Top 10 Bronski Beat Songs

Bronski Beat Songs

Our top 10 Bronski Beat Songs list presents ten of the best songs released by a British band revered for its synth-pop influences. Originally a trio, the London band was formed back in 1983 by keyboardists/percussionists Steve Bronski and Larry Steinbachek alongside singer Jimmy Somerville. While synth-pop defined the band’s signature soundscapes, Bronski Beat went ahead to tinge their music with new wave, dance-pop, and hi-NRG influences.

Bronski Beat’s musical pursuits catapulted the band into becoming one of the groundbreaking British pop bands. The band easily gained popularity owing to its deliberate socially conscious lyrical themes—the original members of the band were openly gay too. While we have seen more gay artists in the twenty-first century, being a gay pop artist in the ‘80s was deemed quite “controversial.”

However, Bronski Beat were not afraid to submit themselves to the relentless pressure of conformity. In fact, Bronski Beat’s “uniqueness” at the time set the band for success albeit through the musicianship of its members. Specifically, Jimmy Somerville played a significant role in the initial success of Bronski Beat thanks to his soaring vocal abilities, often amazing the band’s audience with his remarkable falsetto.

A Quick Review of Bronski Beat’s Albums

One year after its formation, the band signed a recording contract with London Records where the members issued their debut single “Smalltown Boy.” The song was the lead single to the band’s debut studio album The Age of Consent which was also issued in 1984. Working on The Age of Consent’s production was Mike Thorne, an English-born record producer/engineer.

Other artists who have worked with Mike Thorne include Soft Cell, Roger Daltrey, Soft Machine, and Nina Hagen to name a few. The Age of Consent is widely regarded as one of the seminal records in the pop scene. This is due to its bold address on the themes of homophobia, social alienation, and discrimination.

The Age of Consent was a success globally making it to most of the popular mainstream charts in most nations. In the UK, The Age of Consent climbed to the fourth spot on the Albums Chart. The album went ahead to achieve mainstream success in the US peaking at position thirty-six on the Billboard 200. Bronski Beat saw the album also rise to the seventh spot on the Canadian Albums Chart.

The Age of Consent was also a commercial success earning platinum certification in Canada, New Zealand, and the UK. Bronski Beat also earned gold certification in France, Germany, and the Netherlands. The Age of Consent is home to some of the best Bronski Beat songs including “Smalltown Boy,” It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “Love and Money,” “Need-a-Man Blues,” and “Why?”

Bronski Beat returned with their first remix Hundreds & Thousands in 1985. Unfortunately, the album came after the departure of the band’s lead singer Jimmy Somerville. Jimmy left Bronski Beat to form The Communards alongside Richard Coles. Jimmy Somerville and Richard Coles went ahead to release several successful tracks as The Communards. One of the successful tracks by The Communards is a cover of the 1975 hit “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by Harold Melvin & the Blues Notes. The synth-pop/disco-oriented record featured a number of new tracks including “Hard Rain,” “Run from Love,” and “Close to the Edge” among others.

The majority of the songs on this album were compilations of Bronski Beat’s remixes, extended versions, and B-sides of songs from the band’s earlier releases. Hundreds & Thousands went ahead to climb to grace the UK Albums Chart peaking at number twenty-four. The remix album also achieved some commercial success earning the band Bronski Beat silver certification in the UK.

Truthdare Doubledare, issued in 1986, marked the band’s sophomore studio album. The band was a three-piece still upon the release of this record albeit with John Foster coming in as the band’s new lead vocalist. Matching Jimmy Somerville’s impact was definitely going to be a tough task for Jimmy Foster. However, Jimmy Foster gave his best with the album Truthdare Doubledare receiving positive reviews. Truthdare Doubledare was produced by Adam Williams, who handled earlier records by The Eurythmics.

The synth-pop/dance album made it to the eighteenth spot on the UK Albums Chart. Truthdare Doubledare also graced the Billboard 200 peaking at position one hundred and forty-seven. Unfortunately, the album was a commercial flop with its sales coming nowhere close to those of The Age of Consent. Some of the best Bronski Beat songs from Truthdare Doubledare include “Hit That Perfect Beat,” “I Gave You Everything,” “Punishment for Love,” and “C’mon! C’mon!”

