I Was Born This Way
"I Was Born This Way" is a disco song by Valentino, released in 1975, then by Carl Bean in 1977 (both artists for Motown). It was written by Chris Spierer and Bunny Jones. The record was first released on the Motown-distributed Gaiee Records and performed by Valentino (real name Charles Harris). Frankie Crocker of WBLS Radio in New York first aired the song and it was an instant hit. The writers, Spierer and Jones, wanted to write a Gay anthem and make the plight on Gay issues known and bring it to the forefront.
The song's lyrics are about a man who proclaims that he's a homosexual and that he was "born this way". It was one of the first gay disco songs written specifically for the Gay community, before the Village People wave.
It was also sampled in 1999 by Stuart Price, using the alias Pour Homme, as "Born this Way". It was a tremendous hit in Europe.
In 2008, Magnus Carlsson, Sweden's popular gay male vocalist re-recorded 3 versions of "I Was Born This Way" in addition to Paul Oskar of Norway. Magnus Carlsson can be seen performing "I Was Born This Way" on YouTube as well as Marty Thomas of the Broadway hit show "Wicked"
Success of each version
Valentino's version was a success in UK (where it was a #1 disco hit) and in the USA.
In 1978, the Carl Bean version on Motown Records became a club hit on the Billboard Club Play Singles at #15. The song was remixed by Shep Pettibone and Bruce Forest in 1986, and along with a mix by Timmy Regisford was re-released on Next Plateau records. The "Better Days" mix became a huge club anthem during the 80s. The song was remixed again in 1995 on Next Plateau Records, then was on the Pet Shop Boys' 20th Anniversary album "Back to Mine" in 2005. West End Records released a CD mixed by DJ Gomi which included 6 versions of the song as well as a two-part 12" Vinyl Edition.
Two versions of "I Was Born This Way" (Bean's, and a newer recording by Jimmy Somerville) were featured in the 2006 independent film "Another Gay Movie". Bean went on to entitle his autobiography I Was Born This Way.
For the past 38 years since it was written, it has become an anthem for the gay community and has been on countless compilation albums as well as being (sampled) on other recordings many times.
- "Valentino...he was born that way...so was Carl Bean". Queer Music Heritage. June 2002.