Josie Cotton

Johnny, Are You Queer?

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"Johnny, Are You Queer?" was a mainstay of the Go-Go's live set in their early days, but executives at IRS Records resisted the idea of putting the song on their debut album. (A live version from 1980 eventually appeared on 1994's Return to the Valley of the Go-Go's.) As a result, songwriters Bobby Paine and Larson Paine tapped Bobby's then-girlfriend, a Dallas-born singer-songwriter with the stage name Josie Cotton, to record the song. Originally released on the influential power pop label Bomp!, the song's mix of Farfisa-led '60s pop music and deliberately controversial lyrics was an instant success on the L.A. new wave scene, leading to Cotton's signing to Elektra Records and a brief firestorm of national controversy from both sides of the political spectrum. In retrospect, the song sounds rather tame, and throughout, the joke is on the petulant girl, not Johnny: "he's not interested in her that way, so clearly he must not like girls" is (deliberately) a laughably arrogant premise. Josie Cotton sings this song during the climactic prom scene in the 1983 cult favorite Valley Girl.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Convertible Music 1982 Elektra / Rhino 2:46
Valley Girl (Music from the Soundtrack) 1994
Original Soundtrack
Rhino 2:46
Only in the 80's, Vol. 1 1995
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:45
Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Women 1997
Various Artists
Rhino 2:46
Convertible Music/From the Hip 2002 Collectables 2:46
A Date with John Waters 2007 New Line Records 2:44