You might think you’re too young or too butch or whatever for this 1961 chart-topper, but you’re wrong: This is one of the all-time greatest documents of old-school showbiz pizzazz: Just the energy exuded by this gay-icon-to-beat-all-gay-icons blows away all resistance, and her artistry is just as formidable. “The Man That Got Away” packs so much power and anguish that it feels as though Garland somehow discovers the emotional DNA of heartbreak, and, like a scientist in a low-budget movie lab, gets consumed by it to the point of madness. Happy or sad, every cut is that intense.
“She is a legend for a reason. That performance, at that time, by that woman, was clearly once in a lifetime. When I first heard it I wasn’t sure who needed whom more. Was it the gay men in the audience needing her, or was it her needing them?”--Wilson Cruz, actor