed title detail
detail photo by Styrous®

In mid-December 1972 Jerry Brandt overheard a demo tape made by Jobriath. Brandt located him in California, where he was living in an unfurnished apartment and working as a prostitute. Brandt: "In walked this beautiful creature dressed in white. I said, Why don't you come out to Malibu and hang out?" Brandt signed Jobriath, now calling himself Jobriath Boone, to Elektra Records for a reported $500,000, in what was allegedly the most lucrative recording contract of its time.   

The label's president David Geffen signed Jobriath for a two-album deal. A huge marketing campaign and media blitz ensued, including full-page advertisements in Vogue, Penthouse, and Rolling Stone magazines, full-length posters on over 250 New York City buses and a huge 41' by 43' billboard in Times Square. All featured the forthcoming debut album sleeve design by noted photographer Shig Ikeda, which featured a nude Jobriath, made to resemble an ancient Roman statue.      

cover photo by Shig Ikeda 
photo of album cover by Styrous®

Plans were announced for a lavish three night live debut at the Paris Opera in France that December, at a cost of $200,000 and a subsequent tour of European opera houses. Jobriath informed the press that the show would feature him dressed as "King Kong being projected upwards on a mini Empire State Building. This will turn into a giant spurting penis and I will have transformed into Marlene Dietrich." Elektra, concerned about spiraling production costs, postponed the Paris Opera shows until February, later canceling them due to expense.     
The debut album Jobriath was released, garnering mostly positive reviews. Rolling Stone stated that Jobriath had "talent to burn", Cashbox called it "truly one of the most interesting albums of the year" and Record World hailed it as "brilliantly incisive", referring to Jobriath as "a true Renaissance man who will gain a tremendous following". Esquire disagreed, calling it "the hype of the year".       

photo by Styrous®

The album was co-produced by Eddie Kramer and Jobriath, featuring string arrangements by Jobriath, recorded at Olympic Studios with the London Symphony Orchestra. Kramer described Jobriath in Mojo as "a romantic soul, really. He wanted orchestrations like old film music, though he knew nothing about scoring. So he bought a book on orchestration and within a week he'd come up with scores of a haunting quality". Peter Frampton is also credited on the album. 
Brandt continued making extravagant statements such as "Elvis, the Beatles, and Jobriath" and declaring that both he and Jobriath had booked flights on the first Pan American passenger flight to the moon. Meanwhile, Jobriath declared himself "rock's truest fairy", a comment that did little to increase his popularity at the time but has since confirmed his status as the first openly gay rock singer to be signed to a major record label.    


Jobriath ~ vinyl LP gatefold interior detail
detail photo by Styrous® 

The debut public performance by Jobriath was made on television, when Brandt secured him an appearance on the popular show The Midnight Special. The costumes were designed by Jobriath and the choreography was by Joyce Trisler, of the Joffrey Ballet. Two songs were performed: I'maman and Rock of Ages, the latter substituting for Take Me I'm Yours which was pulled after the producer objected to its overtly sado-masochistic theme. The long-awaited live performance finally came in July 1974 with two sold-out shows at the New York The Bottom Line club. Sales for the album however, were poor and it failed to secure a chart placing.      

Jobriath ~ vinyl LP gatefold interior detail
detail photo by Styrous®  

In 1974 Jobriath and his backing-band (called 'The Creatures') did several residencies around the US in Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles & Memphis. Despite the tour having several well-attended shows and/or several sold-out nights, both Brandt and Elektra stopped financing the tour midway through. Despite this, Jobriath and the band completed the tour, continuing to bill Elektra for expenses. A final show, at the University of Alabama, ended in five encores and the fire department being summoned when the excited audience set off the alarm.   
In January 1975 he announced his retirement from the music industry and moved into a pyramid topped rooftop apartment at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City. He attempted to resume his acting career, and was invited to audition for the role of Al Pacino's lover in the film Dog Day Afternoon. According to keyboard player Hayden Wayne, Jobriath had the script for Dog Day backstage at a concert at Nassau Coliseum, and claimed he didn't want to do the film due to the character's wearing of a dress. Calling himself "Cole Berlin" (a play on both Cole Porter and Irving Berlin), he worked as a cabaret singer at a restaurant called The Covent Gardens, as well as clubs and cabarets, augmenting his income with occasional prostitution. 

