In celebration of Pride this year, we’ve put together a collective playlist highlighting songs and artists from the LGBTQ+ community, as well as some allies. Chosen by Yamaha Guitars employees from different roles and locations around the world, these tracks each hold a special meaning for us and we’ve included a few below.
Harry Styles “Treat People with Kindness“
“I chose this song because of two main things: the cheery, upbeat musical nature of the song and the content of the lyrics. The song includes a gospel choir that sings the phrase “treat people with kindness!”, and “find a place to feel good!”. This gives a preaching feel to the song, as he is spreading the ideas of kindness and acceptance to his audience through the song. This song brings together the positive and negative emotions felt throughout the album and shows acceptance towards the highs and lows of life. It talks about feeling good in your own skin and thinking about how you treat others. I think these are all things that are relevant to the LGBTQ+ community, as we experience the highs and lows brought on by life and discovering what it feels like to “belong” and feel comfortable in our own skin. Coming from this community myself, this song addresses being kind to others, especially those who are different from you and being kind to yourself. I saw this song live, and the experience was surreal. People had their arms around each other jumping up and down, those on the floor seats were in a line dancing around with people they just met, it was a joyful and emotional experience. During the whole song, Harry styles himself had a pride flag on the stage and was dancing around while waving it behind him. The performance made everyone feel comfortable and safe to be themselves and enjoy the moment, and I think this is important for the LGBTQ+ community.” – Caitlin Murphy.
Tracy Chapman “Fast Car“
“This song is forever part of the soundtrack for my summer of 1988. I was working at a summer camp on Lake Michigan in the northern part of Michigan. And the song Fast Car is deceiving. It appears as a standard “we gotta get out of this place,” and is much deeper. The song is tragic as Chapman tells the story of a woman growing up in dysfunction. The song’s heroine manages to recreate that dysfunction for her and her children all over again with the very person whom she wanted to leave with in their fast car. For me, this song was the gateway drug to discovering one of the greatest singer-songwriters in American history. It was Tracy Chapman’s first hit, but she cranked out many great albums afterward too.” – TJ Martin, Sr. Dir. Of Sales, N.A. Tampa, FL
Queen “Don’t Stop Me Now”
“My folks had quite a few records, but only two were rock music. Jazz was one of them, and the songs on this album were some of the first rock songs I got to know. I always loved this one – so much energy and passion. I could listen to it a hundred times, and actually must have (and probably many more), and not get tired of it.” – Simon Jones – VP of Marketing. YGG, Calabasas
George Michael “Praying for Time“
“George Michael (as part of Wham!) is one of the first artists I remember being consciously aware of as a child of very young age, when me and my best friend used to steal her big sister’s cassettes to listen to on a tape recorder under a den made of blankets. The lyrics to this song just resonate, always. A timeless reminder of how much better the world could be if only we could learn to treat people with kindness rather than suspicion.” – Michelle Johnson, Product Data Specialist, UK
Erasure “When I Needed You“
“My mom came out in 1977 when I was 3 years old. My childhood was very different from most of my friends. I will be forever grateful for that. I was going to Gay Pride Parades and my mom was part of a lesbian organization that provided a safe place for socializing, learning, and creating change. Erasure was the first band I knew of where one of the members, Andy Bell, was openly gay. Their songs including When I Needed You, provided me with comfort and connection.” – Angela Heine, Web Production Manager, Agoura Hills, CA
Frankie Goes to Hollywood “Two Tribes“
“They are the reason I wanted to be a musician. Seeing ‘Two Tribes’ on ‘Top of the pops’ when I was a kid had a massive impact on me. I still think it’s an amazing sounding track!” – Paul Hindmarsh, Content Manager. Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
Against Me! “True Trans Soul Rebel.“
“I’ve been a huge Against Me! fan since my late teens. In 2012, Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender in an interview with Rolling Stone. I remember reading the article in my university library and seeing the image of the confident, anarchist singer and guitarist I knew looking shy and uncomfortable. It was such a brave and amazing thing to do, but also clearly just the start of a journey.
Two years later Against Me! released ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’, a brilliant, raw, powerful, and passionate album giving an insight into gender dysphoria and transitioning which, as a cis woman, I’d never heard much about. It really made me think about what Laura and other trans people deal with and it inspired me to start to learn more about issues the trans community face. The next time I saw Against Me! play live, the song “True Trans Soul Rebel” was such a moving experience. There was a noticeable change in the crowd, people who looked up to Laura, screaming the words along with her, it felt like being in a really supportive community, and demonstrated the impact people can have on others by sharing their stories.”
– Erin MacGregor, Global Social Media Coordinator, Manchester, UK.