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changeling: information

  • It's often stated that Arista didn't understand Real To Real Cacophony and therefore failed to promote it. Evidence of this can be found with its lone single, Changeling, which was released almost as a contractual obligation: it couldn't promote the album (as it was released two months too late) and it couldn't bolster any tour (as the band had just finished their UK tour).

  • If the Changeling single had been released prior to the album, then Kaleidoscope would've been the B-side. The song was written during the previous Life In A Day Tour and so was formally recorded during the album sessions - but it was always considered a bonus song.

  • Instead, whilst Arista dithered, Simple Minds were recorded live at Hurrah's in New York by The Old Grey Whistle Test on the 24th October 1979. These American dates were late-minute additions to the tour, prompted by The Old Grey Whistle Test being in New York, and arranged by legendary US promoter Ruth Polskey. Three songs were recorded at this late-night showcase (Factory, Changeling and Premonition), giving the band more options for B-sides.

  • Perhaps Arista delayed the single to allow Simple Minds to record the live material? If so, the delay was lengthened by Mick's concerns. Forced to borrow unfamilar synths for their US shows, he was unhappy with the live sound, so he returned to Ca Va Studios in Glasgow to record new keyboards. As the band had touring committments in Sweden and Denmark then he couldn't get to the studios until the next month.

  • Working with Brian Young (who oversaw some of the band's first demo recordings), he recorded new keyboard parts in early November. The final mix of Premonition wasn't committed to tape until the 9th November 1979. Oddly, the track included a burst of the previous song at the beginning. (This was fixed for all other releases.)

  • The following week, John Leckie was back in the studio, and put together a radio-friendly edit of the title track. Having now assembled the components of the master tape, it was probably decided to hold onto the single until January, rather than lose it in the Christmas rush.

  • The cover artwork was a picture of cables taken at Rockfield during the album sessions. The same picture, and many similar ones, were included on the inner sleeve of Real To Real Cacophony. The rear of the sleeve featured the New York skyline, a nod to the source of the live recording. Ruth Polskey also received an acknowledgement.

  • Meanwhile Bruce had put Zoom Records into cold storage, unable to negotiate a better deal with Arista. Therefore he formed Schoolhouse Management with Robert White to directly look after the band's affairs. Despite the paltry "Zoom Records Production" credit, the single was effectively an Arista release.

  • It failed to make an impression in the UK charts.

  • The band gigged sporadically during January and February, but returned to Europe for a longer tour in March. This included several dates in Germany and to promote the concerts, the single was issued in that country. It included the same tracks (but with a fixed Premonition) and featured a striking colourised photograph of the band - this first turned up on the inner sleeve of Real To Real Cacophony but was also used for the German tour posters. So it made sense for Arista to change the design for this release.

  • The edit of Changeling finally gained wider exposure when it was included on Celebrate: The Greatest Hits + in 2013. The live version of Premonition turned up earlier on the X5 box set of 2012.

changeling: quick reference
7"   Changeling Zoom Arista ARIST 325
A1. Changeling[Edit](3:26)
B1. Premonition[Live](5:45)

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