I didn't want to let last week's passing of Steve Bronski go unnoticed.
I assume most think of Jimmy Somerville when they think of the Bronski Beat, but Steve Bronski was the founding member - that eventually would have a series of lead singers after Somerville departed in 1985. Somerville was only in the band for two years and only appeared on one album.
Still, that one record had "Smalltown Boy" on it.
I will admit, it did not impress me at the time, though it probably should have spoke to me more. Scratch that - I should have paid more attention and let it resonate with me more.
I did feature Bronski Beat with their Somerville replacement singer on "Hit the Perfect Beat" seven years back. And I think I featured Brandon Flowers using a sample of "Smalltown Boy" on the ironically named down, "I Can Change for You".
I suppose on some level many of us back in 1985 were small town boys when we heard it at our bigger city gay bar. Alternative radio didn't readily exist in most places, and even if they did, it was not playing gay songs such as this.
I won't lie and say I enjoyed Somerville's falsetto that much - and less so in the Communards.
Still my exposure to the band and song were real time. I can't say how "Smalltown Boy" connected to the newly out (or not yet out) gay community years - now decades! - down the line. I have to feel it still has a place where it speaks to that gay youth who feels as outcast.
I hope it does. I've truly grown to appreciate and like the song.
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