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Sylvester

Along with the Village People, '70s disco artist Sylvester was one of the few artists of the era not afraid to openly acknowledge his homosexuality. Born Sylvester James during September 1944 in Los Angeles, CA, Sylvester was introduced to music at an early age by his grandmother, Julia Morgan, who was a jazz singer. While still a youngster, Sylvester began singing in gospel groups, while finding further inspiration from the likes of Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday, among others. After relocating to San Francisco in the late '60s, Sylvester began to perform in a musical production called Women of the Blues, before becoming the star attraction of a transvestite vocal group called the Cockettes in the early '70s. After leaving the band in 1973, Sylvester signed on with the Hot Band and issued such releases as Scratch My Flower and Bazaar the same year. Sylvester's dance-happy funk style eventually transformed into disco, as his flamboyant and over-the-top stage act created quite a following for the singer in the San Francisco area. He also issued some of his best-known recordings around the end of the decade -- 1977's Sylvester and 1979's in-concert Living Proof -- while racking up such popular disco hits as "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" and "Dance (Disco Heat)."

1979 saw Sylvester receive three Billboard awards and another for Best Male Disco Act from Disco International Magazine, as well as landing a bit part in Bette Midler's 1979 movie, The Rose. But by the dawn of the '80s, disco was being considered increasingly passé and the singer's career began to slow down (funny enough, Sylvester's backup singers, Martha Wash and Izora Rhodes, would go on to form the Weather Girls, and score one of 1982's big dance hits with "It's Raining Men"). Although he continued to issue albums throughout the '80s, Sylvester's career came to an abrupt and tragic end on December 16, 1988, when he died from AIDS-related complications. Despite his passing, Sylvester's music remains popular on dance floors worldwide, while "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" has been covered over the years by three separate artists: former lead singer of Bronski Beat and the Communards Jimmy Somerville (on his 1989 solo debut Read My Lips), comedian/actor/singer Sandra Bernhard (on her 1994 release Excuses for Bad Behavior, Pt. 1), and by former Ten City lead singer Byron Stingily (on his 1998 solo debut, The Purist), whose version hit number one on the U.S. dance chart the same year. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Trading Places,,,lol . . .
flarajr
DYNAMIC,SOUL F U L , F E A R L E S S , LOVE ME SOME SYLVESTER
YOU ARE MY FRIEND IS ONE OF SYLVESTER GREATEST.... . .
Get this offa my Pandora
norma93473
Love, Love, Love Disco❤️❤️❤️❤
jordynhacket t
****shakin my shoulders to the beat***
Love him
his music is great... my favorite is band of gold..
ALL I KNOW I GOT TO SEE HIM PERFORM @ STUDIOOOOOO 54...MIKE STONE PRODUTIONS.. . M I S S THOSE DAYS!!""
Yeah! Back in the day San Francisco discotec (jb's by the embarcadero and (the city )off Broadway) d j Michael Ericsson at studio west remember? M e m o r I e s
Best..ever. Period.
The best queen ever to be in disco
flossymarcus
Omg, Honey I'm the biggest Queen ever and the static I received in my life, my God!!! He was so ahead of his time! I'd run in six inch heals to see a movie about his life on the silver screen the soundtrack would sell the movie by itself! You were the first Sylvester! Rip
Pure, raw Disco. Not that fake, watered-down crap. The real deal.
shirekacanna d y
My aunt hipped me onto him with the song you make me feel (mighty real) and his songs just make you wanna get and dance
bottom line......th e r e will never be another Sylvester
papioftwo
i was just a kid back in home Mexico. Sylvester really broke the language barrier & the Boders with his music specially with this song DO YA WANNA FUNk!!! god bless music & the artist the make it....
Sylvester is ranked highest on my most inspiring list. As a kid I listened to his music and loved how unapologetic and boldly he faced the world. I wish I was half as brave as he was.
We use the burn the clubs dance floors up with this here in Baltimore... . .
If you don't know sylvester,yo u don't know dance music....... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sylvester's music bridged gospel & soulful house. His natural voice was better than his incredible falsetto. Just listen to Here is my love or Thinking right. Wonderful vocals.
One of the best disco songs of all time....
theturnerest a t e
LEGENDARY FEARLESS POWERFUL PAVED THE WAY FOR EVERYONE!!!
aztecasmom
Mr. Sylvester will always be special to me as a part of my "coming out" years. Seeing him sing on the corner of Castro and Market "back in the day" is something that I will cherish always! If you want to dance and feel the freedom that his songs engage your body to move, play one of his songs!! Thank you for YOU!!!
dbishop2620
This man was such a beautiful soul.I will never forget as long as I live my 21st birthday @ the I Beam and he sang Happy Birthday to me then we tore that dance floor up..Miss you Miss Thing and love to you always..
He was so great I am so glad I got to know him in the day. He was so kind and funny! Wonderful music sweetheart of a man. He is so missed even by us straights. He started the whole house music and made it anthem. xo
jvpadilla
This is one artist I wish I could've seen live in 70's. I was a toddler back then :-)
I very unique sound
powellarch
I moved to CA in 1978, which was a great time to be 30 and into dancing and dancing. Whenever a Sylvester song came on, everyone rushed the dance floor...the music was just that good. There was a sweetness about it, for Sylvester was one of us and loved us. I still play his music. John
I was 23 or 24 years old and working the club circuit as a DJ in OKLAHOMA CITY when SYLVESTER came to pay us a visit. It was a night I'll never forget.He was one hell of a showman. PLAY MORE OF HIM ? WE WILL!!!! "Tommy" HIGHSTEPPAS creator.
Love Slyvester. And isn't interesting that he has the tickle in his vocals that Sly Stone had as well as the urge for the funky groove that kept you up on your feet. Sly disappeared from the set too soon. REVIVAL!!!
revgenef
The cream of the crop. This music lit up my life and my dancefloors back in the day. -Mondo Bizarro
Sylvester thank you for your music angel! my love for you
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTER GIRL!!!!!!!
Bought his first 2 rock albums with The Hot Band when I was in college; danced to his disco; when "Living Proof" was released, I was hired to play piano in his band at a club in Cherry Hill, NJ. He was a GENIUS!!!!! He was - and always will be - my HERO!
He died the year I was born but my family played his records day in and day out. I love all of his music.
I was lucky enough to see him a number of times back in the day. Truly a a pioneer. I remember being taken with his courage. He is missed.
lady gaga needs to cover "you are my friend" with jill scott and angie stone...WOW!

