They formed in 1985 after singer Jimmy Somerville left his earlier band Bronski Beat to team up with classically-trained musician Richard Coles. Though mainly a pianist, Coles played a number of instruments and had been seen previously performing the clarinet solos on the Bronski Beat hit "It Ain't Necessarily So." Jimmy was renowned for his falsetto singing style, and the fact that he was openly gay.
The band had their first UK Top 20 hit in 1985 with the piano-based single "You Are My World." The following year they had their biggest hit with an energetic cover version of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes' soul classic "Don't Leave Me This Way" (in a version inspired by Thelma Houston's cover) which spent four weeks at number one and became the UK's biggest selling single of 1986. It featured Sarah-Jane Morris as a co-vocalist.
Later that year The Communards had another UK Top 10 hit with the single "So Cold the Night." In 1987 they released an album called Red which featured a cover version of the Jackson 5's hit "Never Can Say Goodbye" (in a version inspired by Gloria Gaynor's cover), which the Communards took to Number 4.
- List of number-one dance hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the US Dance chart