Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy

The year 2006 seems to be the absolute peak for the song Smalltown Boy by Bronski Beat. Not so much the original song, which was released in 1984, but as far as covers and sampling of the song goes.

One of the first instances for the song to pop up is by the Real McCoy’s song Automatic Lover in 1995. It only briefly uses the replayed riff of the original. In 1997 Legato makes a rather simple dance cover.  In 1999 Brice does a cover called Small Town Boy (Runaway)O.R.N. does a cover in 2004.

Around 2006 samples and (half-)covers of the song start piling up. Thomas Cajal releases Runaway in 2005 that borrows the tune and Jimmy sommerville’s vocals. A German rap-group K.I.Z. uses a sample in their 2005 rather rude track Hurensohn (whore’s son).  By 2006 the hits start rolling in. Supermode releases a hit song titled Tell Me Why in 2006 that leans heavily on the original. Swedish singer September releases the song Cry For You in 2005 that becomes a hit in 2006 and it too borrows from the Bronski Beat song. Scream Club releases Life of a Heartbreaker in 2006 which features the same riff but played with old school game computer sounds. By 2007 even Daft Punk catches up an incorporates the riff in their live set. Greek Cypriot singer Mixalis Xatzigiannis subtly uses  the riff in his 2007 song Etsi Se Thelo. In 2007 José González did a cover for the B-side of Down the Line. Sharon Corr (of The Corrs) did a cover.

For some strange reason, there’s also lots of metal covers for the song. In 1999 metal band Depressive Age does a metal cover. Another metal cover is recorded by Paradise Lost in 2002. Atrocity did a cover version in 2008. Female-fronted metal band Delain did a cover in 2009.

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