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once upon a time: information

JK: "John Giblin came in on bass. He was amazing. It must have been hard for him because he was five or six years older than us. He'd played with Brand X and Peter Gabriel. He and Mel together was something."

CB: "Jimmy Iovine had pushed us. Jimmy was encouraging us to focus on songwriting. A song like Alive And Kicking is tailor-made for mass consumption."

JK: "There was never a meeting where we said, 'This is what we want and this is how we go for it,' nut we did love a challenge. It would have been too crass to say, 'We're going for America.' The colleges had made the previous records in the US, but it was like we were going to get our shot and, if we were, we'd better get it right. Our favourite records at the time would've been big productions like that on Springsteen's Born In The USA. We were tooling up for what we had previously failed at. We were good at getting what we wanted. We lost things along the way: Charlie and I grew up with our cult bands and we knew what it was like when we lost them. But we went for the deal - with a certain ambilvalence, it must be said. We must be the only band who had a No. 1 hit in America (Don't You (Forget About Me) and didn't include it on the following album."

Record Collector Interview
Record Collector #364
July 2009

"Released 33 years ago this very week, Once Upon A Time is the album that brought Simple Minds a level of success that truly went beyond our dreams. A kind of success in fact that all these years later we still partly live off, still finding it hard to believe that it brought us 3 songs that featured in the very top end of the Billboard singles charts - as well as top positions in countless countries worldwide. (The album itself achieved platinum status in myriad territories, sealing Simple Minds' position then as possibly one of the most popular bands of our generation.)"

"So far, so good then. Except that commercial glory was not matched with much critical glory. Particularly in the UK - Once Upon A time was given the cold shoulder by a whole host of journalists, who all felt that Simple Minds had seemingly become "too big for their boots." That we were being far too audacious etc., by courting what they believed was apparently a "sell-out" to American tastes. For them, "the rot" had somehow set in with the number one success of Don't You (Forget About Me). Their logic seemed to be that the more popular we became, the poorer we became as artists. And who were we to deny them their opinions - to which they were - and still are - entitled to?"

"Then again, you are not likely to see any written opinions about anything from most of those journalists who seemed to delight in taking a (metaphorical) axe to our art back in those days. The reason is that just about all of them are no longer in the journalistic profession. Their own careers petered out within a decade or so afterwards, even sooner in many cases. Sadder still, most of their publications that they wrote for are now in the great publishing graveyards. All just about went out business already a long time ago, their reputations now little more than an increasingly distant footnote within a faded history of pop culture. (I miss so many of those publications. I grew up reading them religiously, on a weekly basis. Simple Minds also owed plenty to them for the front page exposures etc. Some critics I valued as much as artists almost. Especially those that could articulate to me why I should love a record so much.)"

"No longer Alive And Kicking then? Plenty would alternately vouch that Simple Minds most certainly are? We in turn would thank them for that."

"I coincidentally heard two tracks from Once Upon A Time on radio during these past two days: All The Things She Said and Alive And Kicking respectively. What can I tell you? More than 3 decades later they struck me as still sounding like great, big, powerful, pop songs. Full of melody and with a creative vision that I reckon was hitting on some kind of peak."

"As for the live versions of those songs that we play with full heart every night on tour? Those anthems that never fail to leave audiences jumping up and down, as they sing their hearts out while accompanying us?"

"Well, how right it was of us to follow our muse back in 1985. To pursue the creative vision and style behind those songs that feature on Once Upon A Time."

"And how courageous likewise, to pay little attention to the naysayers when they were tripping over each other to declare that Simple Minds had chosen the wrong path."

"Same as it ever was!"

23rd October 2018

  • The album was remastered in 2002 as part of an extensive Virgin campaign. It was released as a limited edition vinyl replica CD and standard edition CD. This version remains on catalogue.

once upon a time: quick reference
LP    Once Upon A Time Virgin V 2364
A1. Once Upon A Time(5:44)
A2. All The Things She Said(4:16)
A3. Ghost Dancing(4:46)
A4. Alive And Kicking(5:24)
B1. Oh Jungleland(5:12)
B2. I Wish You Were Here(4:42)
B3. Sanctify Yourself(5:00)
B4. Come A Long Way(5:08)

MC    Once Upon A Time Virgin TCV 2364
1-1. Once Upon A Time(5:44)
1-2. All The Things She Said(4:16)
1-3. Ghost Dancing(4:46)
1-4. Alive And Kicking(5:24)
2-1. Oh Jungleland(5:12)
2-2. I Wish You Were Here(4:42)
2-3. Sanctify Yourself(5:00)
2-4. Come A Long Way(5:08)

CD    Once Upon A Time Virgin CDV 2364
1. Once Upon A Time(5:44)
2. All The Things She Said(4:16)
3. Ghost Dancing(4:46)
4. Alive And Kicking(5:24)
5. Oh Jungleland(5:12)
6. I Wish You Were Here(4:42)
7. Sanctify Yourself(5:00)
8. Come A Long Way(5:08)

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Alive And Kicking Sanctify Yourself

All The Things She Said Ghost Dancing