Following the release earlier this year of the acclaimed Sparkle In The Rain deluxe box (“[an] impressive box set.” **** Q Magazine), in November and December, Universal Catalog will continue their restoration of Simple Minds’ eclectic and pioneering catalog, with the release of The Vinyl Collection 79-84 and the Once Upon A Time CD and 2 CD Deluxe Edition.
The Vinyl Collection 79-84 brings together the band’s first seven albums – Life In A Day, Real To Real Cacophony, Empires and Dance, Sons and Fascination, Sister Feelings Call, New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) and Sparkle In The Rain – in one deluxe box. All of these albums have been remastered at Abbey Road and will be available on heavyweight 180-gram vinyl.
This incredibly prolific and pioneering period is seen as one of the greatest in rock music history, as Simple Minds went from predominately post-punk, glam roots (Life In A Day) through innovative Krautrock and dub-inspired studio experimentation (Real To Real Cacophony)– described by Bobby Gillespie as “really hard European disco”), into a fascination with European culture, with the influence of the likes of Neu! and Kraftwerk feeding into their third album, Empires and Dance, in just a mere two years. Exploring the use of sequencing, more progressive, textured soundscapes, soundtracking a lyrical journey through European culture and politics, Empires and Dance’s industrial sound was to prove ahead of its time, pre-empting later works by the likes of Cabaret Voltaire.
1981’s Sons and Fascination and Sister Feelings Call was the band’s first release on Virgin Records. The release was, in fact, two albums, with the latter initially included as a limited bonus disc and later released as an album in its own right. Working with producer Steve Hillage, the band created the perfect symmetry between their previous album and elements of prog rock, which, bar fellow imaginative artists such as Magazine and PiL, many of their contemporaries were still willfully dismissive of. Following exposure to a much wider audience, thanks to a Peter Gabriel tour support, the single ‘Love Song’ was an international hit. Both albums were to prove a massive influence on the dance revolution of the ’80s and ’90s, particularly Sister Feelings Call‘s “Theme For Great Cities,” which proved so enduring, the band re-recorded it as a B-side 10 years later.
1982’s New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) was the album which began the band’s crossover as a major force in the pop music of the decade, reaching no.3 on the UK album chart. Working with producer Peter Walsh, the band was able to realize the sophisticated, accessible pop sound – whilst continuing their quest for experimentation – they were striving for. This achievement was reflected in three incredible and successful singles: ‘Promised You A Miracle,’ ‘Glittering Prize’ and ‘Someone, Somewhere (In Summertime)’. The album even included a guest appearance from the legendary jazz keyboardist Herbie Hancock (‘Hunter and The Hunted’).
Originally released in February 1984, Sparkle In The Rain was Simple Minds’ sixth studio album and, following 1982’s crossover album New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84), the one to cement their commercial success, giving them their first UK number 1 (as well as a top 20 album in Australia, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland). The album went on to be certified double platinum in the UK. The illustrious lyrics and the political and personal love songs were matched by throbbing synth-beats and piano flourishes, dominating new wave guitar chimes and swooning bass lines. Kerr’s song writing thrived on the band’s striving amidst a new emerging sound and direction. The album cemented Simple Minds’ reputation as one of the major bands of the 1980s and prepared the groundwork for the worldwide hit album Once Upon A Time.
There’s no doubting the lasting, cultural impact of these albums, from the time of their release during the birth of the new wave electro scene in the late 1970s, through the dance scene of the ’80s and ’90s, to the music of the Manic Street Preachers and the recent sound of The Horrors’ Skying album, making them five of the most vital albums of the post-punk period and the last 35 years.
Originally released in October 1985, Once Upon A Time became Simple Minds’ most successful album to date, selling two million copies in two months, hitting the top spot in the UK and making the top 10 in America. It spawned four top 20 singles and launched a fifteen-month-long world tour that kept Simple Minds’ name in the music weeklies for most of 1986. With Jimmy Iovine and Bob Clearmountain providing a production dream team, and Anton Corbijn contributing to its instantly recognizable artwork, then Once Upon A Time had all the attributes of a classic 1980s album.
