Jimmy Somerville’s post-Bronski Beat group took their name from the group of French revolutionaries who held Paris between 18 March and 28 May in 1871.
Somerville (pictured at right) formed The Communards in 1985 with classically trained pianist Richard Coles, and many assumed the new group would take an even more determined political stance than the Bronskis’ gay activism.
The new group participated heavily in the Socialist Red Wedge movement but, graphics aside, you would never have known it from their records.
The first Communards release was an over-the-top 1986 remake of Don’t Leave Me This Way (a 1977 hit for Thelma Houston). The duo also released a breathless version of the Gloria Gaynor tune, Never Can Say Goodbye.
By the end of 1987, the duo had issued 34 singles and EPs. The deluge continued until Somerville quit to go solo.
Somerville’s first solo album maintained the non-stop modern dance momentum with catchy hi-NRG grooves and included a version of Sylvester’s You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).