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I was late to the party with this one, but Universal did issue a limited edition of one-track CD promos for the For One Night Only single.

They reproduced the full colour design for its simple wrap-around sleeve but everything else was minimal: only track information was included on the rear of the sleeve, and the CD only included the full length version of the song.

Another part of the discography I haven't got around to properly document (yet) are the promotional CDs issued before the release of each Super Deluxe box-set.

In general, there's usually a set of CDs which feature all the material from the box-set itself and a sampler CD of choice cuts from across all the discs. The release of Street Fighting Years Super Deluxe was a little different: single track CDs were issued of Waterfront (Live) and This Is Your Land (Edit).

The rather odd This Is Your Land promotional CD has been added to the discography. Odd, insofar, as why would you promote the box-set with just an edit of this particular song? And odd, because the artwork is off-centre, strangely cropped and revealing more of the images at the edges.

Archive press releases from the Real To Real Cacophony period have now been added to the site. These are mostly concerned Real To Real Cacophony tour but have helped flesh out a great number of previously unknown details and clarify many of these early tour dates.

For instance, the band's second night in New York was prompted by their successful night at Hurrah's. This led to a logistical dash back to Europe to make it in time to get the ferry to mainland Europe for their European concerts.

Also it was revealed how Mick MacNeil was unhappy with the sound of his synths at these American concerts and so recorded new parts, using his standard set-up, at CaVa Studios in November 1979, before the final mixes were made.

With archival documents like these old press releases, and having access to various other archives, it's now possible to reappraise the band's previous releases. Rather than document them from the consumer's angle (as I've done in the past), it's now possible to look at the tape trail, and figure out the record company and band's plans at the time. With that in mind, I've returned to the Life In A Day and Chelsea Girl single and added new information; likewise for the Life In A Day album.

This has also revealed what a 'weird' release Changeling was. Unfortunately a press release still hasn't turned up for this single, but the question remains: why was it issued in January? It missed the boat to promote the album and also the band's UK tour (which ran from the previous November to December). Simple Minds really weren't doing much public work in January and February 1980 - a few shows here and there - so it's a mystery.

Some 'odd' items turned up whilst reappraising the She's A River single. These escaped from various US-based studios and some emerged from Virgin America. What's odd is that they featured different mixes of the album tracks - normally such session work would've remained under lock and key. Why were these CDs and cassettes made and distributed?

The answer is the Westlake Master:

The 'final version' of Good News From The Next World was committed to tape at Westlake Studios on the 15th July 1994. It included all the album tracks and edits of She's A River, Night Music and Hypnotised. Cassette and CD copies were made over the next few days and distributed to record executives - these were the source of these 'odd' items which have since turned up.

Obviously the sequencing is different from the final album. It's also a completely different mix and many of the songs sound 'different' to the released version. She's A River, for example, is slightly slower, and lacks the energy and punch of the final mix.

Virgin obviously thought the same way and requested further work. Tom Lord Alge was brought in and remixed and re-sequenced the whole album in August 1994 - and this was the version that was eventually released. The Westlake Master remains an interesting curio in the band's recording history and those who have these 'escaped' CDs and cassettes have a rare glimpse into the recording history of the album.

So, with that in mind, the She's A River single release has been rewritten.

Other updates to the discography include a rare French cassette single for Let There Be Love which was issued in a different sleeve and longbox.

Mick recently appeared on Tartan Tunes (Facebook link). Whilst he talked about Simple Minds, the focus was really upon his accordion playing, and how his roots in the instrument and traditional Scottish music influenced some of Simple Minds' biggest hits.

He then hooked up his accordion and revealed how New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84), Alive And Kicking and Belfast Child (with a Rod Stewart interlude) were shaped by the instrument.

(It's interesting contemplating how Acoustic would've turned out if Mick was involved. This video gives an idea).

Mick also made a second appearance on Pro Synth Network LIVE! back in October.

This time the conversation was orientated around classic keyboards. Mick introduced the keyboards in his collection, played a number of solos and talked about the evolution of some of the songs. This included short performances of Alive And Kicking, Close To You by The Carpenters, variations on Brass Band In Africa, how New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) was partly inspired by accordion playing and Paddy's Leather Breeches, This Earth That You Walk Upon and Waterfront, They even managed to fit in several questions about his time with Simple Minds.

It's a long interview - about an hour at the beginning - and well worth listening to.

S.U Building, Edmonton, Canada
October 31st, 1981

"Booked to play a University ballroom in Saskatchewan, we realised at soundcheck that we would in fact be playing a 'Halloween Dance.' A drunken one at that and a pretty rowdy one too, with fist fights in the crowd breaking out near the front of the stage every few songs. Within an increasingly pointless situation and just as the police arrived to bring order, we decided to cut the set by 15 minutes."

"Dispirited to such a degree, we had reckoned that no one would care or possibly even notice, given the ongoing mayhem in the hall?"

"Not so!"

"Within little time at all someone was banging at our dressing room door, shouting all manner of doom laden threats, if we did not 'get back on stage and play the rest of the set as contracted.'"

"Initially ignoring the ranting voice, then eventually tiring of the kerfuffle, after about 5 minutes we decided to open the locked door and find out who was responsible. Wow! There in front of us - stood the event promoter. Eyes bulging and in 'mid rant' with spit emanating from his mouth, demanding to be taken seriously while seemingly oblivious to the fact that he was dressed as Dracula - fake blood dripping from his lips and in full make-up, including ridiculous protruding fangs.Far from taking him seriously, as he demanded?"

"To this day it is still one of the funniest incidents experienced in our travels."

"As for what happened next? Well, the rest of that evening got quite blurry. Having opened a bottle of whisky, we invited our 'Vampire friend' to calm down and share a glass, after which a few of us then got in a taxi with him still dressed as Dracula and headed to a Halloween party in a house somewhere in another part of town - where I do recall having 'a real ball.'" - Jim, 29th October 2021

Sparkle In The Rain HMV 1921 Centenary Issue

This year marks a full century since the first HMV store opened its doors at 363 Oxford Street in London, and on July 24 we'll be celebrating our 100th birthday in style with a brand new and exclusive range of limited edition vinyl just for you...

As part of our birthday celebrations we're pleased to announce the new 1921 Centenary Edition range, for which we have carefully curated a selection of the finest albums and soundtracks from the last 100 years and had them specially pressed onto some beautiful coloured vinyl - all of which will be available exclusively in HMV stores on Saturday November 13th and from at 4PM the same day. As ever, our exclusives will be available on a first come, first served basis... and when they're gone, they're gone!