In 1995, Bronski Beat issued their third studio album Rainbow Nation. The album was issued through the German label ZYX Music. Jonathan Hellyer was part of Bronski Beat’s lineup in this album. Rainbow Nation failed to impress both in the mainstream and commercially. However, the album managed to feature musical gems such as “I Love the Nightlife,” “No Difference,” and “Be Serious.”

Bronski Beat went on a hiatus in the same year returning to the music scene in 2016, the year which Larry Steinbachek succumbed to cancer. The band would eventually issue its fourth studio album The Age of Reason. Stephen Granville was the lead singer on this record. Unfortunately, The Age of Reason was a commercial flop—the album also failed to impress on the mainstream charts.

Bronski Beat’s Accolades and Legacy

Bronski Beat is best remembered as one of the pioneering gay acts in the British pop scene. Together with Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Bronski Beat were among the first pop bands to transparently make gay themes an integral part of their musicianship. The band never managed to scoop multiple awards. However, Bronski Beat earned nominations for accolades in the Ivor Novello Awards, Brit Awards, and Billboard Music Awards ceremonies. Let’s now take a look at the top 10 Bronski Beat songs of all time.

#10- All Flowers for Dandara ft. Rose McDowall

Introducing us into the top 10 Bronski Beat songs list is the phenomenal hit “All Flowers for Dandara.” The song is one of the most recent releases by Bronski Beat featuring on the band’s 2017 album The Age of Reason. “All Flowers for Dandara” features the vocal contributions of Rose McDowall. Rose is best known for her impactful musicianship as a member of the band Strawberry Switchblade.

The song is the only pick on our list to have featured the vocals of Stephen Granville. Stephen joined Bronski Beat prior to the release of The Age of Reason. His vocal delivery is quite amazing. However, it is the vocal harmonies of Stephen Granville and Rose McDowall that make the overall vocal delivery quite a magical affair. “All Flowers for Dandara” is a tribute song to the Brazilian transsexual Dandara dos Santos who was cold-heartedly slain outside her Brazilian home.

#9- No Difference

“No Difference” is one of the most sought-after post-Somerville tracks by Bronski Beat. The song is featured on the band’s third studio album Rainbow Nation. As the title of the song insinuates, “No Difference” is an anthem to equality. The song finds the band trying to trade the need for understanding and acceptance amongst the human race.

Bronski Beat tries to address the subject of prejudice and discrimination amongst the marginalized members of society, in their case sexual orientation. Without a doubt, socially significant themes catapulted “No Difference” to popularity. However, this poignant track solidifies its spot in our list thanks to the infectious chorus and powerful vocal delivery by Jonathan Hellyer. Hellyer’s soaring vocal delivery oozes frustration and pain as depicted by the song’s lyrics. However, a glimmer of hope can be felt in his vocals as he persuades the world that there is “No Difference” between us.

#8- I Gave You Everything

Ranking eighth on our top 10 Bronski Beat songs list is the impressive track “I Gave You Everything.” The song is featured on the band’s sophomore studio album Truthdare Doubledare. “I Gave You Everything” finds the band expressing its musicianship along the themes of love and disappointments—the singer croons about unrequited love after giving his all in a relationship.

The song is delivered on a haunting synth melody that adds to its mesmerizing feel. “I Gave You Everything” is among the few songs on our list that showcase the musicianship of vocalist John Foster. Foster conveys raw emotions as he takes on the lyrics of this emotionally-charged track.

#7- Run from Love

Spanning slightly over eight minutes, “Run from Love” remains one of the favorite picks by Bronski Beat’s fans. The song was issued as a single on the band’s remix album Hundreds & Thousands. “Run from Love” introduces us to the vocal excellence of former Bronski Beat member Jimmy Somerville.

Specifically, Jimmy’s soaring falsetto vocals help tinge the song “Run from Love” with a sense of vulnerability and melancholy. The song finds Bronski Beat delving deeper into the hardships of love/emotional intimacy. You ought to love the pulsating synth intro and persistently kicking basslines in “Run from Love.”

#6- It Ain’t Necessarily So

The Age of Consent, the band’s debut studio album, is home to the sixth pick on our top 10 Bronski Beat songs list “It Ain’t Necessarily So.” This track is a cover track originally issued in the 1935 by George Gershwin. The song has been covered by multiple other artists including Aretha Franklin, Cher, and Miles Davis.

