R.I.P. Larry Steinbachek

Larry Steinbachek, former keyboardist of the ’80s British synthpop trio Bronski Beat, has died at the age of 56 after a short battle with cancer. Steinbachek’s sister, Louise Jones, said he passed away last month with his family and friends at his bedside according to BBC News.

Steinbachek formed the group along with Jimmy Somerville and Steve Bronski in 1983, and they broke the pop charts with songs including “Smalltown Boy” and “Why?” and a cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” with Marc Almond. The trio was one of the early groups to raise awareness for gay rights; “Smalltown Boy” was about the difficulty of growing up homosexual in a small, intolerant community, and the sleeve for their debut album The Age Of Consent listed the ages of consent for gay men in numerous different countries.

After Somerville left the group in 1985 to form the Communards, Steinbachek and Bronski continued as a duo until Steinbachek moved to Amsterdam in 1994 to work on solo music and stage musicals.