My Pride Anthems: Paul O'Grady

The TV legend has shared his personal Pride playlist, which includes a disco staple and an unlikely Disney classic.
HuffPost UK

The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, and that includes how we’re all celebrating Pride in 2020.

With huge public gatherings out of the question, we’re asking a range of LGBTQ celebrities and allies for their personal Pride anthems, to help us all get into the Pride spirit from lockdown.

Kicking off HuffPost’s My Pride Anthems series is TV legend Paul O’Grady, who first shot to fame in the 1990s as his drag alter-ego Lily Savage, before becoming a household name in his own right after landing his very own talk show.


Talking us through his picks, Paul reminds us why Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive means so much to the queer community, and reveals why an unlikely Disney classic will always have a special place in his heart...

Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive

“I mean you can’t do it without Gloria, can you? It’s just impossible. I love Gloria Gaynor. And at that time, when AIDS really hit hard, it was a bit of an anthem, I Will Survive. The lyrics meant more to people than they would have [otherwise].

“She’s on about dumping her fella, or something, isn’t she? But she’ll get over it. We weren’t [getting over it]. We were going through a totally different thing.”

The KLF – Justified And Ancient

“I’m going back here, now – you’re not going to get anything from me that came out last week.

“I’d been on tour in Australia for three months, and this was a really popular song at the time. I used to know the lyrics, ‘and they drive an ice cream van’ and ‘Mu Mu Land’ – what the hell was that? Who wrote that, what were they on?

“But I absolutely loved the song, and it was played all over Australia, and by the time we came back to England, we were doing Pride… I always associate it with Australia and that specific Pride. Justified And Ancient. Which I am, now.”

The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men

“I love that one, but I used to think it was silly. I used to say ‘well what happens if a 20-stone pensioner lands on you?’. Men come in all shapes and sizes, you know?. But this song is a good one.”

Marc Almond and Gene Pitney – Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart

“We’re going back now, I think, to the late 80s. This song was really popular, fabulous! I just liked it, and it was sort of going at the same time as [I was doing] Pride.

“I mean, when I did Pride, I was usually being dragged through the streets of London like a witch about to be burnt, and then we’d get to the park and I’d have a tent – Lily Savage’s Tea Tent. And we used to do bingo, believe it or not.

“We did it sort of old-fashioned. I had an overall that someone had given me, and I’d wear it as Lily, like I’d just come straight from work, headscarf on with the rollers in the wig. And yeah, we used to play bingo.

“They had tea urns in the marquee, to make it more authentic… but of course, then one of them fell on somebody, and there was a bit of a hoo-hah over that. But it was really great fun, sitting there in the middle of a field, playing a game of bingo.”

The Mouseketeers – The Mickey Mouse Club March

“And, this is one we used to play in the tea tent, at the start, so they knew the bingo was about to start. Seriously, you’d have a tent with god knows how many people in it singing along with this, with gusto.

“And it’d be a meat raffle, playing for a leg of lamb or something like that. But people took it very seriously. Can’t mess about with the bingo. It was cut-throat.”

We’ll be adding each celebrity’s song choices to our bumper My Pride Anthems playlist each day. Take a listen below:


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