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Bronski Beat

London's Bronski Beat will be remembered for a number of things. Anyone who has seen the video for "Smalltown Boy" -- which remains gripping and sobering decades later -- can likely recall at least one of its scenes in vivid detail. It was only Bronski Beat's first single, but it became the group's best-known, reaching the top of Billboard's U.S. dance chart while peaking at number three on the U.K. pop chart. More importantly, the song was typical for the group in that it centered on singer Jimmy Somerville's experiences as a young gay man. It also exemplified the group's moody electronic-pop sound and introduced a number of people to a voice that continues to sound like no other -- one that can soar into a unique falsetto while drawing from a deep pool of emotions that ranges from intense internal strife to bliss.

Somerville, fellow Glasweigan Steve Bronski (keyboards), and Londoner Larry Steinbachek (also keyboards) formed Bronski Beat in 1983. They performed at venues in and around London, and scored a major coup by landing an opening gig for Tina Turner. The London label soon swept up the group, and the bandmembers almost immediately became pop stars in the U.K. "Smalltown Boy" proved to be a huge breakthrough. The Age of Consent, supported by that single, "Why," and a cover of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love," went over extremely well. Not only did the album gain attention for its combination of compelling songwriting and club-friendly pop; the inner sleeve listed the legal age of consent for homosexual acts in several countries across Europe.

Somerville boldly left the group a year later, before it was able to record a follow-up; he started the more overtly political Communards with Richard Coles. Bronski and Steinbachek continued with vocalist John Jon, who had previously been in Bust. The new version of Bronski Beat was quite successful as well, notching club hits in the U.K. and abroad; Truthdare Doubledare, the 1986 sophomore album, went Top 20 in the group's home country, and "Hit That Perfect Beat" rivaled "Smalltown Boy" in high chart placements. Before the year's end, John Jon left the group, which eventually disbanded. Steve Bronski brought a new lineup together in the mid-'90s -- including vocalist Jonathan Hellyner -- and recorded Rainbow Nation for the German ZYX label. Somerville enjoyed modest success in the Communards and has recorded sporadically as a solo artist since the late '80s. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi
full bio

Comments

In Los Angeles we had KROQ that played this style of music and a LOT of it. The music so many of these 80's bands produced is still relevant today thankfully. The music of today for the most part is so drab and lifeless. I miss the 80's music scene.
The whole joyful point of this group is that no one should care if they are straight or gay (who ever cares about that other than foolish icons?). They happen to be gay and take some of their energy from the hatred and dislike that some people have for such (a hatred and fear I never understood) and they use that to bring wonderfully emotional music, feelings of pain and joy, (Smalltown Boy to Heat Wave) and surround it in pounding, mind blowing beats. A truly iconic group. I miss WLIR!
bjbear5103
Wow. Memories...
Love this song!!!!!!!! ! !
Best song from BB. Brought back memories of my endulgance with the same sex partner. Days of dancing and fun. Now married to a wonderful women. And happy. As long as your happy-this is most important...
james.gavin4 9
Peb wrong artist. Think wham........ . .
I thought I remember the singer getting arrested for molesting a kid in a park but I didnt see it in the Bio. Anyone rememebr that?
Yeah they were gay when the world was even more homophobic than it is now.
Haunting
mmariebrown7
I really miss clubbing 'til the wee hours of the morning...
Reminds me when 'culture' was a way cooler, before folks got older, started aping straights, moving to the boros, adopting babies, having 'causes' and 'issues'.... w o w , how Brady Bunch gay life has become....
fredw71
freakin badass song you dont hear it you feel it
The clubs....OHH H H H the clubs. My girlfriend and I (now my wife) would go to clubs for this music. "Hit that perfect beat boy"!!!!!
Still makes me just wanna dance!
What was Jimmy Sommerville thinking when he decided to split from Bronski Beat. Some things just work well together. He's good but alone he just didn't have that punch. Never have bought something done by him alone, not that good.
I was introduced to this group by my (then) girlfriend, who also introduced me to Modern English, Depeche Mode, Thomas Dolby, and other favorites. The relationship didn't work out, but I still love these guys.
This is such a great album. I love Jimmys voice,great beats.
hit that perfect...
hit that perfect...

Left my 1st wife to that 'Beat'.
I feel the urge to get down to my underwear and start dancing...
Yes these guys are pillow chewers, pole riders, brokeback moutain cowboys, maybe a wide reciever on the team or a tight end - who cares - I am straight and don't care thier voices and the beat is great - so they enjoy a sausage fest - choke on it - I don't care.
prbonser
Are these guys gay?
glambff
Cool group.I love pandora,they always put bands that are not usually played on the radio!
I just love Jimmy and Bronski Beat.
By the way I'm straight.
First was exposed to these guys in an Atlanta used record shop = am an avid record collector -Jimmy's voice was beyond words - and the driving beat tore right thru the walls of the speakers of the shop -.

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