The Communards  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Communards were a British pop duo of the 1980s, taking their name from the communards.


They formed in 1985 after singer Jimmy Somerville left his earlier band Bronski Beat to team up with classically-trained musician Richard Coles. Though mainly a pianist, Coles played a number of instruments and had been seen previously performing the clarinet solos on the Bronski Beat hit "It Ain't Necessarily So." Also with Dave Renwick, bass player, who also played with Bronski Beat. Somerville was well-known for his falsetto singing style, and the fact that he was openly gay.

The band had their first UK Top 30 hit in 1985 with the piano-based single "You Are My World." The following year they had their biggest hit with an energetic cover version of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes' soul classic "Don't Leave Me This Way" (in a version inspired by Thelma Houston's cover) which spent four weeks at number one and became the UK's biggest selling single of 1986 it also made the US top 40. It featured Sarah Jane Morris as a co-vocalist.

Later that year The Communards had another UK Top 10 hit with the single "So Cold the Night." In 1987 they released an album called Red, which featured a cover version of the Jackson 5's hit "Never Can Say Goodbye" (in a version inspired by Gloria Gaynor's cover), which the Communards took to Number 4.

They split in 1988 and Somerville began a solo career. Coles followed his Christian leanings and, after spells as a journalist for the Times Literary Supplement and Catholic Herald, he was ordained in the Church of England, spending time as the curate of St Botolph's (The Stump) in Boston, Lincolnshire. He is now the assistant priest at St Paul's Knightsbridge and Chaplain to the Royal College of Music.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Communards" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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