Online today a brand new remix of the classic Communards hit, ‘Don’t Leave Me Way’, from pop remix masterminds 7th Heaven. 8 minutes of bouncing four-four dynamite, with an extended intro, rich brass section, Jimmy Somerville’s unmistakeable vocals to the fore and Richard Coles’ ecstatic piano solo in all its glory.
Remix and production duo, 7TH HEAVEN (aka Jon Dixon and Andy Wetson) are among the world’s most in-demand commercial remix teams having remixed club hits for Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Little Mix, Kylie Minogue, Scissor Sisters, P!nk, Giorgio Moroder, Britney Spears, Erasure, Katy Perry, Take That, Whitney Houston, and many more.
The Communards seminal debut album is to be reissued on its 35th Anniversary this autumn by London Records. The duo’s iconic ‘Hi-NRG’ cover of Don’t Leave Me This Way gets this new remix from 7th Heaven as part of an expanded CD/Digital release, and there will be a limited edition vinyl release of the album, all available from 17th December.
Mixing pop and politics wasn’t exactly a revolutionary act in itself in 1985, but no mainstream chart pop act had ever done so with the fervency, purpose and personal passion as The Communards. From the message laid down in songs such as Reprise (acidly dedicated to Margaret Hilda Thatcher on release) or Breadline Britain’s condemnation of life under the Conservative government, right down to their stark, tongue in cheek, Soviet-styled artwork. Even the band’s name was taken from a group of 19th century Parisian revolutionaries.
“The Communards were more of a political outfit making music,” says frontman Jimmy Somerville who alongside Richard Coles delivered fiercely pro-gay rights and staunchly left-wing messages within an era-defining mix of glorious Hi-NRG pop and beautiful, piano-led melodicism; all held together and lifted skywards by the astonishing leaps and bounds of Somerville’s unmistakable counter-tenor voice.
To revisit the duo’s debut LP today is a wonderful reminder of just how special and transformative pop music can be. Take Disenchanted’’s melancholic pulse; the delicate, moonlit flourishes of ‘La Dolora’; the clear message in their reading of jazz standard ‘Loverman’ and of course, the soaring, evergreen rush of their cover of Gamble and Huff’s ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ – number one in the UK for six weeks, the biggest selling single of 1986 and still a song that can send joy pulsing through the veins of generations not even born when the pair first stormed the charts.
The band’s commercial success massively expanded their platform and the audience for the ideas and ideals.
“We were one of the only bands at that time that were openly and up-front and honestly dealing with this whole new dark period of gay politics and AIDS. We weren’t sitting on our hands.” recalls Somerville of the height of the band’s fame. “We felt it was our duty in a sense.”
The Communards were a band that led with their identity and ideas, driven by the hope that living their truth would help set others free. 35 years on that truth remains as important and inspirational as ever.
The CD and digital formats have been expanded to include some rarities, fan favourites and previously unreleased material. These include ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way (Gotham City mix part two) which Coles calls “my favourite thing that Jimmy and I did” and fan favourite, ‘Disenchanted (dance)’ remixed here by Mike Thorne. Also included is the only radio session the duo ever recorded with Janice Long in October 1985 on which they debuted previously unpublished tracks and the demo version of Summertime, the only recording in existence of this collaboration with Sarah Jane Morris. Stream and download here.