i grew up listening to this icon with my parents. i miss his vision and focus (and the fashions)! his life is a play ripe for the stage, especially on england's west end. at least a "behind the music" nod! he paved the way for boy george (and ricky martin) lol
The "queen" of disco...
His icon status projects larger than his body of work.The career & life were both too short...and yet very influential on many levels.He is missed.
auntro9
He was the best to Disco. Unfortunatel y , he is underplayed and should be right up there with Doanna Sommer !!
awesome dance beat!
Looooooooooo o o v e this music...
loves me some sylvester! his music really does make folks want to get up and dance, still to this day! :) RIP, sylvester :)
one of the best artist with a beautiful voice
lmariemosley
sylvester is to disco what little richard is to rock -n-roll it's most flamboyant, and brazen unsung hero.sylvest e r is what happen's when gospel music meet's dance music unedited.... s a y s Emoral... great stuff go listern.
Hey Willie--Sylv e s t e r is my alltime fave! How about "Don't Stop!" -- Awesome number
chez_rc
Having seen Sylvester at many San Francisco haunts in the '70s, I can attest to the fact that he was and is the best Disco artist that club scene produced. No matter whether at North Beach's "The City" or PolkStrasse' s "The Palms," he gave performances that were riveting. BTW: He opened for Dionne Warwick at the Circle Star Theater in what must have been a shock to the many white suburbanites who came to hear "Alfie!" George Michael and Boy George don't compare to the punch Sylvester delivered
you have no idea.i truely know what heaven will be like.you had to be there.
you can be as real as you wanna be when hear and listen to sylvester
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