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Jimmy Somerville

Jimmy Somerville Bio

Glaswegian Jimmy Somerville 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. The chart friendly early 80s electronic dance sound and the everyday ordinariness and honesty of the three performers made Smalltown Boy the biggest 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 Communards with 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).

At the end of ‘88 Jimmy embarked on a solo career which saw him chalk up another five 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 ( Mighty Real ), which made the top five, and Francoise Hardy’s Comment Te Dire Adieu, a duet in French with June Miles Kingston. Although he has dabbled in some film work, appearing in Sally Potter’s Orlando and setting up a gay film company called Normal Films, with Isaac Julien and others, to produce Postcards From America, which previewed at 1994′s New York Film Festival, the singing voice has taken a long holiday.

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 title track, about a man who loves a younger boy of 16 and is threatened with prison and persecution, is typically upfront and provides a topical link with his earlier material. The first single from Dare To Love was Heartbeat, released in January 1995. It entered the UK charts at #24 and was #1 in the US 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 four reggae hit Hurts So Good. Hurts So Good stormed into the UK charts at #15 and was followed by an outstanding Top Of The Pops performance. It was Europe’s fourth most played record for four weeks. The next single By Your Side was released in late October ‘95 and was supported by a UK tour.

Having left London Records, Jimmy then signed a new deal with Gut Records in the summer of 1997 and a new single Dark Sky was released. This track is quite different to anything he has done before and included mixes from Sure is Pure, Tony De Vit, Dillon and Dickins, and The Only Child.

In early 1999 Jimmy, with friend Sally Herbert, completed the album Manage The Damage with producer Ash Howes. The first single Lay Down was released in May in the UK and has been remixed by Almighty, Sounds Of Life and Hoop’ and ‘Bonus. In 2003 Jimmy continued to write and record his new album collaborating with Paul Mac, Sebastian und Marcel Krieg and Tillmann Uhrmacher, and continued to work with Felix Gauder as well as with Rosenstolz.

The album entitled Home Again has been released in the following territories: Germany, UK, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, France, Italy, Sweden, Hungary, Czech Republic, Greece, Netherlands, Singapore, Middle East, Canada and Russia. The first track to emerge from the new album was It’s So Good written with Paul Mac who also produced the track. Jimmy spent most of 2004 promoting the new album and embarked on a wealth of live appearances and even went out on tour with Rosenstolz in Germany. The first commercial single to be released from the album Come On was released in Germany in 2004. Jimmy wrote and recorded the track with Rosenstolz. A further single Ain’t No Mountain High Enough was then released in Germany in 2005 whereupon further promotion and live dates continued well in to the year.

Albeit not a direct release from Jimmy, the track Tell Me Why by Supermode was released in the summer of 2006 to an incredible response. The track is based upon Smalltown Boy although also draws lyrics from the Bronski Beat track Why. A-listed at Radio 1 and staying in the UK top 40 for weeks on end, it became one of the songs of the summer.

In 2009 Somerville released his final album entitled Suddenly Last Summer, inspired by and originally recorded on his trip to Australia in 2006. The album features his unique acoustic interpretation of some classic songs including Sweet Unknown, Hush and Hanging On The Telephone.