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LISTEN: Damn! How this rock ballad turned into one of the biggest LGBTQ+ anthems of the ’90s

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a recent essay about the song’s creation for the Guardian. “Radio stations in the American south didn’t want the word ‘damn,’ but to Sony’s credit they went with it.”And thank goodness they did.

The track wouldn’t be the same without Hawkins’ soul-piercing belt on the word “Damn!” at the top of each chorus. But it’s the rest of the lyrics that drew queer listeners to the track.“Damn, I wish I was your lover / I’ll rock you ’til the daylight comes / Make sure you are smilin’ and warm / I am everything, tonight I’ll be your mother / I’ll do such things to ease your pain / Free your mind and you won’t feel ashamed,” Hawkins wails on the chorus.

That level of pining basically sums up the gay experience.Hawkins says the queer interpretation wasn’t intentional, but she’s 100% open to it. “The third verse — ‘Free your mind and you won’t feel ashamed’ — is probably why people have called it a lesbian or LGBTQ+ anthem,” Hawkins wrote. “I’m glad, but it goes deeper than sexuality and gender.

It’s about human issues and, 35 years later, the meaning is still changing as society evolves.”Besides, Hawkins herself is part of the queer community.

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