Smalltown Boy.

Music Club Deluxe, a division of Demon Music Group, has just released For A Friend: The Best Of Bronski Beat, The Communards and Jimmy Somerville, a comprehensive music collection spanning the 25+ year career of the great Jimmy Somerville. The 2-CD set contains ten Top-20 singles, popular album tracks, and remixes.

A staff favorite here at Waist High, Jimmy Somerville co-founded Bronski Beat in 1983. Bronski Beat's groundbreaking debut single, "Smalltown Boy," went to #3 in the UK and "was one of the first songs to bring the issue of homophobia into the mainstream. The song is the tale of a boy who is cast away from home for being gay. The video shows Jimmy Somerville running away from home, trying to make friends at a swimming pool, and being attacked by a homophobic gang."

Although many groups "in the early to mid '80s had an openly gay image, Bronski Beat were one of the first groups to openly address the gross inequality experienced by gay people in society."

The follow-up single to "Smalltown Boy," "Why?," went to #6 in the UK, and the band's third single, "It Ain't Necessarily So," made it into the UK Top-20 as well.

In 1985 Jimmy Somerville left Bronski Beat and formed The Communards with classically trained pianist Richard Coles. Later in the year he contributed his signature voice to the Fine Young Cannibals' version of "Suspicious Minds," which made it to #8 in the United Kingdom.

The Communards first single was "You Are My World," and was followed by a cover of "Don't Leave Me This Way," which spent four weeks at #1 in the UK and was the country's biggest selling single of 1986. The album Communards spent 45 weeks in the UK album charts.

From the album Red, The Communards took the Jackson 5's' "Never Can Say Goodbye" to #4 in 1987.

Somerville launched his solo career in 1988, released some singles, and then "left the limelight and was absent from recording for a number of years."

In 1995, his song "Heartbeat" went to #1 on the U.S. dance charts.

For A Friend: The Best Of Bronski Beat, The Communards and Jimmy Somerville track list:
CD 1
1. Smalltown Boy
2. Why?
3. It Ain't Necessarily So
4. I Feel Love (Medley With Marc Almond)
5. Screaming
6. Run From Love
7. Hard Rain
8. Don't Leave Me This Way
9. La Dolarosa
10. Disenchanted
11. So Cold The Night
12. You Are My World
13. Forbidden Love
14. Breadline Britain
15. Tomorrow
16. There's More To Love (Than Boy Meets Girl)
CD 2
1. Victims
2. For A Friend
3. Never Can Say Goodbye (Freddie Bastone's San Paulo Remix)
4. Comment Te Adieu
5. You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
6. Read My Lips (Enough Is Enough)
7. Heartbeat
8. By Your Side
9. Safe (Safe Sex Todd Terry Short Session)
10. To Love Somebody
11. Lay Down
12. Dark Sky
13. Something To Live For (Sounds Of Live Remix)
14. Can't Take My Eyes Off You
15. Come On
16. Could It Be Love
17. Sweet Unknown
18. People Are Strange

Photo: jimmysomerville.co.uk
Material: The great Richard Evans via
remembertheeighties.com, waisthigh.net, wikipedia.org via waisthigh.net, wikipedia.org, and demonmusicgroup.co.uk