Bronski Beat

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Bronski Beat were a popular British synthpop trio who achieved notable success in the mid 1980s, particularly with the 1984 chart hit "Smalltown Boy". All members of the group were openly homosexual, and their songs reflected this, often containing political commentary on gay related issues. Although many groups in the early to mid 80s had an openly gay image, Bronski Beat was one of the first groups to address the issues of gay people. At the height of their popularity the band consisted of singer Jimmy Somerville backed by Steve Bronski and Larry Steinbachek, both of whom played keyboards and percussion. Somerville went on to have success as lead singer of The Communards and as a solo artist.

Contents

History

Early years (1983–1985)

Bronski Beat formed in 1983 when Somerville, Steinbachek and Bronski shared a three-bedroom flat in Lancaster House in Brixton, southwest London.

Bronski Beat signed a recording contract with London Records in 1984 after doing only nine live gigs. The band's debut single, "Smalltown Boy", the tale of a boy who was cast away by his family for being homosexual, was a hit, peaking at #3 in the UK Singles Chart.[1] The single was accompanied by a promotional video directed by Bernard Rose, showing Somerville eagerly trying to make friends at a swimming pool, then being attacked by an anti-homosexual gang, being returned to his family by the police and having to leave home. (The police officer was played by Colin Bell, then the marketing manager of London Records). "Smalltown Boy" reached #48 in the U.S. chart and peaked at #7 in Australia. The single featured vocals from session singer Kevin Glancy who would later be tried for fraud, before re-inventing himself as a Christian singer.

The follow-up single, "Why?", while focusing on a faster energetic musical formula, was more lyrically focused on anti-homosexual prejudice. It also achieved Top 10 status in the UK, reaching #6,[1] and was a Top 10 hit for the band in Australia.

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