If the early output of Scottish rock outfit Simple Minds had cast them as new wave outsiders, their experimental, ever-shifting sound had, by the time of 1982's New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84), begun to evolve into something a little more accessible, their sixth album finally earning the band their first real commercial breakthrough.

Its follow-up Sparkle in the Rain arrived a year later and saw them settling into their creative stride with hits like Waterfront, their fluid sound solidifying into the more familiar style that would become their trademark throughout the rest of the decade. Their seventh full-length offering joins our 1921 Centenary Edition range in November with a new pressing of just 1000 copies on orange vinyl.

This limited edition can be ordered from At the moment, it's showing "Sold Out" which must be a glitch as it won't go on sale until November 13th.

It's the 2015 remaster with the addition of a silver obi-strip and pressed up on orange vinyl.

For more details, check out its entry in the discography.

Windmill Lane Limited Edition Vinyl Album

Today, Ireland's iconic Windmill Lane Recording Studios proudly announces a limited edition vinyl album in association with Universal Music Ireland. The album features artists long associated with world-famous studios such as The Cranberries, U2, Elvis Costello, Westlife, and many more. Due for release Friday, 29th October 2021.

Speaking about the vinyl CEO of Windmill Lane Studios, Naomi Moore said: "When we took over Windmill Lane Recording Studios in 2009, we not only acquired a business, we inherited the most iconic facility of music creation in Ireland. We were determined to nurture and celebrate its history, its outstanding creative output, and its influence on the world stage. As we continue to work with leading and developing acts, we aim to celebrate and commit to vinyl, the talent that enters our famous green doors for another 40 years. Put simply, this album will bring you back, pick you up and reaffirm your love for great tunes. We are so proud, delighted, and privileged to share it with you."

Nick Younger of Universal Music Ireland said: "When Naomi and Aidan approached us with this idea, we jumped at the chance to partner with them. Few studios in the world can compare to the incredible list of artists and producers who have recorded in Windmill Lane. With the very rich catalogue and the new talented artists recording in the studios today, I've no doubt that this will be the first volume of many."


Side A
Mysterious Ways - U2
Imitation Of Life - R.E.M.
Zombie - The Cranberries
All This Useless Beauty - Elvis Costello
Old Town - Phil Lynott

Side B
World Of Our Own - Westlife
Breathless - The Corrs
When A Woman - Gabrielle
She's A River - Simple Minds
Julia Says - Wet Wet Wet

Follow the footsteps of the greats of modern music, the iconic studio welcomes the public to the reopening of their Studio Tours.

Discover 40 years of music history on a tour of Dublin's world-famous recording studios, where everyone from Lady Gaga to U2 has created music.

Visitors have an unprecedented opportunity to step beyond the studio's famous green doors and receive an exclusive behind-the-scenes look of these working recording studios.

Windmill Lane Recording Studios album will be available to pre-order here.

XSnoize Website
4th October 2021

Simple Minds' association with Windmill Lane began in May 1989. The band and their producer were at The Point rehearsing for their forthcoming tour. Steve Lipson used the studio's facilities to finish a remixes Waterfront (for the forthcoming Kick It In single) and Themes For Great Cities (the opening backing track for the Street Fighting Year concerts).

The band's main association with the studio took place several years later in April 1994 when a Good News From The Next World recording session took place. The tracks worked on, spannning over 16 reels, included My Life, Night Music, She's A River (still being logged as Pinball), Great Leap Forwards and 7 Deadly Sins.

Therefore it's extremely fitting that She's A River was chosen to represent Simple Minds for this collection.

Updates to the discography:

Many years ago, fellow collector Martin purchased a folder of early Simple Minds press releases. These incredibly rare documents covered the band's early years and included material from Zoom, Arista and Virgin.

I've only just started to 'fill in the gaps' and so have added 'new' press releases for the band signing to Zoom Records in late 1978 and the Life In A Day album and tour.

The artwork's now dropped for Graeme Thomson's book.

Themes For Great Cities: A New History Of Simple Minds

"Nobody owes us anything, but the Simple Minds story has been too condensed. After Live Aid and Don't You (Forget About Me) there hasn't been quite the credit for those first few records. I think they contain some really special music. I can hear the flaws but there's something about the spirit and imagination in them that feels good. They draw from such a wide range of influences. We'd go from really obscure krautrock to Chic and Sister Sledge to Captain Beefheart to Bowie and Eno, but the spirit of it was always Simple Minds." - Jim Kerr, to the author, 2014

Simple Minds formed in Glasgow in 1977. They have sold in the region of 60 million records and are recognised globally. For a group of their stature, success and longevity, the lack of an in-depth, critically authoritative biography is an anomaly.

Simple Minds began as a post-punk band, transitioned into restless art-rock and electro pioneers, became a stadium rock behemoth - and travelled on, always searching. Much of the drama of their story and their music lies in those transformations and their triumphs, conflicts and contradictions.

From its title, approach and overall aesthetic to the granular detail of its contents, Themes For Great Cities will be weighted in favour of the period when the most significant of these transformations occurred, the era between 1977 and 1989. It will place particular emphasis on the albums and activities up to and including Once Upon A Time, released in 1985. It will pay close attention to the "serious, dark music" Simple Minds made in the beginning. It will give credit where credit is due.

Waterstones Press Release
August 2021

Written by Graeme Thomson (who's also written books about George Harrison and Kate Bush and an authorised biograph of Philip Lynott), Themes For Great Cities will be published in January 2022.

Whilst compiling The Keele Gigs, Dave Lee came up with several inconsistancies with early tour dates, especially when compared with Eddie Cairn's memories. I realised that Eddie had pointed these out, but because his stories had remained on a news page, and hadn't been threaded into the tour narratives, then these problems hadn't been highlighted.

So, I've added his history with the band to both his own page and to the early tour listings. "Problematic" dates are now clearly highlighted.

However, one statement jumped out at me:

"... but I do remember that we went straight from the end of Peter Gabriel Tour in Porto back to London - we didn't go to Holland again after that. They did a session in the Maida Vale Studios because I had to drive the truck. We then set off on the last tour I did with them througout Britain - starting with Kidderminster..."
What session was that? Who was it for? Maida Vale implies a John Peel or 'Kid' Jensen session but nothing is listed in the archives.

But it made perfect sense for Simple Minds to hot-foot it back from Portugal and record a Radio One session as promotion for the forthcoming UK leg of the Empires And Dance tour. The dates fit: the Peter Gabriel Tour finished on the 7th October and the first UK date was the following 17th October. Plenty of time to get to London to record the session.

