Singer Jimmy Somerville
lent his soaring falsetto to two of the premier dance-pop outfits of the '80s, Bronski Beat
and the Communards
, before embarking on a solo career. Born in Glasgow, Scotland on June 22, 1961, he co-founded Bronski Beat
in 1984; from the band's debut single "Smalltown Boy" onward, Somerville
's songs dealt openly with his own homosexuality, a recurring theme that met with surprisingly little commercial resistance, as both the record and its follow-up, "Why?," cracked the U.K. Top Ten. The much-acclaimed album Age of Consent
preceded Bronski Beat
's 1985 cover of Donna Summer
's disco anthem "I Feel Love," but soon afterward, Somerville
left the group to form the Communards
, a duo that topped the British charts in 1986 with a rendition of another disco classic, Thelma Houston
's "Don't Leave Me This Way."
After just two successful LPs, however, Somerville
opted to go solo in 1988, resurfacing the next year with a cover of Françoise Hardy's "Comment Te Dire Adieu"; the follow-up, a rendition of the Sylvester
club perennial "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)," rocketed into the Top Five, and the LP Read My Lips
was a Top 40 entry as well. A reggae-fied rendition of the Bee Gees chestnut "To Love Somebody" was next, but in the wake of 1991's "Run from Love," Somerville
was absent from recording for several years, finally returning in 1995 with the LP Dare to Love
. Manage the Damage followed in 1999 and Root Beer
arrived a year later, with the dance-oriented Home Again released in 2004 on the Jinx label.
In 2009, he released his fifth solo effort, the acoustic covers album Suddenly Last Summer. A year later, Somerville
released the first of a three-part EP trilogy with Bright Thing, followed quickly by Momentum in 2011 and Solent in 2012. Two years later, he celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the release of the Bronski Beat
classic "Small Town Boy," with the release of a re-recorded version of the song. In 2015, Somerville
released his sixth full-length album, the vintage disco-inspired Homage.