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Sylvester (1946 - 1988)

Block number 1172


Sylvester (1946 - 1988) was a star, plain and simple. He was one of the first openly gay pop music stars, and, unlike the Village People, he was not a caricature. Sylvester was for real. His shows were wild and his personality flamboyant, but underneath was a sincere, talent-filled entertainer. Sylvester James was born in 1946 in Los Angeles. He made his stage debut with the Cockettes, an androgynous theatrical group, on New Year's Eve 1970. Later in the 1970's, Sylvester put together the Hot Band. He began recording for the Blue Thumb label and built up a loyal audience in San Francisco with his outrageous stage shows. By the end of the 1970's, Sylvester was a disco star. His hits, Dance (Disco Heat) and You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) are classics. The latter featured synthesizer arrangements from Patrick Cowley that would influence dance music for years to come.
Dance music fans have not forgotten Sylvester. He will always be deeply missed.

(Text taken from a news clipping accompanying the panel in 1988.)

AIDS Memorial Quilt http://www.aidsquilt.org/sylvester.html