What makes the ultimate LGBTQ+ Pride anthem? A euphoric (usually female) vocal? The call to arms of emboldened identity or perhaps a powerful piece of evocative storytelling? Maybe just perfect timing – simply the right song at the right moment? These 40 best LGBTQ+ Pride songs all exemplify much of that list, but also deliver an extra special something that elevates their status from a worthy canon. Music can effect change, and this countdown is the narrative of a struggle that’s decades in the making, with so much achieved but still so much further to go…
Listen to 100 great Pride anthems here, and check out our 40 best LGBTQ+ Pride songs, below
40: Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Relax (1983)
One infamous statement from BBC Radio 1 DJ Mike Read, and a phenomenon was unleashed. Forever enshrined as one of the best LGBTQ+ Pride songs, Relax’s already-solid sprint up the UK singles chart was powered into overdrive by the BBC’s subsequent ban on the song, and a year-long assault on the nation’s sensibilities was to follow (the next two Frankie Goes To Hollywood singles, Two Tribes and The Power Of Love, would also peak at No.1). The Liverpool five-piece allowed the Midas touch of producer Trevor Horn to transform their urgent demo into a Hi-NRG supernova, offering just enough of a sniff of a thrilling gay subculture to potentially corrupt the kids. The tabloids and the record-buying public couldn’t lap it up fast enough!