“Smalltown Boy” is a synth-pop song by the British band Bronski Beat. It was written by the band members, Steve Bronski, Jimmy Somerville and Larry Steinbachek. “Smalltown Boy” was released on May 25 1984 with “Memories” on the B-side. In October, it was included on their debut album, “The Age of Consent.” The song is one of Bronski Beat’s most well-known and critically acclaimed tracks.
“Smalltown Boy” is characterized by its powerful and emotive vocals by lead singer Jimmy Somerville and the song’s distinctive synth-driven sound. The track addresses themes of identity, homophobia, and the challenges faced by a young gay man in a small town. The lyrics tell the story of a boy who leaves his home and family to find acceptance and a sense of belonging. The chorus, with its memorable and emotive delivery, is a standout element of the song.
The music video for “Smalltown Boy” was directed by English filmmaker Bernard Rose. The video features band member Jimmy Somerville as the boy travelling by the train. He reminisces about his childhood through flashbacks and the events that made him to leave his parents’ home.
“Smalltown Boy” was a commercial success for Bronski Beat, reaching top three on music charts in numerous countries, including the UK Singles Chart, German Official chart, and Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart in the United States. The song’s poignant and powerful message, along with its memorable sound, made it an anthem for LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance during the 1980s. It remains a classic of the synth-pop genre and an important cultural touchstone.