An English busker got the surprise of his life when popstar Jimmy Somerville walked by and spontaneously started singing along on his biggest hit “Smalltown Boy”. The busker was playing acoustic guitar and singing a baritone vocal line, when Somerville nonchalantly strolled by with his dog and added his instantly recognizable countertenor vocals.
The busker was visibly shaken up by Somerville’s appearance and quickly restarted the chorus so the pair could sing it together. Somerville, who was 52 at the time of the clip, clearly has not lost his golden touch and effortlessly nailed the vocal hook, as you can see below.
The duo’s vocals blend together in quite a natural way, as the original song has double-tracked high and low vocals which meld together. Somerville told the busker “well done” after the spontaneous jam on his song, and the busker thanked him before double checking whether it was really Somerville himself, which the star confirmed.
“Smalltown Boy” was the breakout hit for Somerville’s first band Bronski Beat. The group dropped the synth-pop tune in 1984 as the first single from their debut album The Age of Consent. The track went to number three in the UK and to number one in the Netherlands and Belgium. It has remained Somerville’s biggest song by far, across all of his different groups. Check out the original recording below.
Fans got a kick out of seeing the impromptu jam and the short clip has been viewed 13 million times on YouTube. Many said that the video is an instant pick-me-up, adding comments like “I have watched this clip at least 30 times. I come back here to put a smile on my face,” and “I don’t know how many times I’ve watched this but it makes me feel good every time.”
“Smalltown Boy” has had a long-lasting impact on dance music, being remixed in 1990 by Stephen Hague and re-recorded by Somerville in 2014 for the song’s 30 anniversary. The track has also been sampled by numerous big name acts such as Daft Punk and The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers.
If you would like to see more from Jimmy Somerville, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel. You can also visit his official website for more information.