80s Pop Singer Jimmy Somerville Surprises German Street Musician as the Busker Sings Somerville’s Hit

The 80s saw a num­ber of hits by most­ly UK synth-pop and new wave bands with promi­nent gay mem­bers (whether their fans knew it or not) like Cul­ture Club, Soft Cell, Frankie Goes to Hol­ly­wood, and Wham!. One of the most impres­sive­ly tal­ent­ed singers on this bur­geon­ing 80s dance scene was Scot­tish musi­cian Jim­my Somerville who defined the tremu­lous falset­to dis­co sound of bands like Bron­s­ki Beat and the Com­mu­nards. Somerville’s first hit, 1984’s “Small­town Boy,” was some­thing of an ear­ly “It Gets Bet­ter” mes­sage cou­pled with a hard-edged dance-pop sound and a very auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal video (below). The song, writes All­mu­sic, dealt open­ly with Somerville’s sex­u­al­i­ty, “a recur­ring theme [in his work] that met with sur­pris­ing­ly lit­tle com­mer­cial resis­tance.”

Today, Somerville lives in Berlin with his dog, and he’s still got that tremen­dous set of pipes. A Berlin street musi­cian found this out recent­ly while busk­ing “Small­town Boy” on an acoustic gui­tar, and bystanders hap­pened to catch it on video (at top). As the young street per­former hits the cho­rus, up walks Somerville to casu­al­ly join in. The singer starts over and they fin­ish the song in har­mo­ny. The more cyn­i­cal cor­ners of the inter­net swear the whole thing’s staged, per­haps for a Somerville come­back, but I like to think it’s gen­uine serendip­i­ty, espe­cial­ly at the end as the Ger­man busker sud­den­ly has a flash of recog­ni­tion: “it’s you?” he asks. “It’s me,” says Somerville, “it’s a hit.”

via Gawk­er

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Lenny Kravitz Over­hears High School Kids Play­ing His Music and Sur­pris­es Them by Join­ing In

Street Artist Plays Leonard Cohen’s “Hal­lelu­jah” With Crys­tal Glass­es

Neil Young Busk­ing in Glas­gow, 1976: The Sto­ry Behind the Footage

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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  • Paul Redfern says:

    Of course it’s a set-up. The ‘busker’ is a well-known Berlin ‘face’ called Jonas “Mann” Gloger who at the time was pre­sent­ing a web show called Onkel Berni’s Butze (Uncle Berni’s pad).
    It’s as real as if Jim­my Kim­mel were busk­ing a Spring­steen num­ber in NYC, and Bruce were to ‘hap­pen’ to pass by and join in.

    Don’t just believe me. Here’s what his agency has to say about him: https://goo.gl/uNQJAZ

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