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silver box: information

  • A box set of rare material was on the cards back in 1990. Writing in Record Collector (April 1990, #128) Ben Barclay stated: "It has recently been rumoured that Virgin are planning to bring out a CD box set of the "Early Years", covering Johnny And The Self Abusers material, 1978 demo sessions and rare B-sides, plus albums ranging from Life In A Day through to Sons And Fascination. This would sell for around 35 with a limited CD set aimed at collectors. A Simple Minds video is also on the cards, most probably a live film of their Street Fighting Years tour."

  • (Although he later admitted that he made it all up).

  • The video eventually appeared as Verona whilst the B-sides idea transformed into the Themes Volumes.

  • In 1998, The Early Years 1977-78 quitely and quickly appeared, which collected together some of the band's early demo recordings. It was intended as a start of a series of archival recordings, but due to legal problems it was withdrawn.

  • The subject of a box set was brought by by Jim in 1999 whilst being interviewed by Todd Richards for his annual Some Sweet Day event. But it wasn't until 2000 that the idea was fleshed out: "I'm due to meet Steve Prichard from Virgin next week regarding that very subject. I like him a lot, he did a great job with [the] Roxy Music box set and a Genesis box set. He's got a lot of ideas, we've got a lot of ideas on top of that." Briefly, the idea was to celebrate the 25th year of Simple Minds in 2001.

  • Jim added: "I think I'd get it out because the way I see it if we don't look at kind of every scrap... I mean I know there has to be an editing process but... If we don't look at every scrap, if we don't do it, someone else will do it. And they'll do it poorly or shoddily. That's my attitude to it, try to find the rarities as well as. Because, well you know for people that already own everything there's that added pleasure of having something else."

  • In 2001, Virgin delivered the unexciting The Best Of, which turned out to be the start of an album remastering series. However, with the band busy with Neon Lights and Cry, the subject of a 25th anniversary box set went quiet.

  • By 2003, the idea had resurfaced and was more formed. The box set would include all the rarities that Virgin had the rights to: radio sessions, shows, TV appearances and outtakes. A more contenious issue was to drop the release of Our Secrets Are The Same as a separate album and package it in the box as well. However, the track listing and release date was changing weekly.

  • After the release of the Seen The Lights DVD in late 2003, the stage was set for the box set. The title was finally confirmed as A History and dates were set. Originally due to coincide with the band's festival tours, the box slipped to September.

  • By July, the name had changed to Silver Box. Jim mentioned that A History was a boring title.

  • Billy Sloan was originally pencilled in to write the sleeve notes (a task he'd already performed for The Early Years 1977-78 and The Best Of) but due to work commitments, he was unable to do so. Instead, the group's long-term biographer, Alfred Bos wrote the essay instead.

  • Marlin Hanlin trawled through Glasgow looking for pictures and memorabilia for the 76-page booklet. Band members' personal archives and that of Virgin Records were used for the illustrations.

  • The first published listing of the track listing included War Babies [Bascombe Mix] as the final song, but this was eventually dropped. Another demo, entitled In Every Heaven also disappeared; as did the live version of Biko.

  • Despite the press release claiming that all the tracks were exclusive Stand By Love, Banging On The Door, See The Lights, Belfast Child and Ghostrider had been previously released the B-sides of Stand By Love and Real Life. Additional tracks also appeared on the fan-club only Real Live 91 release.

  • Promos (consisting of 5 CDRs in typed paper sleeves with a hardcopy of the press release) started circulating on the 1st August. This was followed by a ten track sampler CD.

  • Copies were distributed on the 15th October in Europe. By the 18th, the set was on sale in the UK, with the stock quickly selling out. Virgin were quick to start manufacturing more copies, but some online retailers, unable to meet their customers' orders, cited 'manufacturing faults' as a cause of the delay - which was rubbish.

  • However, there were some problems with some copies i.e. discs missing and some pages in the booklet inserted upside down.

  • The European versions were Copy Protected.

silver box: quick reference
CD #1   1979-1980 Virgin
1.   Life In A Day[Live](3:51)
2.Chelsea Girl[Live](4:52)
3.Here Comes The Fool[Live](4:32)
4.Changeling[Session]    (3:59)
6.Citizen (Dance Of Youth)[Session](2:53)
8.I Travel[Demo](3:52)
10.Thirty Frames A Second[Demo](5:30)
12.Capital City[Demo](5:33)
13.New Warm Skin[Demo](4:20)
14.Constantinople Line[Demo](4:41)
15.Careful In Career[Demo](6:18)

CD #2   1981-1985 Virgin
1.   The American[Demo](4:03)
2.Life In Oils[Demo](4:19)
3.Sweat In Bullet[Demo](4:33)
4.Love Song[Demo](5:00)
5.Promised You A Miracle[Session](4:24)
6.In Trance As Mission[Session](4:27)
7.Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)[Session](5:19)
8.Glittering Prize[Session](4:22)
9.Hunter And The Hunted[Session](5:53)
10.The Kick Inside Of Me[Session](5:56)
11.New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) - Take Me To The River[Live](12:32)
12.Don't You (Forget About Me)[Rehearsal](7:25)

CD #3   1985-1991 Virgin
1.   Waterfront[Live](10:48)
3.Book Of Brilliant Things[Live](7:27)
4.Once Upon A Time[Live](8:07)
5.All The Things She Said[Live](5:46)
6.Alive And Kicking[Live](7:39)
7.Sanctify Yourself[Live](5:56)
8.Mandela Day[Live](5:10)
9.Real Life[Live](5:05)
10.See The Lights[Live](4:52)

CD #4   1991-1995 Virgin
1.Travelling Man[Live](5:13)
2.East At Easter[Live](4:22)
3.Banging On The Door[Live](5:38)
4.Stand By Love[Live](4:35)
5.Oh Jungleland[Live](7:00)
6.King Is White And In The Crowd[Live](4:20)
7.Big Sleep[Live](5:18)
8.Let There Be Love[Live](5:42)
10.Belfast Child[Live](9:02)
11.She's A River[Live](4:40)
12.Up On The Catwalk[Live](4:40)

CD #5   Our Secrets Are The Same Virgin
1.   Swimming Towards The Sun(4:32)
2.Jeweller To The Stars(3:27)
4.Death By Chocolate(3:35)
5.Waiting For The End Of The World(3:25)
6.Neon Cowboys(3:51)
7.She Knows(4:07)
9.Happy Is The Man(4:23)

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