New York Times: Remembering King of Prussia’s Jobriath, Nation’s First Openly Gay Rocker To Be Signed To Major Record Label

Image via The New York Times.

Jobriath, a King of Prussia native who was often compared to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust character due to his space alien persona and theatrical rock music, was the nation’s first openly gay rocker to be signed to a major record label, writes David Chiu for The New York Times.

Born Bruce Wayne Campbell in 1946, Jobriath was first introduced to a wider American audiences in 1974, on the popular NBC music program “The Midnight Special” where he performed in a futuristic costume singing a baroque-sounding “I’maman.”

He chose his image with the help of his manager, Jerry Brandt, who heard his demo tape and immediately wanted to represent him.

“He could write, he could sing, he could dance,” Brandt said in 2012. “I bought it.”

Thanks to Brent, Jobriath signed a deal with Elektra Records. His self-titled debut album was a mix of glam rock, cabaret, and funk.

However, neither his first album nor its successor sold well, in part due to his openness about his sexuality. After the record label dropped him, he continued performing as a cabaret musician.

He died in 1983 of AIDS.

Read more about Jobriath in The New York Times.