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the amsterdam ep: information

  • The band planned to tour America in October but the album had not sold well and so a gap was left in the schedule.

  • "We didn't do America. We wanted to focus on where the album was strong. We had plenty to focus on. I wasn't surprised at all that America didn't get it - we think we knew that. Europe was our market, which was plainly obvious with the music we'd been making." - Charlie - Street Fighting Years Super Deluxe

  • "It was a world tour over a period of time, which mentally I'd budgeted for, and they cancelled the American leg of it. It left a massive hole in the timeframe to go and write a new record. It took us over a year to write Street Fighting Years - I was angry we weren't doing the best we could, with that what was on the table right now. Why should we make another record when you're sitting on a great record?." - Mick - Street Fighting Years Super Deluxe

  • Instead the trio of Jim, Charlie and Mick, along with Steve Lipson, relocated to Wisseloord recording studio, near Amsterdam, to begin work on a new album. They started composing material for the new album.

  • They also worked on some covers, ideas which interested the band, just to try them out and see how they worked. "Steve was just so fast in making something that you were going to throw away sound amazing; even if you had a rough idea in your head, Steve could turn it around, and encourage you to go down that road, and that really came when we did Sign O' The Times. I was throwing all this rubbish at him and he made it work." - Mick - Street Fighting Years Super Deluxe

  • "A Scottish band to do Jerusalem! But what an amazing tune; one of the most brilliant songs. We are unabashed to do things that we love and like – sometimes just the joy of doing it should be joy enough." - Jim - Street Fighting Years Super Deluxe

  • Why did Virgin feel the need for a fourth single? The European Tour had finished and only a handful of dates remained in Australia. The record company also had nothing to issue: all the recorded bonuses had been released. There was an option to use live material, but it hadn't been mixed, and everyone was holding back on that for Verona. But, for some reason, Virgin wanted a final single from the album, and the recording of two covers from the Wisseloord sessions sealed the deal.

  • The chatty press release suggested the single's purpose was twofold - to promote the far-flung Australian tour and to neatly bookend the Street Fighting Years era with another EP.

  • To boost its chart position, it was issued on six formats, the greatest number of commerical formats for any Simple Minds single. (Normally, Virgin issued four formats and some form of limited edition, but The Amsterdam EP pushed the boat out further, and there were two limited editions).

  • There was also some confusion between the formats. What was the lead track? Let It All Come Down or Sign O' The Times?

  • The tie-in with the album was Let It All Come Down, John Giblin's ballad, which was edited down as one of the A-sides. The other A-side was Sign O' The Times, which was also edited down for the 7" and cassette singles, but appeared as a full length single for the 12" and 3" CD.

  • Sign O' The Times was remixed by C. J. Mackintosh, an up-and-coming remixer and DJ, who'd found fame with M/A/R/R/S, and would then take a residency at the Ministry Of Sound. As was now becoming standard for these releases, a limited edition gatefold 12" was produced, which included Mackintosh's remix. It also features a European Tour Poster, a large pop-out poster, which was glued to the interior of the gatefold, and opened up when the sleeve was opened.

  • Surprisingly a 5" CD, a second limited edition, was also issued which included the same tracks as the limited edition 12".

  • Some copies of the 7" were sent out as promos. These can be identified by compliment stickers on the front of the sleeve (as shown above by the blue sticker bottom right). Some also included press releases.

  • The promotional issues followed a now familar pattern: there was a white-label of the standard 12" which was housed in a black, die-cut sleeve; a 5" CD (which also included the BRUCE 4 catalogue numbering scheme after a blip with Kick It In); and another 12" for club and DJ play which included the full-length and remix of Sign O' The Times. This last promo was especially interesting as it was anonymous, just featuring Malcolm Garrett's green heart design as the label design.

  • The single was also issued in Europe where one of the most interesting versions of the 12" limited edition was issued. Someone seriously took their eye off the ball when it came to the artwork: the graphics were reversed so the blue lines of the various logos on either side of the sleeve now neatly crossed out or obscured the text; and the text advertising the gatefold and poster had to be covered with a sticker which just mentioned the remix. Very collectable for these reasons.

  • "We knew we were doomed to fail on Sign O' The Times because why cover one of the greatest songs ever made? We did it for fun, just as an experiment. The same for Jerusalem, really - for a song with such history, Jerusalem's melody is really quite playful. It was a fun idea to try, though I look back now and think 'That was a bit out there!'"- Charlie, Classic Pop Magazine, March 2020

  • It was Mick MacNeil's last single with the band as a fully fledged member of Simple Minds.

  • "I felt I'd peaked with the album. I got a snifter of where we wanted to go when we did the Prince track, it was really exciting. I wanted to make music with noises. Anything went then with the advances in technology. I loved working on that EP with Steve." - Mick - Street Fighting Years Super Deluxe

the amsterdam ep: quick reference
7"   The Amsterdam EP Virgin SMX 6
A1. Sign O' The Times[Edit](4:12)
B1. Let It All Come Down[Edit]     (3:37)
B2. Jerusalem(2:57)

MC   The Amsterdam EP Virgin SMXC 6
1-1. Let It All Come Down[Edit]     (3:37)
1-2. Sign O' The Times[Edit](4:12)
1-3. Jerusalem(2:57)

12"   The Amsterdam EP Virgin SMXT 6
A1. Let It All Come Down     (4:56)
B1. Sign O' The Times(5:37)
B2. Jerusalem(2:57)

3" CD   The Amsterdam EP Virgin SMXCD 6
1. Let It All Come Down     (4:56)
2. Sign O' The Times(5:37)
3. Jerusalem(2:57)

12"   The Amsterdam EP Virgin SMXTR 6
A1. Sign O' The Times[C.J. Mackintosh Mix]     (6:15)
A2. Jerusalem(2:57)
B1. Sign O' The Times(5:37)
B2. Let It All Come Down     (4:56)

CD   The Amsterdam EP Virgin SMXX 6
1. Sign O' The Times(5:37)
2. Let It All Come Down     (4:56)
3. Sign O' The Times[C.J. Mackintosh Mix]     (6:15)
4. Jerusalem(2:57)

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