And as it turned out, there was already a contender, the so-called "demos" from Silver Box

unknown station: unknown dj
Recorded: 1980
Broadcast: 1980
Producer: ???
Engineer: ???

I Travel
Thirty Frames A Second
Captial City
New Warm Skin

There had been a question-mark over the status of these recordings since they turned up in Mick's archive as "Radio Session".

Did Simple Minds return to London in October 1980 to record a Radio One session? If they did, then it's not quite the neat resolution it appears to be. Why wasn't this session broadcast or bootlegged? Why isn't this listed as part of the BBC Archive? And, bands normally recorded three or four tracks for a session, not six.

But arguments could also be made in favour of these being demos. The most obvious being the different lyrics, melody and arrangement of Twist/Run/Repulsion. It's not that clear cut.

So the jury's still out on this one, but the radio session is an interesting possibility.

Forty years ago the planets aligned for music fans at Keele.

For about £1 a ticket they could see a band almost every week at the Students Union Ballroom.

Some were in the more mature stages of their career (The Kinks, Wishbone Ash, Alan Price, Dr Feelgood), some were hungry wannabes (Dire Straits, Thompson Twins, Jools Holland, UB40, Level 42, Simple Minds), but many were on the very cusp of success and fame (The Pretenders, U2, Dexys Midnight Runners, Cheap Trick, Teardrop Explodes, XTC, Altered Images, Theatre Of Hate) with Keele students seeing them first & raw (before they became battle-scarred and bitter!)

In Volume One Dave Lee covers all these bands and many more in that peak era 1978-82; from the Ballroom's expansion (allowing bigger bands) to the Thatcherite cuts (culling the budgets of both the venue and the students).

The book features gig reviews of the 200 bands (!!) who played in those manic 4 years, with stories you may remember, but many more you may not have known. For example:

  • Which lead singer of a happening band (& darlings of the music press) had actually done the Keele Foundation Year before quitting for fame & fortune?!
  • Which headline act played Keele just as her bitter jilted ex (who'd played Keele the year before) was recording a song about their relationship that would become one of the most famous songs of the 80s?
  • Which major 80s/90s rock band owes its existence to a eureka-moment during a support band's performance at a 1982 Keele gig?
  • Which support band changed its name, re-arranged its songs, & became a multi-national success?
  • What third-on-the-bill soloist at a Freshers Ball went on to have a No.1 in NINETEEN countries including the USA?
There is love, there are fights, there are lock-outs, there are lock-ins, wild quotes and tall tales.

With loads of colour illustrations, The Keele Gigs are coming back to life in Dave Lee's new book. It will take you back to a more innocent age... or maybe it was a less innocent age (?!)

The Foundation Year was all very well, but what if Springsteen was right; maybe we did learn more from a 3 minute record than we even learned in school!

Simple Minds played Keele on 12th December 1979 (touring post Real To Real Cacophony) and returned the following year on the 29th October 1980 (during the Empires And Dance tour).

There is a two page spread about Simple Minds (including photographs from their October 1980 concert) and there's another half page about the Hawkwind/Simple Minds Christmas concert (which, I believe, was the December 1979 gig). For more details, including ordering information, then check out

Here's the fourth, and final, part of the interview between Todd Richards and Jim, which took place in September last year.

Some Sweet Day 2020: Part Four

Audio: This Is Your Land

TR: The record's been out there for 30 years and I not going to presume to try and find anything new in it, beyond the fact that every time I tend to sit down and listen to it, I continuously hear new things deep and dark in there. It seems like an earthy record and yet to do the reading and understand it, like Mick MacNeil would tweak on the computers for hours on end, wearing headphones like I am right now, in his own world building these things, and how much technology actually played a part in capturing this - this is the dawn of the digital age for music recording, and Trevor Horn and Stephen Lipson brought that to the table - I want to make mention of them because this box-set really does give them the platform a little bit - and then, just shy of 30 years I think it was, you were back in the studio recording with Trevor Horn again doing a song that could've easily been a cover that went on this record.
JK: You're absolutely right. You're obviously referring to the cover of Mark Knofler's Brothers In Arms, or Dire Strait's Brothers In Arms, that we did for Trevor's record last year. And it certainly did evoke the sound and the atmosphere. It's funny that when Trevor asked us to do that song - it isn't one I would've picked - and also it's a real iconic song as well. I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure what kind of job we could do on that. But I heard it recently and it was so much better than I imagined at the time.

TR: If I could put a plug in for the tour when it does restart [laughs] my jaw would drop if you guys played that.
JK: We should do it shouldn't we?
TR: I think you have an ownership to it now.
JK: Wow! Amazingly because I did have it ... I'll make a note of that Todd. We didn't get around to it because Charlie was already snowed under working with Berenice Scott - I should name this great keyboard player that we have. And I didn't want to pile on more stuff. But I was thinking we should do that because ... well listen, people can judge for themselves but it turned out really good.
TR: And, again, if you're adding songs from this period, because the box-set being the most recent release, and it would go so well side-by-side. Oh well, who am I? [Laughs] I'm just the guy cheering in the audience.
JK: You're great. That's who you are. Your enthusiasm, you relate to Simple Minds' music, and you feel it deep, and it's great that you mention that. Because sometimes - I was thinking that as well. And it's certainly worth giving a try - that's for sure.

TR: Well this has been a real pleasure once again. You and I got together to sit down Christmas time about three years ago and who knew...
JK: I remember you turning up soaked. [Laughs]
TR: I was hoping you'd forget that actually but that's OK if that's the way I go down.
JK: No. It was real.
TR: It was real. But I appreciate that time and now this time as well as we help tell your story and share your music within the story as well. It's just a wonderful trip. And I hope we get to do it more and I'll say here, as I've said to a couple of other artists I've been talking to, since this 'pause' (or whatever we're calling it), this pandemic that's been going on, that a couple of them we've done marathons before, and I'll offer them to you Jim, and Charlie as well, that if you ever want to curate an hour - or quite frankly it's your music, you do what you want, take as long as you want - I welcome it. I would love your input on shaping one of those shows and maybe pulling out a track that we wouldn't first - or something like that. I'll be your show and we'll figure out a way to do it but I'd like to invite you right there - you don't even have to be here, we could do it remotely but we'll have some fun with that somewhere down the line.
JK: Thanks for the invite. I'll give that some thought. Always great to talk to you Todd. Yes, this year has been a pause but I'm happy to say we're really in deep on a new record. So probably next time I talk to you it'll be all about that.