Jobriath ~ vinyl LP gatefold interior detail
detail photo by Styrous®  

When his 10-year contract with Brandt was finally up, Jobriath was sick with AIDS. He began to feel ill in late 1981 but still managed to contribute to the Chelsea Hotel 100th birthday celebration in November 1982. He died on August 4, 1983, one week after the end of his original 10-year contract with Jerry Brandt expired. Jobriath was found at his piano, three days after he died.      
In November 2004, long-time fan Morrissey oversaw Jobriath's first CD re-issue, a compilation called Lonely Planet Boy. It was produced by Eddie Kramer. Morrissey had previously attempted to secure Jobriath as a support act for the tour in support of his Your Arsenal album, having been unaware that the singer had died some years previously.     

Jobriath ~ vinyl LP gatefold interior detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Both Jobriath's original studio albums were officially reissued on CD in Japan in late 2007, remastered and issued in mini-vinyl replica sleeves. They were released in the U.S. in standard jewel-box packaging in 2008 by Collectors' Choice Music.  

The group Balcony released a semi-tribute track entitled Jobriath as a free MP3 anonymously on the internet in 2000 that was later included on their second album Before Needs. He is referenced using his legal name by the indie-folk band Okkervil River on the final song of their 2008 album The Stand Ins, entitled "Bruce Wayne Campbell Interviewed on the Roof of the Chelsea Hotel, 1979".     

Jobriath ~ vinyl LP gatefold interior detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Filmmaker Kieran Turner (24 Nights) has created a feature documentary about the late singer called Jobriath A.D. (link below).  

Jobriath A.D poster 

Def Leppard released a cover of Heartbeat on some versions of their 2006 album Yeah!. Morning Starship was sampled by hip-hop artist Ill Bill on the title track to his 2007 mixtape album Black Metal. Ann Magnuson is working on an EP featuring four Jobriath songs and a spoken-word narrative.   

On October 29, 2013, Eschatone Records released three 1971 Jobriath tracks digitally and on 10" vinyl as the EP Amazing Dope Tales.      
On May 6, 2014, Eschatone Records released the full-length As the River Flows album of never-before released Jobriath recordings from 1971–72 on CD, limited edition vinyl and in digital format.  

detail photo by Styrous®

Jobriath ~ vinyl LP, side 1
photo by Styrous®

Jobriath ~ vinyl LP label, side 1
photo by Styrous®

Jobriath ~ vinyl LP, side 2
photo by Styrous®

Jobriath ~ vinyl LP label, side 2
photo by Styrous®


Side 1:

A1 - Take Me I'm Yours     4:14
A2 - Be Still     3:40
A3 - World Without End     3:43
A4 - Space Clown     2:57
A5 - Earthling     3:53
A6 - Movie Queen     1:50

Side 2:

B1 - I'maman     3:35
B2 - Inside     3:52
B3 - Morning Star Ship     3:30
B4 - Rock Of Ages     2:21
B5 - Blown Away     4:59

Companies, etc.

    Phonographic Copyright (p) – Elektra Records
    Lacquer Cut At – Sterling Sound


    Lacquer Cut By – RL*
    Mixed By, Producer – Edwin H. Kramer*
    Musician – Andy Muson, Billy Schwartz, Carl Hall, Heather MacRae, John Syomis, Ken Bichel, Peter Frampton, Rhetta Hughes, Steve Love, Tasha Thomas, Zenobia (5)
    Written-By, Producer – Jobriath


Housed in a gatefold cover with embossed title on the front.

1st catalog number as printed on center labels.
2nd catalog number as printed on cover spine.

Runout info: STERLING is machine-stamped, everything else is hand written.
Barcode and Other Identifiers

    Matrix / Runout (Runout side A): EKS-75070-A-1 STERLING RL B
    Matrix / Runout (Runout side B): EKS-75070-B-3 STERLING RL
    Other (On spine of the cover): 0598

Jobriath ‎– Jobriath
Label: Elektra ‎– EKS-75070, Elektra ‎– 75070
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1973
Genre: Rock
Style: Glam
Viewfinder links:
Marlene Dietrich        
Gay Gaze 'n Daze           
Sergei Rachmaninoff             
Net links:
NY Times ~ A Life Story of Glitter and Tragedy review      
The Guardian ~ Jobriath: the man who fell to earth
                       ~ Jobriath A.D. review       
Hollywood Reporter ~ "American Bowie" gets his due   
Film Journal ~ Jobriath A.D. review       
YouTube links:
Jobriath ~            
       Rock of Ages            
       Take Me I'm Yours  
       Morning Star Ship 
       Gone Tomorrow      
       Space Clown        
       World Without End  
       Be Still
       Jobriath A.D. - Glam Rock's Lost God      
photograph: Factory 25
Styrous® ~ Friday, December 14, 2018             

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