Steve Bronski, co-founder of iconic band Bronski Beat, passes away

Bronski Beat's anthemic 'Smalltown Boy' is one of the LGBTQ+ community's most beloved songs.

A close up of a man looking into the camera
Image: Instagram @amhq

With the sad news that Bronski Beat co-founder Steve Bronski has passed away aged 61, tributes have filled social media thanking the musician for the huge part he played in the lives of LGBTQ+ music fans.

Most famous for their classic Smalltown Boy, Bronski Beat gave a voice to queer people in the 1980’s during darker times for the community. To have openly gay artists creating music with openly gay themes and make such an impact on the charts was revolutionary.

The video for Smalltown Boy featured the band’s singer Jimmy Somerville being chased by a homophobic gang and then  thrown out of his house by his parents before leaving to find a new life in the city.

The lyrics spoke to so many people who struggled to find acceptance in their hometowns, as they read:

“You leave in the morning with everything you own in a little black case
Alone on a platform, the wind and the rain on a sad and lonely face,
Mother will never understand why you had to leave
But the answers you seek will never be found at home,
The love that you need will never be found at home.”

Fellow Bronski Beat member, singer Jimmy Somerville, shared, “Sad to hear Steve Bronski has died. He was a talented and a very melodic man. Working with him on songs and the one song that changed our lives and touched so many other lives, was a fun and exciting time. Thanks for the melody Steve.”

In an interview with The Guardian back in 2018, Bronski described, “At the time we were just three gay guys who started a band – we didn’t feel like part of any particular movement… Of course, it would transpire many years later that there were more gay artists than the public were led to believe.”


Rest in Power, Steve.

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