“It Ain’t Necessarily So” is by far one of the most successful singles by Bronski Beat. The song climbed to the sixteenth spot on the UK Singles Chart. “It Ain’t Necessarily So” also made it to the ARIA Singles Chart where it peaked at number fifty-eight. The song features a music video that was directed by Simon Milne. Milne has also worked with Elton John, The Human League, and Duran Duran.

#5- C’mon! C’mon!

Coming in at the fifth spot on our top 10 Bronski Beat songs list is the electrifying hit “C’mon! C’mon!” The song is featured on the band’s sophomore studio album Truthdare Doubledare. “C’mon! C’mon!” is among the final Bronski Beat songs to make it to the mainstream charts. The song made it to the twentieth spot on the UK Singles Chart.

“C’mon! C’mon!” also graced the ARIA Singles Chart—it climbed to the twenty-seventh spot. The song was Bronski Beat’s final release to climb into the Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart peaking at number seventeen. “C’mon! C’mon!” features a music video that was directed by film director Tim Pope. Other artists who have worked with Tim Pope include The Cure, Soft Cell, The Stranglers, and The Psychedelic Furs.

#4- I Feel Love (Medley) ft. Marc Almond

Let’s dig deeper into the band’s first remix album Hundreds & Thousands where we find our fourth track “I Feel Love (Medley).” Don’t confuse this track with the six-minute “I Feel Love/Johnny Remember Me” from the band’s debut album The Age of Consent. Notably, “I Feel Love/Johnny Remember Me” is a cover of the songs “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer and “Johnny Remember Me” by John Leyton.

However, “I Feel Love (Medley)” is an eight-minute remix of Bronski Beat’s cover hit “I Feel Love/Johnny Remember Me.” This remix version includes the vocal contribution of Marc Almond of the band Soft Cell and samples of the 1975 hit “Love to Love You Baby” by Donna Summer. “I Feel Love (Medley)” went ahead to grace the UK Singles Chart where it peaked at position three. The song was a commercial success, earning silver certification in the UK.

#3- Hit That Perfect Beat

Coming in third on our top 10 Bronski Beat songs list is the fast-paced track “Hit That Perfect Beat.” The song is featured on the band’s sophomore studio album Truthdare Doubledare. “Hit That Perfect Beat” is one of the most commercially successful singles by the band having earned silver certification in the UK. The song also made it to the third spot on the UK Singles Chart.

“Hit That Perfect Beat” features a music video directed by South African-born music director Ralph Ziman. Ralph has also worked with a number of artists including W.A.S.P., Faith No More, L.A. Guns, and Ozzy Osbourne. The song “Hit That Perfect Beat” was nominated for the 1986 Ivor Novello Awards Best Film Theme or Song accolade. However, the song lost the accolade to Tina Turner’s hit “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome).”

#2- Why?

“Why?” is yet another impressive hit by Bronski Beat from the band’s debut studio album The Age of Consent. The song gives us a taste of Jimmy Somerville’s impressive vocal delivery—his falsetto undoubtedly adds extra glamour to this track. “Why?” is yet another commercially successful single by the band having been silver-certified in the UK.

The song also impressed in the mainstream charts climbing to the sixth spot on the UK Singles Chart. “Why?” also made it to the US mainstream charts, peaking at position twenty-seven on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play. The song features a music video directed by Bernard Rose. Bernard Rose has also directed music videos for UB40 and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

#1- Smalltown Boy

Ranking first on our top 10 Bronski Beat songs list is the tantalizing synth-pop hit “Smalltown Boy.” The song is featured on the band’s debut studio album The Age of Consent. “Smalltown Boy” was the band’s debut single which would later become its signature song. The song finds Jimmy Somerville crooning about the oppression of homosexuals in Scotland.

“Smalltown Boy” tells the story of a gay gentleman who departs from his home, in pursuit of new life in a city. Bronski Beat members revealed that this song is semi-autobiographical. “Smalltown Boy” rose atop the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart rising to position forty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also made it to the third spot on the UK Singles Chart. “Smalltown Boy” is Bronski Beat’s most commercially successful single earning platinum certification in the UK. The song was covered by Kate Ryan, Paradise Lost, and the Australian band Cornerstone.

Feature Photo: Andrew D. Hurley, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Top 10 Bronski Beat Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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