Smalltown Boy

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"Smalltown Boy"
Single by Bronski Beat
from the album The Age of Consent
B-side
  • "Memories"
  • "Infatuation" (12")
Released June 1984
Format
Recorded The Garden Studio, London, 1984
Genre
Length 5:02 (album version)
3:58 (single version)
9:00 (12" version)
Label London Records
Writer(s) Bronski Beat
Producer(s) Mike Thorne
Bronski Beat singles chronology
"Smalltown Boy"
(1984)
"Why?"
(1984)

"Smalltown Boy" is a 1984 song by the British synthpop group Bronski Beat. It was released in June 1984, and appeared on the band's debut album The Age of Consent, released in December 1984.

The song is a popular gay anthem and was a big commercial success, reaching number 3 in the band's native UK. It was also a number one hit in the Netherlands and Belgium, and hit the top 10 in Australia, Canada, France, and Switzerland. The track reached number 48 in the US pop chart and was a number one US dance hit.

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.[4]

Song meaning[edit]

The song addresses key issues in 1980s LGBT culture. It addresses family rejection for being homosexual and homophobia in British society. It also deals with loneliness and bullying through societal and familial rejection.

Music video[edit]

An official music video 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 young man that he is attracted to, for which he is later attacked in an alley by a homophobic gang led by the man he had approached at the swimming pool. A police officer brings 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 then catches 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
  1. "Smalltown Boy" – 9:00
  2. "Infatuation/Memories" – 7:38
  • 12" single 820 996-1
  1. "Smalltown Boy" – 9:00
  2. "Infatuation/Memories" – 7:38
  • 12" single 9-29 017
  1. "Smalltown Boy" – 9:00
  2. "Infatuation/Memories" – 7:38
  • 12" single MCA-23521
  1. "Smalltown Boy" – 9:00
  2. "Infatuation/Memories" – 7:42
  • 12" single LDSPX 215
  1. "Smalltown Boy" – 9:00
  2. "Infatuation/Memories" – 7:38

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart precessions and successions[edit]

Preceded by
"Two Tribes" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Belgian Ultratop 50 Flanders number-one single
8 September 1984 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr.
Belgian VRT Top 30 Flanders number-one single
8 September 1984 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"I Just Called to Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
25 August 1984 – 1 September 1984 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Careless Whisper" by George Michael
Single Top 100 number-one single
25 August 1984 (1 week)
Preceded by
"Loverboy" by Billy Ocean
US Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
16 February 1985 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Sugar Walls" by Sheena Easton

Cover versions[edit]

  • In 1997 a Eurohouse version was produced by Legato.[38]
  • In 2002, the song appeared on Paradise Lost's album, Symbol of Life[39]
  • In 2002 and 2003, it was covered by the French rock band Indochine on their Paradize Tour.[40]
  • In 2010, Irish singer Sharon Corr covered the song with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. A studio version was recorded and the song receives regular airplay on radio in Ireland.[41]
  • In 2013, Dutch symphonic metal band Delain covered the song which is featured on their album Interlude.[42]
  • In 2013, Austrian AOR band Cornerstone 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.[43]
  • In 2013, German melodic death metal band Deadlock covered the song which is featured on their album The Arsonist.[44]
  • In 2015, Belgian dance singer Kate Ryan covered the song under the title "Runaway" which is featured on the various artists compilation album MNM Summertime 2015.
  • In 2015, The Killers lead singer Brandon Flowers sampled the song for the track "I Can Change" from his second solo album The Desired Effect.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vivinetto, Gina (9 March 2015). "Pop Icon Jimmy Somerville: A Career Overview". The Advocate. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  2. ^ MarkWilson (18 May 2011). "Emilie Simon Releases "Smalltown Boy"". AltSounds. Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Walters, Barry (20 June 2000). "His beat goes on". The Advocate (Here Publishing): 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" 
  4. ^ "Watch Jimmy Somerville Re Record Small Town Boy". Slicing Up Eyeballs. 22 June 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Chart Positions Pre 1989 Part 4". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "Ultratop.be – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Radio 2 Top 30 : 8 september 1984" (in Dutch). Top 30. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  8. ^ CHART NUMBER 1463 – Wednesday, January 09, 1985 at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 November 2006). CHUM. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  9. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 9533." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  10. ^ European Top 50 Singles – compiled by Europarade at the Wayback Machine (archived 4 July 2014). Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  12. ^ "Lescharts.com – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  13. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Smalltown Boy". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  14. ^ "HitParadeItalia – Top10 del 10 Novembre 1984" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  18. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  19. ^ "Archive Chart: 1984-06-23" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  20. ^ a b c "Bronski Beat – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  21. ^ CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending MARCH 16, 1985 at the Wayback Machine (archived 1 October 2012). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  22. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Jimmy Somerville with Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy (1991 Remix)". GfK Entertainment.
  23. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Jimmy Somerville with Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy (1991 Remix)" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  24. ^ "Archive Chart: 1991-02-09" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  25. ^ "Indice per Interprete: B" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  26. ^ "Bronski Beat: Artist Chart History" 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. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  28. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1984" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  29. ^ "TOP – 1984" (in French). Top-france.fr. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  30. ^ "I singoli più venduti del 1984" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  31. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1984" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  32. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1984" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  33. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1984" (in German). Hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  34. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 43, No. 16, December 28, 1985". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  35. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy". Music Canada. 
  36. ^ "Les Meilleures Ventes Tout Temps de 45 T. / Singles" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  37. ^ "British single certifications – Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Smalltown Boy in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  38. ^ "Legato – Small Town Boy". Last.fm. Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  39. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Paradise Lost – Symbol of Life". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  40. ^ "Indochine – Smalltown boy". YouTube. 22 May 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  41. ^ "Sharon Corr "Smalltown Boy"". YouTube. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  42. ^ "Delain – Smalltown Boy". Last.fm. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  43. ^ "Cornerstone – Smalltown Boy" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  44. ^ "Album Review: Deadlock – "The Arsonist"". New Noise Magazine. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 

External links[edit]