Jimmy Somerville

JIMMY SOMMERVILLE

 

JIMMY SOMERVILLE
Jimmy Sommerville first shot to fame back in 1984 with groundbreaking band Bronski Beat. Smalltown boy, their debut single, made the top three in Britain and was a huge hit all over Europe. It not only introduced the world to Jimmy's unusual "falsetto squeal" as he once described it, but confronted them with a lyric addressing the isolation and rejection felt by a provincial gay youth forced into leaving town. Although not the first pop song to deal with this topic, the chart friendly early 80's electronic dance sound and the everyday ordinariness and honesty of the three performers, made Smalltown Boy the biggest obviously gay record there'd ever been.

Bronski Beat went on to have several lively pop dance hits in '84 and '85 including a cover of former gay icon Donna Summer's I feel love, on which they joined forces with Marc Almond.
A year of hit records across Europe and the UK, live performances, outspoken interviews and the pressures of new found fame took its toll and, something of a reluctant star, he left Bronski Beat for a rest. In a matter of months, however, he was back forming The Communardswith old friend and keyboardist Richard Coles. Over the next three years the Communards enjoyed a string of hits from their two big selling albums - Communards 1986 and Red 1987.

Jimmy and Richard's material was a mixture of good old fashioned gay disco and more bluesy, acoustic, political and social comment songs, both of which made a strong impact in the Thatcherite 80's and perfectly reflected the two sides of Jimmy's personality as well. One moment The Communards were hurtling to the number one spot, a position they held for four weeks in September 1986, with an energetic, hedonistic cover version of the Philly soul classic Don’t leave me this way, the next stunning audiences into silent awe with their touching lament for a loved one lost to Aids, For a friend.

At the end of '88, Jimmy embarked on a solo career which saw him chalk up another 5 hit singles and two albums; Read My Lips ( 1989 ) and The Singles Collection ( 1990 ). These included another stirring disco cover of Sylvester's You make me feel, which made the Top 5, and Francoise Hardy's Comment te dire adieu, a duet in French with June Miles Kingston.

The album Dare To Love was released in June '95 and is a typical rollercoaster mix of upbeat pop dance numbers and more serious songs exploring gay issues. The first single was HEARTBEAT, released in 1995. It entered the UK charts at no.24 and was no.1 in the USA dance chart. The E-Smoove and the Armand Van Helden mixes are still being played in clubs today. This was followed by the fabulous cover version of Susan Cadogan's 1975 Top 4 reggae hit Hurts so good. It stormed into the UK charts at no. 15 and was followed by an outstanding Top Of The Pops performance. It was Europe's fourth most played record for four weeks.

Hits of Jimmy Somerville:
* To love somebody
* Never can say goodbye
* Smalltown boy
* Why
* Hit that perfect beat
* You make me feel
* Don’t leave me this way
* So cold the night
* Comment te dire adieu
* Heartbeat
* There’s more to love
* Hurt so good
* Tomorrow

JIMMY SOMERVILLE

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