Jim and Todd Richards
Septemeber 2020

Continuing to "fill in the gaps", I've now written the history of the Love Song / Alive And Kicking single. This was issued in 1992 to promote the Glittering Prize 81/92 compilation.

A couple of interesting 'new' facts came to light whilst working on these pages. Firstly, all the available mixes of Alive And Kicking were considered when compiling this single - including the unreleased Bob Clearmountain remixes originally prepared for the original Alive And Kicking release.

And Gregg Jackman prepared two different remixes of Love Song. The first, called the "Bright Mix" was used for the single; whilst the second, called the "Warm Mix", remains in the vaults. (One should not read too much into this however. Some tapes exist of multiple takes of a song, with each take being an extremely subtle variation on the same arrangement e.g. vocals up 1dB, vocals up 2dB etc. The "Bright" mix may simply have the higher frequencies turned up a notch whilst the "Warm" mix favours the bass.)

Updates to the discography:

Queensland University Refectory, Brisbane, Australia
December ???, 1981

"Long time fan, I first saw Simple Minds in Brisbane at the Queensland University Refectory in the very early 80's. I just can't find any reference to it on the website but there is some chatter on Facebook about it (so I am not dreaming thank goodness). It may have been 1981. Promoter in Brisbane was Dave Darling with the independent university radio station 4ZZZ. Simple Minds were a big deal for our town at that time." - Angelina

Many thanks to Angelina for the information and the pictures.

"Due to the ongoing impact of the global pandemic, we have arranged to reschedule the Simple Minds Fan Convention in Glasgow to Saturday 15th October 2022."

"All purchased tickets are still valid. I appreciate that the date may not suit everyone. Please message me with any questions and keep the thread and comments positive."

"This has been a monumental effort to rearrange with our promotors and partners. Please give all your support so that this event can move to a larger venue on a date when we are confident fans can safely attend."

"For those of you unaware, I am in a battle against time to attend the convention. I will be there! More updates on the event and special guests to follow." - Gordon Machray

Tickets can be purchased from Ticket Scotland.

For more details, see the White Hot Day A Simple Minds Fan Convention Facebook page.

Some Sweet Day 2020: Part Three

Audio: Soul Crying Out

TR: I've read a couple of different articles that you were interviewed for, along those lines, when the box-set came out, a couple of months back. Pre pause - which changes the view on these things here. And I like the fact you keep talking about your songwriting evolving - because at the same time the band was going through a paradigm shift. You were going away from... I read in the original booklet release that the rhythm section really wasn't coming along for this ride - you were trying to go melodic and dare I say the word 'folk' was introduced. And Tim Buckley's name was part of the inspiration for Soul Crying Out. And in separate instances, members of the band were involved in the demoing structure of this record, which, I have to admit, you can't remember it all in the front of your mind here, but when I read that, the amount of 'it makes so much sense now' came through me. That feeling of 'well they knew The Call - The Call had that same influence, Peter Gabriel had that same influence of that, the mixture of the music that was the band.' They call it Americana now - The Band was the reason for a lot of Americana but four-fifths of them are Canadian. [Laughs] So the irony of all that in itself, the mixture of those cross cultures, of pollenisations of the music to create something new, kind of felt in a certain way, in its own colourful design, that makes Street Fighting Years. And if I may take this one stretch further, the pixelized picture on the front of the cover, feels to me like all these parts of music, coming in and blending and you're seeing it from 30,000 feet or something like that.

JK: Yeah. When I look back now the thing that kind of amazes me is that there was very little strategizing going on. Rarely did we sit around a table and say 'How about this for an angle?' But there was this subconscious, sublevel where the band was moving. It wouldn't be right to say that after the success of Once Upon A Time - where the band got a global success - you could say that we got everything we ever wanted. Because that was the thing when we started this band: we wanted to be a great live band; we wanted to make albums; we wanted to tour the world; and find an audience. You know, we wanted it all. We wanted to be on radio - well at a certain point we did. We wanted people to know us. We wanted a shot of emulating those big bands that had influenced us. We wanted to play arenas. We wanted to test our mettle in stadiums. And we got it all. And was it great? Yeah, it was great.

JK: BUT... there was something about it when it was over. When it really was over. Because when we toured Once Upon A Time, which was the album previous to Street Fighting Years, and it was our big successful MTV record. The subsequent tour, I think it went on for a year and a half, and again, no complaints - but by the end of it, we just couldn't wait to get home. No - not home as in to our own bed or whatever - we wanted to get back to see what the next thing was going to be. Of course we did miss our families and all that stuff too - that was waiting for us, but we'd moved on and we didn't know where we'd moved to. We had done that and we didn't know what we were going to do next but we were keen to find out.

JK: Now, also, funnily enough - could be coincidence - but when you mention the band - and you're very right to say one of the places we worked on for Once Upon A Time - was Bearsville up in Woodstock, up in the Catskills - and funny enough, because Bob Clearmountain had a connection with that part, he wanted to do some of the recording up there - we were only too glad, and indeed we loved it, that's how we got to meet Garth [Hudson], that's how we got to meet Albert Grossman and Sally Grossman who were so great to us and all of that - but the funny thing is when we were up there in that landscape - in fact even people who knew Simple Minds who were Scots and then saw the video for Alive And Kicking, they presume when they see the backdrop that it's Scotland. Because the landscape - it could've been in Scotland.

JK: Anyway, lo-and-behold, we thought 'We should have our own place like this in Scotland. A bit like these guys had.' A place where we could go and hibernate. And, basically, so we did. And I'm talking to you, right now, not from that place, but from that town, that we built our own workspace in the countryside, and recorded most of Street Fighting Years. But that was almost like a band thing as well because they were great hibernators too - and whether that's coincidence or whatever, but again, being in that backdrop, there was something very earthy about it as opposed to say recording in Manhattan or recording in The Power Station than we'd done with Street Fighting Years. There was just this desire for earthiness. But, again, not really spoken about. I see it now as being a subconscious thing. But it informed the music that was to come for sure.

Audio: This Is Your Land

Jim and Todd Richards
Septemeber 2020

It's been twenty years since Neon Lights and the Dancing Barefoot EP. Yet songs from that period are still being remixed and reappraised, as this recent release shows:

New versions of Being Boiled appeared online in October 2019. The first remix was put together by Phunk Investigation, long term collaborators with Simple Minds, who'd been mixing their work since 2001. (They first remixed Gloria for the Neon Lights album). This collaboration with Vinjay took Jim's vocals from Simple Minds' cover and reworked them into something completely different.

