Jimmy Somerville surprises street singer in Berlin singing “Smalltown Boy”

A neat video from Berlin of a street singer singing Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy” as Jimmy Somerville, the group’s lead singer, happens to walk by with his dog, and suddenly Somerville is singing alongside him!


As the German finishes playing, he turns to Somerville and excitedly says, “Is it, is it you?” Somerville replies: “It’s me.” The singer says, “Oh my god.”

And here’s Jimmy Somerville back when the song came out in 1984:


Here’s the video someone shot of it, it’s really cute:

And here’s the original from Bronsky Beat:

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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12 Responses to “Jimmy Somerville surprises street singer in Berlin singing “Smalltown Boy””

  1. guido says:

    I tend to agree with you.
    1) why there’s somebody taking a video (with decent view and quality morover) at somebody doing something not that special?
    2) Why, if we are in Berlin, the guy immediately speaks English to this to the moment unknown person who joins him

    I mean… both things are certainly possible.. but what are the odds of those two things combined to the fact the original singer of the cover you’re playing is just taking a walk with his dog in the capital of another country and just stops by to sing with you? Never say never, but the whole thing looks to “perfect” for me.

  2. karmanot says:


  3. Island In The Sky says:

    That’s really cool. I remember when that song originally came out. Somerville (still!) has a great voice – but how odd that he would be there at just the right time!

  4. GarySFBCN says:

    Uh…it was texting/Twitter that was the driver of Arab Spring. It was an area of study in one of my social media marketing classes. And I am fully aware of how video has changed things for the better.

    Regardless, I still believe that this was staged.

  5. MyrddinWilt says:

    Shooting video because thats what the phone does.

    More video is being shot each day today than was being made in a year before the cameraphone appeared.

    The videophone is the real driver of the Arab Spring. Every occasion of police abuse becomes a potential Rodney King event. The Internet is a driver of course, and You Tube. But the real driver is putting all those cameras in people’s hands so that they are always carrying a recording device. The election protests took place in Iran despite the control of the Internet there as we could exfiltrate the material on USB sticks and broadcast it back into the country via the BBC and Al Jazzera.

  6. mirror says:

    thanks john. I enjoy these kinds of videos. For someone playing with such passion, to have the original interpreter join in must have seemed magical. I love magic in everyday life.

  7. BeccaM says:

    If it was fake, they’d have remembered to hold the friggin’ camera sideways while shooting the video.

  8. heimaey says:

    Looks like he’s living there. That’s probably his dog.

  9. Yes, why would a tourist shoot a video of something silly?

  10. GarySFBCN says:

    Sorry, it seems fake. The German guy sucks – why would there be ANYONE shooting video of him?

  11. GarySFBCN says:

    Sorry, it seems fake. The German guy sucks – why would there be ANYONE shooting video of him?

  12. keirmeister says:

    OK, that is totally awesome! What’s Jimmy up to in Berlin?

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