As I wish a very happy birthday to one of my early idols, I notice he is just a year younger than me, and I begin to think our journeys have been somewhat similar. Still, in many ways, I feel I owe a lot to Jimmy Somerville. In fact, I am not sure if this blog would exist without him. You see, a very long time ago when I was a mere youngster, living in Brooklyn with the then love-of-my-life Bill, I saw a performance on television that immediately bewitched me. It was the Bronski Beat singing "It Ain't Necessarily So", the great Gershwin song from Porgy And Bess. Only, they made it current (for the early 1980s), so full of new meaning. I checked them out, and soon purchased Age Of Consent, my very first purchase of music made by out and proud gay musicians. I think that was 1984 or maybe 1985, and I have been addicted to Jimmy's music since, following him to The Communards, and on to his solo career.
One of the greatest memories of live music I have was the time in New York City I saw The Communards live at The Ritz, if I remember correctly. It was a while ago, like in 1986 or 1987. Jimmy's vocals are every bit as astonishing live as they are recorded, and it was a great night, with Jimmy, Sarah Jane Morris, and Richard Coles. Heaven! Since his birthday birthday fell on a Friday this year, I thought it was a perfect time to post some of his music I haven't posted before on the blog. Now, I will admit I have posted a lot of it, for I am a huge fan. I will start with a track off The Singles Collection 1984-1990. "Run From Love" was originally recorded as a Bronski Beat song, part of the "Age of Consent" era, but Jimmy revisited it for the collection.
Next up is a great track off the 1995 album, Dare To Love. "Heartbeat" was written by Richard Stannard, Matt Rowe, and Jimmy Somerville for his second solo effort, which was kinda amazing. It sure kept me going back to him, finding so much love, so much joy, and so much of me in his music. This is the video for "Heartbeat", which made it to #1 on the US Billboard Dance/Club Play chart.
In 1999, Jimmy released a cool collection of Pop/Electronica/Dance music on Manage The Damage. While I featured the first single, "Dark Sky", in a previous post, I love the entire album so I had no problem picking "Here I Am" for this post.
In 2004, Jimmy released the album Home Again, an amazing collection of music that is an amazing part of my collection. The album included an amazing cover of the great song, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". Sadly, no video was made for it, but there was a great video for the third single off the album, "Come On".
Jimmy has brought such great music to my ears, both his, and started me on the quest for more LGBT artists. And going to live shows, or supporting those artists in any way I could. That includes buying their albums, not poaching them off the internet. But it saddens me to say that The Singles Collection 1984-1990, Dare To Love and Home Again are not available on iTunes or Amazon at this time. I guess I bought import copies for me. But you can purchase Manage The Damage on iTunes and Amazon Also, Jimmy has just released a new EP, Solent. It is available on both iTunes and Amazon. It would make an amazing gift to yourself, a way to celebrate Jimmy's birthday! I do hope I get to see him performing live again, or fulfill a dream of being able to interview him at some point. Until then, I have some great music to keep me happy!