It’s a marvel that 1962 jazz record Love is a Drag: For Adult Listeners Only exists. The record, tagged as “sultry stylings by a most unusual vocalist,” features a male crooner singing love songs about other men.Unlike most pre-Stonewall American queer music, there was no cheek or camp to the music.
From the start, its creators set out to make a genuine album for the underground gay audience.Remarkable as it is, if it weren’t for a classic Hollywood photographer, a queer archivist, and a radio show, the story behind this incredible record may never have been preserved.Premier archivist J.D.
Doyle played the record on his “Queer Music Heritage” radio show for years before being contacted virtually out-of-the-blue by photographer Murray Garrett in 2012.
The record had no artist credits, other than the cover photo and back liner accredited to his design studio, “Garrett-Howard Inc.” The latter half of that name was revealed to be Gene Howard, Murray’s studio partner–and the record’s anonymous vocalist.Howard was apparently straight, as were Garrett and the studio musicians who collaborated on the album.