This website has talked about Barry Manilow’s Mandy and how obvious a trick the now out-of-the-closet Manilow was making with the apparent heterosexual love song. We also speculated that perhaps someone in Boston is gay with their song Amanda (a man duh!)
Another closeted gay person in 1980 was Elton John. I guess teaming up with Kiki Dee in 1976 for a love song wasn’t a good enough cover for Elton. He wrote a song and professional lyricist Gary Osborne wrote the lyrics. But I bet that Elton had input to the lyrics since he would be the one to sing this song for the rest of his career. So the song became a love song for “Little Jeannie”. How shockingly heterosexual a refrain.
Spelt like this, Jeannie is obviously a woman’s name. But Elton never spells it out. He just sings the sounds which could just as easily be little Geney or a derivative of the male name, Gene.
Why was Elton (or Gary Osborne for Elton) so specific in this love song? It is more than possible that at the time Elton had a crush on one of the famous Genes from around this time. I can name 3 famous Genes from the time. Gene Siskel (the film critic), Gene Hackman (the actor) and Gene Simmons (the bassist for Kiss).
Really, though, Siskel seems a bit stodgy and Hackman was more of a character actor than a good looking leading man, so it seems that Simmons might be more likely to bring out the attraction in Elton. As well, Elton might want to select from his own kind (fellow musicians). So I am betting that Little Jeannie was written about Simmons.
To cement this idea, drag queens are one segment of the population that seems to attract gays. And not even drag queens wear as much makeup or dress more gaudily than Gene Simmons in his full regalia. And it’s not too hard to see with the over use and over extension of his tongue and the rumours perpetrated by Kiss about how many women they had bedded, it was very possible that Gene Simmons was over compensating for something. Perhaps he might even be gay.
But the most pertinent evidence is in the fact that Kiss was more like a circus act than any other artist(s) I know. And Little Jeannie contains the strange lyric “I want you to be my acrobat, I want you to be my lover”. If that doesn’t make you think of the circus then nothing will.
But Simmons is likely heterosexual and not interested in Elton’s overtures as history shows. Still, knowing Gene Simmons, I think the main reason he didn’t accept such obvious attention from Elton was because he asked, “Little? What exactly about me seems little?!” Simmons seems to be overcompensating still, which shows in his recent attempt to trademark the Texas Longhorn’s hand gesture.