Steve Bronski Dies: Cofounder Of Gay Pop Pioneers Bronski Beat Was 61

Steve Bronski, a cofounding member of the British synth-pop trio Bronski Beat, died Thursday. The BBC reported his age as 61. No cause of death or other details were given.

His 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. Thanks for the melody, Steve.”

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Bronski, whose real name was Steven Forrest, formed the band with Somerville and Larry Steinbachek in 1983. They were militantly opposed to being “safe” gay musicians, and their records were embraced by the community eager to take a more activist stance at the dawn of the AIDS era.

He moved to London in 1983, and Bronski Beat played its first gig in autumn of that year.

Bronski Beat’s debut single, 1984’s “Smalltown Boy,” rose to No. 3 on the UK singles chart. It tells the story of a gay teenager who leaves home to seek acceptance in London. The record’s inner groove was etched with the number of the London Gay Switchboard. The song went on to be regularly used in television and films.

The trio’s debut album The Age of Consent, also released in 1984, listed the ages of consent for gay sex in countries around the world. The album peaked at No 4 in the UK.

Somerville left the band in summer 1985, and Bronski Beat continued with new frontmen. Bronski continued to produce and record, collaborating with Jayne County and members of Strawberry Switchblade, among others. He spent much of the 2000s living in Thailand.

There was no information available on memorial plans or survivors.


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