Heroes of the Revolution: Steven Grossman

Revolutions are made by communities of dedicated men and women who sacrifice personal gain for a greater good.

Before the Village People and Sylvester and K.D. Lang there was Steven Grossman.

Steven Grossman was the first openly gay singer songwriter signed to a major record label.

He released the album “Caravan Tonight” through Mercury Records in 1974.

I was 20 and living in New London, Connecticut when I first heard it.

I read a review of Caravan Tonight in Fag Rag and went to the largest record store on Bank Street and demanded the owner order it.

He ordered about thirty copies and promptly hid them.

I went to that store twice a week for a year to move Caravan Tonight from the back of the rack to the front.

Grossman wrote about sexual alienation and sexuality divorced from love.

He wrote about being Gay in a world of people who thought it a mental illness, a sin, a crime, and a moral failure.

And yet there is joy and passion in this album.

“Caravan Tonight’ is the first Gay love song ever released by a major record label.

“And if the freedom your heart embraces Is nothing but a vision in the sand Oh I’ll be waiting here I’ll be your oasis I’ll be your promised Your promised land”

Rolling Stone wrote in a review of Caravan Tonight: His (Grossman’s) vision is every bit as compelling as those of such brilliant mid-Atlantic provincials as Elliott Murphy and Bruce Springsteen. . . . Most important is the purity of Grossman’s sensibility. His communication of intense compassion, honesty and tenderness so eclipses the imperfections inevitable in the work of such a young artist (he’s only 22) that the greatest emotional impact of his Caravan is staggering, its appeal to the finest human values universal.” — Stephen Holden, RS 161 (May 23, 1974)

Rolling Stone also worried that the album would not get the play it deserved by radio stations because of the subject.

It is almost impossible to find ‘Caravan Tonight’ today..

Culture Catch offers this bit of biography: “Steven Grossman was born in 1952 in Brooklyn. He initially toyed with being an actor, planning to study at the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse in New York while working at Coney Island during the summer to raise funds. He was a “stab and bagger,” a garbage collector on the beach.

Caravan Tonight was Steven Grossman’s only major release.

I ran into this personal account about Steven on the Steven Grossman Tribute page and decided to post an excerpt because it captures the political sensibility that shaped the lives of many of the young and politically active gay men of the early 1970’s.

“I knew Steven in Brooklyn roundabout 1971, having been a Brooklynite  myself. I had just come out over the previous year or so and was now living in a gay collective in the Boerum Hill. The house rule was that we put everything we owned and all the income we came upon into the collective treasury. My friends were mostly veterans of GLF. We lived in a 3 story brownstone with a storefront. So we had a teahouse we opened two nights a week. “ The Estate Project

Non-alcoholic tea-house dances were alternatives to the bars and bath houses that Gay Liberation saw as expressions of homophobia.

Steven Grossman was born in 1952.

He died in 1991 at the age of 39 of AIDS related complications.

He is now part of U.S. History and the history of the ongoing movement for human rights.


The Cover of Caravan Tonight
The Cover of Caravan Tonight

Caravan Tonight – Mercury SRM-1-702 (1974)

All songs by Steven Grossman:
Caravan Tonight
Five O’clock Song
Christopher’s Blues
Song To Bonnie
Song To That M&M Man
You Don’t Have To Be Ashamed
Many Kinds Of Love
Can’t…Papa Blues
Circle Nine Times
Dry Dock Dreaming


Produced by Bobby Flax and Lanny Lambert Steven Grossman, acoustic guitar and vocals – Vinny Fuccella, acoustic lead and electric guitar – Andy Muson, bass – Jimmy Young, drums – Chris Dedrick, keyboards and recorder – George Devens, congas and percussion – Eric Weissber, mandolin, banjo, pedal steel guitar – Steven, Bobby, Lanny, and The Free Design, background vocals. Horns and strings arranged and conducted by Chris Dedrick.

Recorded December 1973 and January 1974 at Sound Ideas Studios, New York.

I do not own the images on this page though I did re-edit them.

I do not own the song, Caravan Tonight.

They are presented for educational purposes only.