Let’s jump back to the 80s again. Why not!
Here is a band who is probably best known to most for three songs… “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” made famous by The Breakfast Club… “Alive and Kicking” and “Sanctify Yourself.”
Sadly, that was the extent for me, too until recently. I mean I had obviously heard them back in the day and knew other tracks… but I did not truly listen and explore like I really should have.
I am a child of John Hughes… No, not literally, but I grew up on his films and his soundtracks. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” was one of my go-to songs… I’d put it on mix tapes… It would be in my best of lists… I loved it, yet oddly I did not dig deeper. I took things as they were back then, and did not ask nearly enough questions. Big mistake.
(Trivia, thanks to Wikipedia… the song was not written by the band but Keith Forsey (Academy Award Winner for “Flashdance… What a Feeling” with Irene Cara), and was first offered to Billy Idol and Bryan Ferry!)
Thanks to Rob and his good pal Alan (now mine, too) the world of British Rock and Pop was thrown wide open. Bands I had a superficial understanding of are being explored and gold is being discovered. Simple Minds from Scotland is one such band you need to go back to. Dexy’s Midnight Runners is another. Seriously. There are gems in those back catalogs.
Simple Minds – Once Upon a Time (1985)
1985 was a very good year… The Breakfast Club came out and the band instantly exploded in the US with their first and only #1 hit here.
They are not easy to put into the big categories of the day… Were the New Wave like The Cars… perhaps yes, in their early incarnations…. Were they Progressive like Genesis, Yes and ELP (Emerson, Lake and Palmer)… I don’t think so, not really.
There is definitely that 80s synth going on, but as they moved into more guitar driven/rock tunes, you can hear U2 and that great and pure Scottish and Irish rock. No coincidence considering that famed and prolific producer Steve Lillywhite (Boy, October, War and so many others) produced 1984’s Sparkle in the Rain… the album where their current sound really came into focus.
Check this video out of their classic “Waterfront” (link from Alan) to see just how big of a stadium band they really were.
With Once Upon A Time, David Bowie, Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music are all in there. But Simple Minds really defines their own sound, too.
Hard to isolate a few off this commercial gem, but highlights for me are:
“Once Upon a Time” – I love the way Jim Kerr’s voice breaks… raw and real passion.
“All the Things She Said”
“Alive and Kicking” – Great anthem of my youth.
“Sanctify Yourself” – A huge hit and one of my faves.