Steve Bronski, co-founder and keyboard player of pioneering synth-pop band Bronski Beat, has died aged 61.
The musician formed the band in 1983 along with Jimmy Somerville and fellow musician Larry Steinbachek, who died after a battle with cancer in 2017.
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 felt 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.
Somerville, who is now the only surviving member of the band, was one of the first to pay tribute to Bronski. No cause of death has been given.
Sad to hear Steve Bronski has died. He was a talented and a 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. Jimmy x pic.twitter.com/VfxbtZu1Nx
— Jimmy Somerville (@JimmySomerville) December 9, 2021
“Sad to hear Steve has died. He was a talented and a very melodic man. Working with him on songs and the one song [‘Smalltown Boy’] that changed our lives and touched so many other lives, was a fun and exciting time. Thanks for the melody Steve” he wrote.
Bronski Beat carried on after Somerville left in 1985 and was replaced by John Foster. Foster left in 1987, with Jonathan Hellyer becoming the lead singer.
They disbanded in 1995 after a number of changes to the line-up, but Bronski revived the group in 2016.
During the years in between, Bronski worked as a producer for various artists.
The band released five albums: 1984’s ‘The Age Of Consent’, 1986’s ‘Truthdare Doubledare’, 1987’s ‘Out & About’, 1995’s ‘Rainbow Nation’ and 2017’s ‘The Age Of Reason’.