This Sunday is the 94th Academy Awards where the film West Side Story is up for an impressive seven nominations, including Best Picture. The movie, based on the musical by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, centers around a pair of star-crossed lovers and includes one of the most beloved songs in musical theater history, “Maria.” Of course, there have been countless other tunes that share the same title. Here are five of the gayest songs about a chick named Maria…
Ricky Martin‘s “María”
“!Un, dos, tres! ¡Un pasito pa’lante, Maria!” Before coming out as gay in 2010, Ricky Martin released this absolute banger off his 1995 album A Medio Vivir. The Spanish language flamenco/dance/salsa track is about a “sexy angel fallen from heaven” named María and topped the charts in several different countries. A remix version was later released that was even more popular than the original. ¡Wepa!
“Maria! You’ve got to see her!” Gay icon Debbie Harry and her Blondie bandmates reunited to record this bop in 1999. It was their first new song in almost 18 years and proved to be a major hit in the UK and Europe, selling over 1.5 million copies worldwide. It has since earned a place in the band’s canon and was included on all of its subsequent greatest hits albums.
Christina Aguilera’s “Searching for Maria” and “Maria”
The longtime LGBTQ ally’s 2018 album Liberation opened with dual tracks “Searching For Maria” and “Maria”, which were inspired by The Sound of Music and included a sample from Michael Jackson’s 1972 song “Maria (You Were the Only One).”
“Searching For Maria” is a reference to one of my favorite films, The Sound of Music – in which the character of Maria, an irrepressible free spirit, struggles to find herself & her freedom.
— Christina Aguilera (@xtina) June 12, 2018
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?“
Speaking of The Sound of Music, the classic Broadway musical centers around Maria, a “flibbertigibbet” who goes from frolicking in the hills without a care to fleeing from the Nazis with seven children across the Central Alps. The song is one of the show’s most popular and served as the title to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 2006 reality TV competition How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, in which viewers voted for who should play the role of Maria in his London revival of the musical.
Sandra’s “(I’ll Never Be) Maria Magdalena”
The lead single off the German pop star’s 1985 debut album The Long Play had all the right ingredients for a gay club anthem. It topped the charts in over 20 countries and was later re-released as a remix in 1993 and 1999. Sandra would go on to become the most successful German female vocalist of all time, selling over 33 million records and earning scores of LGBTQ fans along the way. “(I’ll Never Be) Maria Magdalena” remains her signature song and has been sampled by other artists over the years.