Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy – 1984

Smalltown Boy” is the debut single by British synth-pop band Bronski Beat, released in June 1984. It is from their debut album, The Age of Consent, released in December 1984.

The song was a big commercial success, reaching #3 in the band’s native UK. It was also a #1 hit in the Netherlands and Belgium, and hit the top 10 in Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland and West Germany. The track reached #48 in the US pop chart and was a #1 US dance hit.

An official music video made by Bernard Rose[ was shot and released later in 1984. The narrative video features band member Jimmy Somerville as the boy who has experienced the issues described in the lyrics. Seen on a train, he is contemplating his childhood through flashbacks and the events that have caused him to leave his parents’ home.

At a swimming pool, his friends (played by band members Larry Steinbachek and Steve Bronski) dare him to approach a boy that he is attracted to, for which he is later attacked in an alley by an anti-homosexual gang led by the young man he had approached at the swimming pool. A police officer takes him back to his home. It is implied that the boy’s parents learn of his homosexuality for the first time through this incident and are shocked, but only the father seems unsupportive. The boy is then shown hugging his mother goodbye and getting some travel money from the father. The boy reaches his hand out to shake his father’s but his father does not return it. After, the boy catches a train to London, on which he is reunited with his friends.

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