Rubettes – Under One Roof

In 1974 an English group called the Rubettes had a big power pop hit with “Sugar Baby Love.” It immediately hit #1 on European charts, selling millions. By the next three years they had ten on the UK charts (though only their first one reached America, only making it to #37). I loved the band, including their songs “Tonight,” “Juke Box Jive,” and especially “I Can Do It.” But it was another song that had a deeper meaning and was a radical change from their up-tempo pop. It was called “Under One Roof,” and was written by group members Alan Williams and John Richardson. It only charted #40 in the UK, in September of 1976, due probably to its very radical subject matter, homophobia, and that it was such a departure from what the band’s fans were used to hearing. It was about a runaway teenager, taken in by a gay man, and the teen was later killed by his father, for being gay. This was no “Sugar Baby Love.” 

Already on the UK charts at that same time was Rod Stewart, with a song about a gay bashing ending in murder, “The Killing of Georgie, Parts I & II.” That song reached #2 in the UK, and I give it credit for being released before the Rubette’s song, as it was on the huge world hit album “A Night on the Town,” which came out in early Summer. In the U.S. as songs were gradually released from that album “Georgie” didn’t really reach mainstream radio here until a year later, when it reached #30. Both of these songs can be credited as very early ones tackling the subject of homophobia.

I had several versions of the song on YouTube to choose from but liked the live one for this purpose, and also I thought the comments interesting. Note especially the second one where someone mentions buying a copy of the record for a friend, as he was too scared to do so.

And for those wanting now to hear the Rod Stewart song, “The Killing of Georgie”….