Smalltown Boy

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"Smalltown Boy"
Small Town Boy (Bronski Beat) single coverart.jpg
Single by Bronski Beat
from the album The Age of Consent
B-side
  • "Memories"
  • "Infatuation" (12")
ReleasedJune 1984 (UK)[1]
StudioThe Garden Studio, London
Genre
Length5:02 (album version)
3:58 (single version)
9:00 (12" version)
LabelLondon Records
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Mike Thorne
Bronski Beat singles chronology
"Smalltown Boy"
(1984)
"Why?"
(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 number 3 in the band's native UK.[5] It was also a number one hit in the Netherlands and Belgium,[6][7] and hit the top 10 in Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy and Switzerland. The track reached number 48 in the US pop chart and was a number one US dance hit.[8]

The song was released again in December 2013 after featuring in a Christmas advertising campaign for Boots UK. Smalltown Boy was also re-recorded by Jimmy Somerville and released as Smalltown Boy Reprise (2014) for the 30th anniversary of its initial release.[9]

Music video[edit]

An official music video made by Bernard Rose[10] 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, getting some travel money from the father and catching a train to London, on which he is reunited with his friends.

Track listings and formats[edit]

  • 7" single BITE 1
  1. "Smalltown Boy" – 3:58
  2. "Memories" – 2:55
  • 7" single 820 091-7
  1. "Smalltown Boy" – 3:58
  2. "Memories" – 3:00
  • 12" single BITEX 1 / 820 996-1 / 9-29 017 / LDSPX 215
  1. "Smalltown Boy" – 9:00
  2. "Infatuation/Memories" – 7:38
  • 12" single MCA-23521
  1. "Smalltown Boy" – 9:00
  2. "Infatuation/Memories" – 7:42

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Borrowed riff[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

  • In 2013, Austrian AOR band Cornerstone (de) covered "Smalltown Boy" as a charity single for the "Room to Breathe" campaign to support cystic fibrosis research at Nottingham City Hospital. Their version reached number 50 in the Austria Top 75 on 20 December 2013.[44]
  • In 2020, Canadian country singer Orville Peck covered the song for the 2020 Pride edition of the Spotify Singles series.[45]
  • In 2021, Kele released a cover of the song as the first single from his forthcoming album The Waves Pt. 1.[46]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The People's Songs: Smalltown Boy". BBC Radio 2. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  2. ^ Vivinetto, Gina (9 March 2015). "Pop Icon Jimmy Somerville: A Career Overview". The Advocate. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  3. ^ MarkWilson (18 May 2011). "Emilie Simon Releases "Smalltown Boy"". AltSounds. Archived from the original on 30 August 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  4. ^ Walters, Barry (20 June 2000). "His beat goes on". The Advocate. p. 115. ISSN 0001-8996. As Bronski Beat's falsetto leader, Somerville made gay politics a hot pop topic with such hi-NRG dance floor staples as "Why?" and "Smalltown Boy"
  5. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 34, 1984" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Ultratop.be – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d "Bronski Beat – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  9. ^ "Watch Jimmy Somerville Re Record Small Town Boy". Slicing Up Eyeballs. 22 June 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  10. ^ Parker, Lyndsey (26 June 2019). "How '80s LGBTQ band Bronski Beat's haunting 'Smalltown Boy' made a difference: 'It was very bold'". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Chart Positions Pre 1989 Part 4". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 9533." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  13. ^ "European Top 50 Singles – compiled by Europarade". World Charts. Archived from the original on 4 July 2014.
  14. ^ "Lescharts.com – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  15. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Smalltown Boy". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Top 3 in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 1 no. 33. 12 November 1984. p. 5. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  17. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  18. ^ "Charts.nz – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  19. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  20. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending MARCH 16, 1985". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012.
  21. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  22. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Jimmy Somerville with Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy (1991 Remix)" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts.
  23. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Small Town Boy". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  24. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Jimmy Somerville with Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy (1991 Remix)" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  25. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  26. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  27. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  28. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1984" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  29. ^ "TOP – 1984". Top-france.fr (in French). Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  30. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1984" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  31. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1984" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  32. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1984" (in German). Hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  33. ^ "Top 100 Singles". Music Week. London, England: Morgan-Grampian plc: 37. 26 January 1985.
  34. ^ "Jahrescharts – 1984". Offiziellecharts.de (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Archived from the original on 9 May 2015.
  35. ^ "RPM's Top 100 Singles of 1985". RPM. Vol. 43 no. 16. Library and Archives Canada. 28 December 1985. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  36. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy". Music Canada.
  37. ^ "Les Meilleures Ventes Tout Temps de 45 T. / Singles". InfoDisc (in French). Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  38. ^ "Italian single certifications – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Select "2019" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Smalltown Boy" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  39. ^ "British single certifications – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy". British Phonographic Industry.
  40. ^ "Kate Ryan delivers a new take on 'Smalltown Boy'". OutInPerth. 26 July 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  41. ^ Adams, Cameron (13 May 2015). "Brandon Flowers says new solo album The Desired Effect is eighties pop rock". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  42. ^ "Oomph! – Des Wahnsinns fette Beute : Review". Burn Your Ears Webzine (in German). 2 June 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  43. ^ Corner, Lewis (1 May 2015). "Brandon Flowers samples '80s hit on new song". Digital Spy. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  44. ^ "Cornerstone – Smalltown Boy" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  45. ^ Marotta, Michael (29 June 2020). "Listen to Orville Peck cover Bronski Beat's '80s anthem 'Smalltown Boy'". Vanyaland. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  46. ^ Astley-Brown, Michael (2021). "Kele Okereke unveils hypnotic new single, Smalltown Boy, announces fifth solo album". Guitar World. Retrieved 15 April 2021.

External links[edit]