BluFin Records took up an option to distribute this growing EP and issued four remixes, as part of a digital package, in February 2020. Further remixes trickled out during the year including another package of an additional three versions in June 2020.

Unfortunately all defining elements of The Human League's rough, industrial original, and Simple Minds' slick retelling, have been completely lost in these chilled out remixes. The curious can seek them out online (either via Soundcloud or Spotify) and, from as far as I can tell, there have been no physical releases.

A list of all the remixes and their release dates can be found for the Being Boiled single's page.

Aberdeen Music Hall, Aberdeen, UK
May 26th, 1979
Support: Splitting Headache
Support: Brigade

"I was doing research on something completely different and found the advert for the Simple Minds gig in Aberdeen in 1979. Now this was after the Magazine tour, and they headlined this gig. Slightly surprising, as the Music Hall was one of the two main venues in the city at the time, and this was just after the debut album came out, so they weren't that well known up here quite yet. You have the date of 25th May on your site, as you'll see, the gig took place the day after, and the support is mentioned too. As for that support, Splitting Headache must have been a local band, as they appear in listings for Aberdeen a fair bit around that time." - Ron Hutchison

The other venue they played in Aberdeen during their previous tour was Ruffles. (A rather non-descript disco which has since burned down). This was the scene of their legendary gig as last-minute support for The Stranglers as The Skids had to pull out. Ron Hutchison was doing research into this Stranglers gig and discovered more about Simple Minds connection with the venue.

Firstly, The Strangers tour date listings give this concert the date of the 2nd October:

Ruffles, Aberdeen, UK
2nd October 1978
Supporting: The Stranglers
The Skids were booked and advertised as the support but had to be replaced at short notice. (Stuart Adamson had broken his hand).

"We went there scared shitless, because the audience hadn't come for us; we stood there unannounced. We had to give three encores." - Jim.

"I do remember that it was an excellent gig and thinking at the time that the support was great. I note you were missing the venue name, Ruffles. This was not generally a good rock venue, more of a tacky disco kind of place. But it was good for getting you near the acts. Possibly too near on this occasion as the audience took to spitting at The Stranglers (out of admiration!) and this upset Jean-Jaques who launched his bass backwards over his head and dived into the crowd to knock lumps out of one of the gobbers, before resuming the show. The venue is now long gone after various attempts to improve it followed by "fire" that finished it off." - Alistair

Apparently this was a rescheduled date for The Stranglers as they pulled out of a previous date (probably 13th September 1978).

Simple Minds were invited back to Ruffles a couple of weeks later as headliners. Unfortunately the show was poorly promoted and only a few lucky punters turned up:

Ruffles, Aberdeen, UK
18th October 1978

The review in the local paper was sympathetic:

Many thanks to Ron Hutchison for the advert and press review.

Themes For Great Cities: A New History Of Simple Minds

"Nobody owes us anything, but the Simple Minds story has been too condensed. After Live Aid and Don't You (Forget About Me) there hasn't been quite the credit for those first few records. I think they contain some really special music. I can hear the flaws but there's something about the spirit and imagination in them that feels good. They draw from such a wide range of influences. We'd go from really obscure krautrock to Chic and Sister Sledge to Captain Beefheart to Bowie and Eno, but the spirit of it was always Simple Minds." - Jim Kerr, to the author, 2014

Simple Minds formed in Glasgow in 1977. They have sold in the region of 60 million records and are recognised globally. For a group of their stature, success and longevity, the lack of an in-depth, critically authoritative biography is an anomaly.

Simple Minds began as a post-punk band, transitioned into restless art-rock and electro pioneers, became a stadium rock behemoth - and travelled on, always searching. Much of the drama of their story and their music lies in those transformations and their triumphs, conflicts and contradictions.

From its title, approach and overall aesthetic to the granular detail of its contents, Themes For Great Cities will be weighted in favour of the period when the most significant of these transformations occurred, the era between 1977 and 1989. It will place particular emphasis on the albums and activities up to and including Once Upon A Time, released in 1985. It will pay close attention to the "serious, dark music" Simple Minds made in the beginning. It will give credit where credit is due.

Waterstones Press Release
August 2021

Written by Graeme Thomson (who's also written books about George Harrison and Kate Bush and an authorised biograph of Philip Lynott), Themes For Great Cities will be published in January 2022.

Some Sweet Day 2020: Part Two

Audio: Wall Of Love

TD: Strife and some of these Troubling things - The Troubles if I may be so bold - is what a lot of the writing into Street Fighting Years was about. I'd say probably - if there was a percentage - 60%. Because I keep reading about this record. And Jim, I don't know why, a record - especially in this country - that didn't get as big and popular as your previous effort, Once Upon A Time, continues to be the one record everybody asks me about. I chalk it up to the fact that if you look in the original CD - only two songs were not included, somehow, in the single releases. I don't know if you ever thought about that. Between The Ballad Of The Streets EP, which was quite prominently the flag bearer of this record, only Wall Of Love and Take A Step Back kind of became album-only tracks. Because everything else was on a single - somehow, somewhere - so the exposure level was different than the records in the past. I remember the Themes Volumes had come out towards the end of this album campaign. And looking back at that and going 'In all the political strife that we have going on right now, this record comes out as a box-set and you're having to re-examine it.' Is it not a little frightening that we're in such political craziness right now? And this record is coming out side-by-side.

JK: Yeah, certainly I've had some thoughts about that recently. Looking at events and seeing how people are calling out for change in their different ways. And also the political backgrounds of so many countries just now - it's so polarized. And in some ways, we [that is] Simple Minds, or we in Scotland in the UK, were feeling that. In our country at the time of course, in the same way. Margaret Thatcher was our Prime Minister, and not many in the music industry was a fan of Margaret Thatcher. To be fair to her, the world was changing and a lot of the industrial industries - the older industries, the same you had in the States - they were on their knees. Because the same industries could be much more successful in different parts of the world and basically a lot of people were being left behind - a lot of communities were being left behind - and there wasn't much sympathy or empathy coming from the top. And, so, we had that polarity here, back then. Well, if we went through some of the songs on Street Fighting Years, a song like Soul Crying Out, it's probably not the most obvious song to talk about, but you and I mentioned it earlier - if it's about anything it's about empathy or lack of empathy or how is it possible not to feel? Or to disregard feelings. So that was coming out of some places near us. Steel industries. And overnight, whole communities were told "Hey. Tough luck. We're moving on." And as a writer, then, for me, I suppose at some point you would want to try... let's call it 'The Big Themes.' Work with the Big Themes. And the themes of our day then. And it was a different world, talking about the backdrop in the UK then. We're also talking about a world where the Berlin Wall still existed - you still had that Cold War thing.

