Don't Leave Me This Way

Album: The Communards (1986)
Charted: 1 40

Songfacts®:

  • Written by the soul songwriting team of Gamble & Huff (with Cary Gilbert), "Don't Leave Me This Way" was first recorded in 1975 by Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes; their version went to #5 in the UK. In America, it was a #1 hit for Thelma Houston in 1977 (in the UK, her version reached #13). The Communards decided to cover the song, as Jimmy Somerville loved Houston's disco version, while Richard Coles liked the Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes one.
  • This was dedicated to the Greater London Council (GLC), London's top administrative body, which was about to be abolished by Margaret Thatcher, a move that was drawing much criticism from left wing quarters.
  • In the UK this was the biggest-selling single of 1986, helped by the inclusion of an innovative 22:55 extended version.
  • The Communards were a UK duo formed in 1985 by ex Bronski Beat singer Jimmy Somerville and classically trained pianist Richard Coles. They named themselves The Communards after a group of 19th century French revolutionaries. They disbanded in 1988.
  • The female vocalist on this song is Sarah Jane Morris, also a jazz vocalist and actress. In 1992 she had a #1 hit in Italy with a cover of Barry White's "Never Never Gonna Give You Up."
  • The Communards version both added and omitted some parts. Jimmy Sommerville's verse, from "I can't survive, I can't stay alive" to "I'll surely miss you're tender kiss" and Sara Jane Morris' verse, "I Don't Understand" had a few other verses between them ("A broken man with empty hands," "It would be wrong to string along a love so true") and the parts "Believe" and "Don't satisfy me" were nonexistent. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mjn Seifer - England

Comments: 7

  • Naz from Twickenham, London, EnglandTony Blackburn, a well known radio DJ for many decades over here, said on BBC Radio 2 this month that Harold Melvin & the Bluenote's version was a cover of Thelma Houston's. WRONG! You'd think with all his experience he'd know. Hey ho. RIP Teddy Pendergrass (what a voice).
  • Melinda from AustraliaThe Communards version of Don’t Leave Me This way, defines the 1980’s for me. The song nails the spirit of the mid 1980’s. It had it all ..the techno beat, the galloping piano, The soulful ‘pleading for acceptance’ voice of jimmy Somerville. Like he did in Bronski Beat, singing Smalltown Boy.
    Whenever I hear it, his and The Communards Don’t Leave Me This Way, I remember going crazy with friends on the dance floor in clubs.
    Yeah it was a bit of the Gay communities anthem. But it crossed over and shot up the charts ...for everybody.
    We all figured jimmy Somerville was openly gay. (Yes, a contraversial issue back then) But we’d seen him in his song/video, Smalltown Boy, being booted out of home for being Gay ...so us younger generation accepted him. And empathised.
    And like Michael Jackson, he gave us great music in the 80’s. He disappeared off the charts far too soon. But I believe Jimmy Somerville developed a drinking problem. Which didn’t help. And By 1990 hip hop was well and truly established.
    Sarah Morris’ singing back up with jimmy Somerville on this song was so impressive. I was so happy they re-worked this old 70’s song and gave it new life. Cause it gave it ‘the better life’. And if The Communards didn’t new breathe life into it. It would have remained a 1970’s Disco hit. That was slow. And not half as fun.
  • Kramo from Toronto, CanadaThelma Houston's version...one of the best bass lines ever.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 2nd 1977, Thelma Houston performed "Don't Leave Me This Way" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #4 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; fifteen days later on April 17th it would peak at #1...
    {See the next post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 12th 1976, "Don't Leave Me This Way" by Thelma Houston entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 at position #85; and 18 weeks later on April 17th, 1977 it peaked at #1 {for 1 week} and spent almost a half-year on the Top 100 {24 weeks}...
    And on December 19th, 1976 it reached #1 {for 6 weeks} on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart...
    Then on February 13th, 1977 it also peaked #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Ms. Houston, born Thelma Jackson, will celebrate her 69th birthday come next May 7th {2015}.
  • Hot-shot from Austin, AustraliaYou mean you're searching info about Thelma's song? I am too!
  • John from Brisbane, United StatesWhen I first heard Thelma Houston sing this song I thought it was NOTHING.But this song just kept on going and going slowly to number one.This song was at number 10 in 1976 it went to number 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-and amazingly to the top position,most deservedly.
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