Monday, February 25, 2008

The "Kissed a Girl" girl

(Originally posted by Jill on Nov. 29, 2007)

Kissed a Girl -- yep, that was me.

Ah, the curse of the "novelty" song. It's my cross to bear, but it is also the thing that got me noticed. Plus I made a couple of bucks …well, not as much as you would think. Anyway, it was one of those songs that I wrote on a lark with my friend Robin Eaton. I never thought that it would actually be on a CD, nor thought in my wildest dreams that it would be an MTV hit. Or that I would be branded forever as "the Kissed a Girl girl."

Instead of being thought of as the serious artful singer-songwriter that I aspired to be, I was asked in Howard Stern-like interviews, "did you really kiss her?" "So, you don't like the penis?" My favorite, that I got all the time, was, "Hey Jill, you and me have something in common... we both kissed a girl! Ha ha ha..." What an idiot.

I started to resent the song. When asked to play it, I would, but with a bit of an eye roll. Oh, I could go on forever, but in the last couple of years I have started to embrace my one hit wonder hit (actually I had two hits, according to VH1). First of all, what is the shame of having "only one" hit? How many of you would love to even play the cowbell on one jingle? ...Well, I would play cowbell on anything anyone asked me.

And, in the last few years, I have started to embrace and have pride in my Kissed a Girl-ness. I mean, what other song includes the words "hairy behemoth"? Plus, I think it was the first song on the charts to deal with queer stuff -- not counting YMCA. It was way before the Ellen kiss on TV and The L Word. As innocent now as it seems (a kiss), it was scandalous in 1996. I was banned on many stations, especially in the Bible Belt. In fact one station in Nashville had a disclaimer before it played, so parents, I guess, could put their hands over their kids' ears.

I am so happy when someone comes up to me and says that the song made a difference, as they were young, gay, and feeling depressed in some small town in Alabama.

At one show, a big boned gal came up to me and said that when she was in the Marines, they would hum a couple of bars of the song to see who was gay or not. Don't ask, don't tell, but hum. I guess I really was "supporting our troops."

So, I am Jill, and I am the Kissed a Girl girl.

Side note: I always think how funny it is that the Village People's YMCA has become such a universal anthem -- and with choreography. Doesn't everyone know it's about anonymous queer sex at a gym in Chelsea?

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