JK: But by this time we'd travelled a bit. The idea of human rights meant something. When you travel - depending on who you are, depending what your interests are - your eyes get opened to things that maybe you hadn't thought about in your own neighbourhood. You realise - in my case you realise - that wherever you travel in the world, basically people are the same. Cultures may be changed. But, basically, the fundamental things that are important to people are the same and I think, round about Street Fighting Years, those were the themes that I wanted to mess with. And I was influenced as well, the great mentors: Peter Gabriel and Bruce Springsteen, and going way back, Bob Dylan, Steve Van Zandt [and] Stevie Wonder. Prince when he did Sign O' The Times where he could take a bit of social commentary and just make this amazingly, almost perfect, piece of pop with it. That you could dance to as well. It didn't have to be all furrowed brow - but it had to exude the zeitgeist. And I thought 'Ah! To write songs of that nature would be...' - well that was the sort of thing that interested me. And I guess as a lyric writer, when things interest you that much, something starts to grow out of the seeds of your enthusiasm.

Audio: Soul Crying Out

Jim and Todd Richards
Septemeber 2020

The discovery of this promotional tape for Alive And Kicking reveals the distribution of tracks across its various formats. It shows how sparcely tracks were picked and selected. And also that Virgin had plans for a 7" promo for the single.

There's also the question of those remixes which turned up on the Once Upon A Time Super Deluxe. Where did they come from?

And the recent revelation that Zbigniew Rybczynski's original plan for the video was to put the band on a large platform, attach multiple large balloons, and float Simple Minds high above New York whilst shooting the film from helicopters.

With all this new information, it seemed fitting to rewrite the history of the Alive And Kicking single.

I'm aware of the irony of rewriting sections of this website when other parts have never been completed. So, with that in mind, Let There Be Love.

A couple of new facts for you: Ghostider was being pencilled in as a possible bonus song on the single and Steve Lipson attempted a 12" mix of it; and the two versions of the video were officially called the Narrative Cut and the Performance Cut. (I'll deal with those at a later date).

One of the questioned early concerts was the Arnhem on the 20th March 1980 as other lists had Simple Minds playing Tilbourg the same day. However, a concert poster for Arnhem, which was recently set to me by Peter, now confirms that date.

Stokvishal, Arnhem, The Netherlands
March 20th, 1980
"I saw one incorrect tour date of Simple Minds. My memory is at times spot on. I knew for sure that the date in the Stokvishal was at the 20th of March 1980. 20 is my fave number and Simple Minds blew me of my feet that day." - Coen van Hall

Thanks to Peter Noot for the scan.

De Harmonie, Tilbourg, The Netherlands
March 20th, 1980
The date of this gig is now questionable. See above.

The majority of the rescheduled concerts for 2021 have now pushed in 2022. Unfortunately the Australian Tour with OMD has been now cancelled by the promoter. "Roundhouse Entertainment and Frontier Touring regret to advise that due to ongoing international travel restrictions and uncertainty surrounding national border closures because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, they have taken the decision to cancel the Simple Minds '40 Years Of Hits Tour' in Australia and New Zealand, originally re-scheduled for December 2021."

All tickets will be refunded.

Although there was no Simple Minds Marathon in 2020, Todd Richards did catch up with Jim at the end of the summer, and the interview was broadcast on The Sting in September.

This is the first part of the interview where Jim and Todd talked about touring and the gradual close-down and postponement of the 40 Years Of Hits tour as the Covid 19 pandemic shut down the world.

Some Sweet Day 2020: Part One

Audio: When Spirits Rise

TR: It's 88.3 FM The Sting, and a great 'good day' to you in 'the pause' - as I keep calling it, that we're all going through right now with COVID 19 and the crazy changes in there. I'm painting a wide brush because so far it's already been a fourth of the year and changing everything all the way into 2021. Earlier this year, one of my favourite bands out there (a lot of people know this already from the amount of work I've done on the Marathon Series for Simple Minds) was releasing a box-set from the 1989 album Street Fighting Years, which over the last 30 years has been an education in, not only social history, but also archival understanding of how a band puts a record together almost 180 degrees way from what they've just done. And that being said, I said to myself, I would really love to talk to Jim sometime this year, perhaps we'll do a Marathon. And then, of course, everything changed almost on a dime, and the plans the band had for a tour have been put on hold, and the constant updates on the news is when everything's being rescheduled into 2021. So you're faced with the idea of not doing any activity or doing activity remotely and changing the whole schedule of your life I guess. Which is what we're all doing including some of our musician friends. All the way over from Scotland, here's Jim Kerr.
TR: Jim, it's a pleasure to talk with you once again and I'm glad you're doing well.
JK: A pleasure. Thank you very much Todd. You're a great champion of our band. You always have been and thanks for continuing to be so. We all need [to be] encouraged and it's greatly appreciated all the support you've given to us over these years. I'm delighted to talk to you. [Laughs] If I seem a little bit slower than normal it's only because, as you were saying, we've all had to adjust in the last three or so months, and where I'm talking to you from now is my place in the countryside in Scotland. I've been here alone for the three months. I was talking to my partner who's in Italy at the moment and she said to me "How are you doing?" And I said "I'm getting a little... I'm starting to talk to the squirrels and the deer and stuff" and she said "Well, there's no problem with that." And I said "Yeah, but they're starting to talk back." [Laughs] That's how it seems to me. So I might be a little ponderous here. Usually when you go on tour you do your promo, or your interviews, and it takes you a week to get slick so I don't think I'm going to be slick today Todd, but I'll do my best.
TR: I do appreciate it. And you've never made it easy to champion you Jim. It's always work and I love the work. It's good to be at the grindstone. [Laughs]
JK: Good [Laughs]

