Twenty-five years after his untimely death at the age of 41, the iconic legacy of Sylvester, the “Queen of Disco,” will be resurrected with “Mighty Real: Greatest Dance Hits,” due out June 25 (international release dates vary) on Fantasy Records.
This collection will celebrate the life and music of the artist who once danced his way into the hearts and minds of the disco and LGBT communities.
A quarter of a century after his passing, Sylvester will make a fabulous debut back into a prolific time in the LGBT community just the way he would have liked it – through dance music. This 11-track release, available on CD and on double pink vinyl, will feature a number of original album tracks and 12” mixes that are rare or no longer available on CD, as well as the brand new remix of the iconic “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” by Grammy-nominated remixer and DJ, Ralphi Rosario (Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Madonna).
To listen to samples of the music, click HERE.
As a dear friend of Harvey Milk and an icon to the LGBT community, Sylvester has long held a special place in music and socio-political history. Sylvester was not only one of the first disco stars to stand openly gay, but bravely crossed beyond the boundaries of race, gender and sexuality to become a proud figure of the gay liberation movement.
“Sylvester James was an unlikely star: an androgynous, cross-dressing, openly gay, African-American, falsetto-singing, unapologetically flaming man-diva influenced primarily by church women, black blues singers, drag queens, hippies and homos,” liner notes writer Joshua Gamson said. “Like very few before him, and quite a few after, Sylvester rode his marginality right into the mainstream.”
A Los Angeles local, Sylvester found his home in the vibrant subcultural scenes of San Francisco in the late 1960s. As the community around him became devastated with AIDS, Sylvester’s music took on a sort of weary determination, becoming a call to live, to keep dancing and to keep loving.
Sylvester died on Dec. 16, 1988 and bequeathed royalties from the sale of his music to benefit two charitable organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area: the AIDS Emergency Fund and Project Open Hand.
“Decades later, even as strides have been made in the fight against the disease that has taken so many lives, Sylvester’s music lives on, a call to be fabulous against the odds,” Gamson said.
“Mighty Real: Greatest Dance Hits” was produced by Tom Cartwright and Chris Clough on Fantasy Records with liner notes written by Gamson, author of “The Fabulous Sylvester: The Legend, The Music, The Seventies in San Francisco.”
The collection will be available across two formats:
• The Single CD edition features 10 previously issued Sylvester tracks plus the brand new dub remix of “Mighty Real” by Ralphi Rosario.
• The Double Pink Vinyl edition features all 11 tracks on two 12” pink vinyl LPs.
• “Mighty Real: Greatest Dance Hits” will also be available digitally.
Sylvester’s “Mighty Real: Greatest Dance Hits” tracklist
1. “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” [Ralphi Rosario Dub Remix]
2. “Dance (Disco Heat)”
4. “Can’t Stop Dancing”
6. “Over And Over”
7. “I Need Somebody To Love Tonight”
8. “Sell My Soul”
9. “I Need You”
10. “Body Strong”
11. “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”
A portion of the proceeds from this compilation will go to:
• The AIDS Emergency Fund (AEF), founded in 1982, was one of the nation’s first responders to the AIDS epidemic, helping AIDS patients live with dignity in their final days. Thirty years Later, AEF is still providing annual housing and utility payment assistance to more than 2,000 people battling HIV/AIDS. Sylvester’s bequest remains one of the few examples of a major artist donating their royalties to charity in perpetuity. To this day, Sylvester’s thoughtful gesture provides tens of thousands of dollars each year to help low-income people with HIV/AIDS who have nowhere else to turn for help. For more information, visit HERE.
• Project Open Hand is a nonprofit organization that provides meals with love to seniors and the critically ill. Every day, it prepares 2,500 nutritious meals and provides 400 bags of healthy groceries to help sustain our clients as they battle serious illnesses, isolation, or the health challenges of old age. The organization serves San Francisco and Alameda Counties, engaging more than 125 volunteers every day to nourish our community. For more information, visit HERE.
Sylvester on the web: