Back in 1984, Bronski Beat, a newly formed UK pop group, stormed their native charts with their debut single “Smalltown Boy”. They repeated that success all over the continent, particularly in the Benelux region where the track went to Number 1.

Three decades later, Kate Ryan, one of Belgium’s most celebrated pop stars and its Eurovision 2006 singer, hopes to achieve similar success with her revamped version, entitled “Runaway”. Unfortunately her whitewashed rendition falls flat by the first minute, and then you still have two more to endure.

Originally composed for disenfranchised gay youth, the re-worked version fails to convey any message of hope. I appreciate that Kate deliberately took a lighthanded approach, but changing the song title erodes the song’s message even further. The video doesn’t really make a statement either. But at least Kate looks nice riding on a horse and sitting at a campfire with friends.

A handful of artists have covered the original track, including Brandon Flowers who sampled it in “I Can Change”.  Ryan’s version has the least impact of them all.

Kate Ryan – “Runaway”

 

Jimmy Sommerville’s breathtaking piano ballad version:

 

RUNAWAY LYRICS — Kate Ryan

You leave in the morning with everything you own
In a little black case
Alone on a platform, the wind and the rain
On a sad and lonely face

Mother will never understand
Why you had to leave
For the answers you seek will never be found at home

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away

Pushed around and kicked around, always a lonely boy
You were the one that they’d talk about around town
As they put you down

And as hard as they would try, they’d hurt to make you cry
But you’d never cry to them, just to your soul

Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away

Run away

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Daniel
Guest
Daniel

This is by far the worst cover of “Smalltown Boy” ever. Kate Ryan should be ashamed for daring to release this!

Iberian
Guest
Iberian

Well, I (kinda) have to rectify, it’s not that bad for a karaoke singer like Kate Ryan.

Piano
Guest
Piano

I also think that this version is really good, like both original and Kate’s one. Good job, well done!

Bart
Guest
Bart

I really like this version. I think it’s classy and laid-back.

Iberian
Guest
Iberian

This is pure crap. I really dislike her for messing up Desenchantée and now Small-town Boy. What a talentless effort.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Not a song that you should really try to cover…Deban is pretty much right throughout. I like Kate but her version does not really have anything to it.

davve
Guest
davve

I hope she returns to ESC,,,,,

Charles
Guest
Charles

This is for me the most meaningful LGBT-oriented song from the early 80s that had the bravery and the boldness to address this issue with the seriousness it deserved judging by the power of the melody and these remarkable heartfelt lyrics. Even the piano reprise done by Sommerville retains such emotion to the core. However, I am afraid Kate was not able to bring such qualities with her own version … she proved to be great when covering other songs like the ones from french songstress Mylene Farmer and the wonderful 80s French hit Voyage Voyage … but fails at… Read more »

Voyage
Guest
Voyage

Yeah, good song, you go kate.

Noka
Guest
Noka

“Unfortunately her whitewashed rendition falls flat by the first minute, and then you still have two more to endure”

What a stupid sh*t you wrote. It’s a really nice song, really. Good job Kate, wish success.

Antranig Shokayan
Editor

It’s pretty decent tbh…