TR: Just launch-padding off that, I was just talking to some of my friends who also attended the 2018 show you did here at the former Rocksino, it's now changed names, and what earthshattering night that was, it was simply amazing.
JK: We had a blast. We really did.
TR: I was running around, just looking at all the faces of everybody to see you again and I don't think they realised how good the current band really is. And would have been before they saw them. And that must've been really hard because you guys had just launched your 40th Year Hits Tour, kind of including Street Fighting Years, because of the box-set and everything. Can I call it a false start? Did you get deep enough into into the shows, so it didn't feel like a one-off? You were back onto that treadmill and then, suddenly, you had to stop.
JK: It really was going very well. We had worked a lot in advance because we had a new keyboard player. And bringing someone in new - some people say 'Well a band like you, you've down thousands of gigs. Why do you need to rehearse so much before a tour?' But we always change arrangements. We always bring songs in we haven't played for a long time. And, of course, having a new keyboard player in the line-up. We had to go through it all. She's brilliant anyway. So, we'd worked really hard in advance and we were really looking forward to this year - by this time we would've announced dates in North America. And a lot of people who appreciate Simple Minds were jonesing for. We were up and running and really getting the bit between our teeth. And we were two weeks in. We couldn't see it coming at Christmas or New Year but as the tour was starting, we were beginning to think, when is this thing going to grind to a halt? And it was about two weeks in. And when it did, it was very disappointing nonetheless. But listen, that's the way it is, and there are much more serious issues there than us and our desire to get up and play and hopefully, sooner rather than later, we will be back out. Of course, all the dates that we had planned, and are now postponed, we will get our chance to get back to the States next year. Everything going well - in terms of live music coming back.
JK: But just picking up from what you were saying about the gig in Cleveland. I don't know how many gigs we did on that tour but I do remember it and it was a great night. And also, as you well know, I've got a sense of family in Cleveland and we always want to be as great as we can be but I really wanted it to be great. It had been a long time and we couldn't have asked for things to go better than they did.
TR: There are a lot of people who would agree with you and still talk to me about it. I don't want to say I was running around going 'Told you so' but it felt a little like that. [Laughs]
JK: You'll recall we did two sets. And there was an intermission in between. And I remember half-way through the first set it was already pandemonium. And I was thinking 'How are we going to sustain this?' People were just having a great time. And I have this image of your part of the world and how music came out of there, and the way people embraced music long before I got the chance to visit. You know that people appreciate a good live act - or a great live act - and you know they can sense when people are giving and it becomes a two-way thing. Cleveland's one of those places.

TR: Taking away from that energy, you're ramping up for this last tour, two weeks in you have to stop. And even through the website I saw you were kind of saying 'OK. We're going to wait and see about these shows.' And I was like 'How can they do that?' How can you go home? Did you really have everything in stasis? The trucks were parked somewhere? Maybe we'll go next week? If we don't go in three weeks, we're not going? That must've been just tedious as it all got out.
JK: We've got great people who work for us: Management, agent and it was almost like as if you were caught between 'Maybe things will change in five or six weeks' as well as a voice saying 'Listen. You better book these dates for a year from now as this thing's not going away.' And the people who sort those things out for us were jumping in in between. There was wishful thinking and then there was the daily reality. And, of course, the other thing was, we weren't the only ones. There was a gazillion live acts out there and they're all thinking the same thing. So there was a race on as well to try and gaze into the future and 'So when are we going to book dates then?' because it's not as easy as one would think. There's availability of venues, there's availability of musicians, there's availability of crew and then all the other weird stuff: insurance and promoters' issues - all these real things. A lot of boxes to tick there in terms of like trying to come up with a Plan B. Whoever you spoke to, half the crew or half the band would be in denial, you know 'We'll get to Germany and it'll be fine.' Border's closed in Germany. 'We'll get to Italy and it'll be good.' Border's closed in Italy.
JK: That's a weird thing. Never in my life - well this is all weird - never in any of our lives have we seen this. But when I first started hearing 'Borders closing' it was like 'What is this?' Up until then people were like 'It's a flu thing. It's a weird flu. It's not as bad as they say.' Blah, blah, blah. Then 'borders closing.' And that was like: Wow! Hang on a second. We're not used to this. And that's when every day you'd wake up and think 'Is this a dream?' But no, it's not a dream unfortunately.

TR: You said that so well. I'm having flashbacks to another musician you probably know, Bruce Cockburn, describing 9-11 when the borders closed from Canada to America. And just the way you said that, I'm in this right again, here we are just so many years later. In New York, just sharing with you, when I was starting this and this was just shutting down, I'm following the tour, looking forward to getting the box-set, and I thought I was going to buy it in New York like a keepsake from the trip, and I start hearing these things and things are shifting and people are starting to raise doubt and I said "About the band. If they can get around the whole Ariana Grande craziness that occurred" - and I'm trying to make it not as awful as it was - but it was awful - and the way you reacted with your team, and the band, on stage, I thought 'They can handle this.' This is not going to be a grind to the finish line, crossing the line on your knees, it's going to be 'No. We'll dignify things and keep things safe and I applaud you and your team because it just goes to show how professional everybody is the face of a void of whatever you call this.
JK: Yeah, it is. It sounds like a hackneyed old thing: 'The show must go on.' But it really does. And this time it couldn't. There was a certain point where we just couldn't. This is not only what we've done for all of our grown-up lives, it's also kind of how we see the world. It's how we relate to the world. It's tied up with who we are. And also there is the old school obligation, you know, this is show business! The show must go on! I've never heard crew, I've never heard anyone go 'I hope it doesn't go on tonight. I could do with a night off.' It just doesn't happen. And so there's always - it's amazing the journeys we've made when I look back and I think of things - and it's usually sad things - that could or would put a show in jeopardy. Sometimes it's a weather thing - and that's a whole other thing. But it is true - you know, playing in Europe not so far after that horrible event at the Bataclan and having to go on stage and talk to an audience about that the next night - a club we had played not so long before. Things like that catch you out - like the events in Manchester that you were saying. So we've played through injuries, we've played through deaths in the family, it just goes on. It's how we function, but this time it was different.

Audio: Wall Of Love

Jim and Todd Richards
Septemeber 2020

Looking back now I remember that only a few days earlier I had told the New York Times: "Simple Minds never cancel. We work with a lot of bright people and I'm certain we'll find a way around this thing. The tour will definitely go on."

Despite the heartbreaking images already coming out of Italy, I was evidently in denial by saying so. And with no clue as to what might happen next from country to country, I was equally out of my depth.

Best to stay quiet sometimes, I guess?

Nevertheless, a mere ten shows into a planned ten month tour, our worst fears materialised as international restrictions kicked-in all around. Meaning that the only journey we would be making after our show that night in Copenhagen, would be taking us back home. Game over. Tour postponed!

Just as I was getting used to telling myself that after more than 40 years of touring, I had most likely already experienced all that there was? I concluded that this was something none of us were prepared for. Shops closed? Borders shutting in Scandinavia? Hotels with padlocked doors? Compulsory masks? Social distancing? Washing hands continually? Whole cities had unbelievably emptied out before our eyes?

