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James (Jimmy) Somerville

1961 -

Pop singer, known for his falsetto voice, song-writer and gay activist. Born in Glasgow, Somerville was a founder member and lead singer of Bronski Beat (1984), with Steve Bronski and Larry Steinbachek. Somerville was also known for his militant left-wing politics during the 1980s and his songs dealt with both political issues and his homosexuality. In 1985, after disagreements over politics, he left to join Richard Cole and became The Communards.

His hits included Smalltown Boy (1984) and Why? (1984) which made the UK Top Ten. The much-acclaimed album Age of Consent preceded Bronski Beat's cover of Donna Summer's disco anthem I Feel Love (1985), a version of George Gershwin's It ain't necessarily so. With the Communards, his best known hit was Don't leave me this way (1986). There's More to Love than Boy Meets Girl (1987) dealt with gay relationships and For a Friend (1987) addressed the loss of friends to AIDS.

Latterly, Somerville has embarked on a solo career, with hits such as To Love Somebody and Run from Love (1991).

He has also worked as an actor, in Orlando (1992) and Mensonge (1993), composed film music and set up the production company Normal Films in 1993.

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