Bronski Beat keyboardist Larry Steinbachek has died, aged 56

Pioneering synth-pop trio scored big hits in the early '80s with 'Smalltown Boy' and 'Why'.

Larry Steinbachek, keyboardist with pioneering synth-pop trio Bronski Beat, has died at the age of 56.

Steinbachek (pictured far left in the photo above) died last month following a short battle with cancer, surrounded by family and friends, his sister told BBC News.

Steinbachek, Steve Bronski and Jimmy Somerville formed Bronski Beat in 1983 when they were sharing a flat in south London’s Brixton.

The group’s first two singles both cracked the Top Ten, helping to bring LGBT themes to mainstream attention. ‘Smalltown Boy’ told the story of a young gay man who feels compelled to leave home because of his sexuality, while ‘Why’ confronted anti-gay prejudice head-on.

Bronski Beat scored another two Top Ten hits with their Marc Almond collaboration ‘I Feel Love (Medley)’ and ‘Hit That Perfect Beat’, which was recorded with new vocalist John Foster after Somerville left to join The Communards.

They released three albums: 1984’s ‘The Age Of Consent’, 1986’s ‘Truthdare Doubledare’ and 1995’s ‘Rainbow Nation’. Steinbachek later moved to Amsterdam and became the musical director of a Dutch theatre company.

Jimmy Somerville paid tribute to Steinbachek today (January 13) by posting a demo version of the Bronski Beat song ‘Screaming’ on Facebook. He wrote: “In memory of Larry Steinbachek whose death was announced yesterday. We were young, brave and determined. Too OUT to stay in! Thank you for that moment Larry.”

Marc Almond also paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “Very sad to hear of the young death of Larry Steinbachek. Enjoyed working with Bronski back in the 80’s and having a big hit with them.”