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Friday, January 22, 2010

Ceremony - Hang Out Your Poetry (1993)

Thanks to wonderful Dixiepokerace we have another of my cassettes turned MP3 and another perfect entry for the Isle! Thanks so very much again!! Ceremony was a six piece group fronted by 21 year old Chastity Bono, daughter of Sonny & Cher, and her roommate from New York University Heidi Shink, who was then known as Chance. The band gained notoriety not so much because of Chastity's famous parents and curiosity about the talent of their offspring, but because it was the vessel through which she eventually became permanently outed. The group was apparently supposed to be a project involving practicing gay-but-not-out Chastity and her then girlfriend Rachel, partly as an unsuccessful attempt to revive their flagging relationship (though Rachel doesn't appear as part of the line-up in this group, unless that's another moniker for Heidi, who is also a lesbian - perhaps I'll have to read Chas' autobiography to find out!). Geffen signed them in 1990, likely because of the success of Wilson Phillips, a somewhat similar sounding group that also featured the spawn of famed sixties singers. Thanks to the need for publicity to promote the group, Chastity had to venture into the public eye, which she had managed to avoid for the most part in her teen years. As a result, gossip mongers delved deep into her personal life, with Star magazine outing her soon after they were signed, though she then denied it. The album was recorded amidst and came out after all the hubbub, which no doubt contributed to the its failure, as at that time the world was not ready for gay celebs (which seems so archaic in this day and age). The first single "Could've Been Love", while getting some radio and video play, failed to become a hit, and the follow-up "Ready For Love" tanked. The album was produced by Cher's good friend and 'Hudson Brother' Mark Hudson. He helped give them a 1960's folk-rock sound, very Beatles' influenced, but with an updated twist. The best comparison would be the Bangles, with the jangly guitars and harmonies (though here those harmonies are a little more off-key). Chastity's voice is reminiscent of Cher's, if a few octaves higher. Overall the album is a pleasant listen, but given it's failure and Chastity's on-going turmoil, it's no surprise Geffen dropped them and they never recorded together again. Of course, Chastity's life has been well-documented since. She became a huge gay rights activist and worked with GLAAD, and had well-known differences with both of her parents regarding her sexuality. She also starred as a team captain in Celebrity Fit Club 3. But perhaps her biggest claim to fame in recent years is that she's undergoing a gender transition and now considers herself a man, going by the name of Chaz.

Video for Could've Been Love

Download Hang Out Your Poetry

Goodbye Sunshine
Steal Your Heart
Day By Day
Ready For Love
Ready For Love Refrain
Hang Out Your Poetry
Could've Been Love
Turn It Over
2 Of 1
First Day Of My Life
Living In A Paradise
Livin' It Up


  1. Replies
    1. I seem to have lost the files. :( I'll reup if and when I find them...

  2. Please reload Ceremony. I have a CD Single of Could've Been Love, but I would like to hear the rest of the Album.