Steve Bronski, a founding member of iconic gay British synth-pop trio Bronski Beat, has died.
Announcing his December 7 death on social media, bandmate Jimmy Somerville described him as a “talented and very melodic man”.
“Working with him on songs and the one song that changed our lives and touched so many other lives, was a fun and exciting time,” he wrote.
“Thanks for the melody, Steve.”
Steve Bronski (pictured above right), who was born Steven Forrest, formed the band with Larry Steinbachek and Jimmy Somerville in 1983.
Somerville was vocalist, while Bronski and Steinbachek played keyboards and percussion.
All three members of the band were out gay men, and embraced explicitly political themes in their music.
Sad to hear Steve Bronski has died. He was a talented and a very melodic man. Working with him on songs and the one song that changed our lives and touched so many other lives, was a fun and exciting time. Thanks for the melody Steve. Jimmy x pic.twitter.com/VfxbtZu1Nx
— Jimmy Somerville (@JimmySomerville) December 9, 2021
Bronski Beat’s debut single and signature song, the gay anthem Smalltown Boy, was about a gay teenager leaving his hometown.
The music video sees Somerville trying to befriend an attractive diver at a swimming pool but being attacked by the diver’s homophobic associates.
Police later return him to his family and he’s forced to leave home. The young man gets on a train with his bandmates to start a new life.
Bronski Beat also sang about anti-gay prejudice on follow-up single Why? Both songs were top 10 hits in the UK and Australia and several other countries.
Bronski Beat’s debut album The Age of Consent
In late 1984, Bronski Beat released their album The Age of Consent.
The inner sleeve listed the varying ages of consent for consensual gay sex in different nations around the world.
In the UK at the time, the age of consent for sexual acts between men in the UK was 21, compared with 16 for heterosexual acts.
The band also printed the numbers of the Gay Switchboards on their records and record sleeves.
In 1985, Somerville left the band and had further success with the Communards and as a solo artist. Bronski Beat also continued with new frontmen until 1995.
In 2017, Steve Bronski worked on a new version of The Age of Consent titled The Age of Reason.
Speaking at the time, he said, “We should be living in an age of reason.
“The trans community should not live in fear. Gay kids should not be bullied. We have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go.”
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