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Bronski Beat’s Steve Bronski dies aged 61

A cause of death is not yet known

By Tom Skinner

Steve Bronski
Steve Bronski. CREDIT: Bronski Beat official Facebook

Bronski Beat co-founder and keyboardist Steve Bronski has died at the age of 61.

Bronski, who was from Glasgow, formed the synth-pop group back in 1983 alongside singer Jimmy Somerville and musician Larry Steinbachek.

Sharing a tribute on Twitter this afternoon (December 9), Somerville confirmed Bronski – aka Steve Forrest – had passed away. A cause of death is not yet known.

“Sad to hear Steve Bronski has died. He was a talented and a very melodic man,” Somerville’s message began.

“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.”

Bronski Beat are best known for their 1984 single ‘Smalltown Boy’, which has previously been sampled by Brandon Flowers (‘I Can Change’) and is said to have inspired Ed Sheeran’s 2021 comeback single ‘Bad Habits’.

Other notable releases from the group include ‘Why?’ (1984) and a reimagining of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’, the latter of which saw them team up with Marc Almond of Soft Cell.

Bronski Beat were credited with bringing LGBT issues to the mainstream with their music. In 1987, they played a special concert to mark International AIDS Day at Brixton Academy in London alongside New Order.

“At the time we were just three gay guys who started a band – we didn’t feel like part of any particular movement,” Bronski told The Guardian in 2018. “Of course, it would transpire many years later that there were more gay artists than the public were led to believe.”

After Somerville departed in 1985, the trio enlisted John Foster as his replacement. Foster then quit the band in 1987, with Jonathan Hellyer becoming lead singer in 1989. Bronski Beat split in 1995, but were brought back by Forrest in 2016.

In addition to his work with the group, Bronski worked as a producer for various acts over the years.

The musician’s death comes after Larry Steinbachek died of cancer in 2017. He was 56 years old.

This is a developing story and will be updated…