“Alive And Kicking” was the obvious first choice of single and its release preceded Once Upon A Time by a month. The new sound, artwork and video indicated what was to come and whilst the single reached the same chart position as its predecessor in the UK, it just slipped short of the top spot in America, stalling at number three. But Once Upon A Time easily eclipsed Sparkle In The Rain when released in October 1985, shifting two million copies in two months.
In support of the album, Simple Minds undertook their longest and biggest tour yet, beginning in the USA in October 1985 (kicking off at Poughkeepsie on the 31st) and visiting mainland Europe, the UK, the USA again (now with The Call as support), Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. This included a series of massive outdoor summer concerts at Ibrox, Milton Keynes Bowl and Torhout-Werchter. Their first three top 10 singles from the album were signposts detailing the progression of the tour, and the fourth, Ghost Dancing, was released as the tour wound up, all profits being donated to Amnesty International. As Simple Minds took a well earned rest, after years of relentless writing, recording and touring, Virgin released the lavishly packaged Live In The City Of Light, a massive live souvenir of Once Upon A Time recorded over several nights at Le Zenith in Paris, which earned them their third successive UK number one.
“When I think of our most complete albums,” said Kerr. “I would say New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) is definitely a complete album – it just feels very complete to me from start to finish; and I don’t think I’d change anything on Once Upon A Time and I wouldn’t change anything on Big Music. They, for me, are the most complete albums. Someone might say ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ should’ve been included; and when you think about it, leaving it off is rather eccentric thing to do – you wouldn’t get away with that now. It would’ve sold double the amount of copies though! But it’s very complete: the artwork, everything about it, it is bang on.”
To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of its release, Simple Mind’s classic album Once Upon A Time will be released on December 4th as a standard CD and a 2 CD Deluxe Edition. The remastered standard edition contains the full original remastered album, including the singles “Sanctify Yourself,” “All The Things She Said” and the timeless “Alive and Kicking.” The 2 CD Deluxe edition features the full original remastered album, as well as 13 single mixes, B-Sides and alternate versions, four of which have been previously unreleased.
LP ONE – Life In A Day
Life In A Day
All For You
LP TWO – Real To Real Cacophony
Real To Real
Citizen (Dance Of Youth)
Carnival (Shelter In A Suitcase)
Calling Your Name
LP THREE – Empires And Dance
Today I Died Again
This Fear Of Gods
Twist / Run / Repulsion
Thirty Frames A Second
LP FOUR – Sons And Fascination
In Trance As Mission
Sweat In Bullet
70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall
Boys From Brazil
This Earth That You Walk Upon
Sons And Fascination
Seeing Out The Angel
LP FIVE – Sister Feelings Call
Theme For Great Cities
20th Century Promised Land
Wonderful In Young Life
League Of Nations
Careful In Career
Sound In 70 Cities
LP SIX – New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
Someone Somewhere In Summertime
Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel
Promised You A Miracle
Somebody Up There Likes You
New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
Hunter And The Hunted
King Is White And In The Crowd
LP SEVEN – Sparkle In The Rain
Up On The Catwalk
Book Of Brilliant Things
Speed Your Love To Me
East At Easter
White Hot Day
“C” Moon Cry Like A Baby
The Kick Inside Of Me
Shake Off The Ghosts
Once Upon A Time – 2 CD Deluxe Edition | CD
- Once Upon A Time
- All The Things She Said
- Ghost Dancing
- Alive And Kicking
- Oh Jungleland
- I Wish You Were Here
- Sanctify Yourself
- Come A Long Way
CD 2: (Single mixes, B-sides and alternates)
- Don’t You (Forget About Me)
- A Brass Band In Africa
- Don’t You (Forget About Me) [Extended Version]
- A Brass Band In African Chimes
- Alive And Kicking [Edit]
- Alive And Kicking [Instrumental]
- Up On The Catwalk [Live] (Barrowland, Glasgow: 5th January 1985)
- Alive And Kicking [7″ Remix Edit] PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
- Alive And Kicking [12″ Remix] PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
- Alive And Kicking [Kervorkian 12″ Remix] PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
- Sanctify Yourself [Edit]
- Sanctify Yourself [Instrumental]
- Sanctify Yourself [Alternative Edit] PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.