The Great Leap Forward was a band formed by former Big Flame member Alan Brown, when his previous band split up in 1987. Great Leap Forward was essentially a solo project, although various musicians were added for live performances. The sound was more melodic and danceable than his earlier band, still with overtly political lyrics. After three 12" EPs on Ron Johnson Records, that label's collapse led to a move to Communications Unique for debut album Don't Be Afraid Of Change, receiving critical acclaim. A final 12" single Heart and Soul was followed by the LP compilation Season 87-88 which largely comprised tracks from the three Ron Johnson singles, and the CD compilation Great Leap Forward before Brown called it a day in early 1990. A mini-LP, Tolerance & Respect had been planned for a Spring 1990 release but was shelved.
In October 2008, Brown as The Great Leap Forward released a CD of new material, Finished Unfinished Business. In May 2012, a new album, This Is Our Decade of Living Cheaply and Getting By was released.
Brown also plays bass in Sarandon.