Film director David Lynch might have been able to conjure up such a vision prior for the purposes of entertainment? But this was no movie. This was 'Real Life Baby.'

Finally arriving back in Glasgow, late evening, one day later. I had asked the 'masked driver' who had picked me up at the deserted airport to stop at the nearest supermarket. I wanted to buy some fruit. "I'm telling you Jim. There will be f*ck all left. The shelves are empty. People are panic buying. It's insane. You're a veggie though? There might be some celery left? This is Glesga' and naebody really eats that crap. Apart from you, if you are lucky enough to find some that is?"

Not only had he made me smile, he was right. The shelves were almost empty. As for fresh produce? A whole rack of limp looking celery was indeed about all that remained in Sainsbury's. So I bought some.

And I also bought an already opened pack of lentils, the very last one at that.

(A lifetime ago, staying for a few months in a damp Parisienne flat, and with little money between three of us. I had discovered that good old lentils were always cheap. As a result I had learned to make a mean daal with very few ingredients.) In any case, looking around the store that night in Glasgow March 2020, I could not help but flashback to the mostly 'threadbare' shops I'd visited in 'Communist bloc Eastern Germany' back in the late 70's.

Again I thought WTF! A dream? Or is this real life?

Home at last, I went to bed immediately. And as soon as daylight snuck through the curtains, I began loading some things into the car. Not forgetting the lentils of course. Driving north towards the studio, I could see that there was snow around but I badly wanted to get some 'thinking done,' hopefully while out hiking among the surrounding hills and lochs. Doing so I clearly recall listening in as politicians on the radio were discussing a possible 'nationwide lockdown.'

It was the first I had ever heard of such a thing.

And as they vaguely mulled over how long that could go on for?

I found myself thinking. Weeks? A whole month maybe? Surely no more? People won't put up with more than that...Will they?

7th March 2021

The mainland European tour dates, scheduled for February-March, have understandably been moved to next year. Existing tickets remain valid for the new dates.

The Nocturne Live, Blenheim Palace, UK show has also been pushed into 2022. It just fell under the date for the gradual reopening of the UK, as roadmapped by the UK government, so had to be rescheduled. The concert will take place on the 18th June 2022.

The next block of dates for mainland Europe this June/July are also being rescheduled for next year.

Even if it was hardly surprising, and although nothing else could be done in view of the ongoing situation. I still felt some regret with the announcement a few days ago that yet again Simple Minds' concerts have been postponed.

More positively new dates have now been been announced - something not so easy to do considering that all over the world 'live acts' (like us) are scrambling around trying to juggle with reorganising their tours. With that in mind I am grateful to 'our team' who have had to repeatedly face that challenge over the last twelve months or so. Even more gratitude of course goes to everybody holding on to their tickets and now planning to come see us next year.

We appreciate the support of all of our fans as always!

15th April 2021

The releases of the Sons And Fascination period gets ever more complex with the addition of three cassettes.

There seems to be an unwritten rule with record companies that the LP artwork is sacrosanct but the cassette artwork can be altered at a whim. So this gives these cassettes extra interest, thanks to their representation of the original LP sleeves.

The bold Sons And Fascination UK cassette (left) simply reproduces an image from the LP sleeve and some of the text design, losing the layout of the original LP completely. The "afterthrought" of the "Contains 7 Extra Tracks" blemishes the art further and makes no reference to the fact that this is Sister Feelings Call.

The Canadian Sons And Fascination cassette (middle) is collectable for both its different arwork - this time managing to capture more of the spirit of the original LP - and its completely different track listing, presenting a different selection of tracks from both parent albums.

The Australian Sons And Fascination cassette (right) is how the UK version should've looked, adding some whitespace and correctly reproducing the band's logo and album title.

It took a while for a Sister Feelings Call UK cassette (left) to appear in the UK, as it was represented as the "7 Extra Tracks" on the Sons And Fascination cassette. However, the cassette was released in 1986, and utilised the old record company "trick" of reproducing the whole LP's artwork at the bottom of the sleeve with extra title and artist information at the top.

The sparce Canadian Sister Feelings Call (middle) attemped to reproduce the LP's spirit but missed the whitespaces and square patterning so was left looking rather unfinished. Its odd track listing also complimented the Canadian Sons And Fascination, mopping up all the songs left over from that release.

Finally the Australian edition (right) attempted to include some of the LP's whitespacing, but almost in a random way, leaving the sleeve looking confused and uninspiring.

Many thanks to Erwin for the scans.

Another oft-neglected and mysterious part of the discography concerns the A&M Memories and Collectables reissues. Simple Minds' entry in the series, an obvious pairing of Don't You (Forget About Me) and Alive And Kicking, has now been full covered, including a "just-discovered" edition on cassette.

"Taken from a recent interview, demonstrating my accordion influence in composition of Simple Minds tunes." - Mick

Mick MacNeil's Accordion Playing

In this Retropopic interview from 2018 (see the news from 1st December 2020), Derek mentioned how the main, repetitive melody from New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) was originally an accordion piece by Mick.

Fast forward three years, and in a Facebook post, Mick demonstrates how the accordion was instrumental in several of Simple Minds biggest hits.

Starting at 4:10, Mick starts by demonstrating the New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) riff on the accordion, before playing it to the backing track. "You can see where that came from, can't you?"

More surprising was the melody at 7:30, where Mick demonstrated a "bagpipe thing" which clearly became Alive And Kicking. "I think that's a great chord as well"

The obvious influence was Belfast Child where Mick obliged with the main folk melody from the song (staring at 15:20). This performance is very similar to the original Glenstriven demos of the song which was just accordion and Charlie on acoustic guitar, both backed by a Bodhran.

It's interesting thinking, perhaps in an alternative reality out there where Mick didn't leave the band, how the Acoustic album would've turned out.

An early promo for Graffiti Soul has surfaced. Unlike many watermarked pressings which included the copyright and legal information on the back, this version included it on the front of the typed sleeve. It also included the two bonus tracks (Shadows And Light and Rockin' In The Free World) - normally the Graffiti Soul promos only featured the core album.

"Anyone who really knows Simple Minds' story will be aware of Scottish journalist/radio presenter Billy Sloan.

"Billy was taking the first steps in his career in media just as we were taking our own in music. And yes, Billy was present on that January night in Glasgow 1978, when Simple Minds played our first ever gig, he wrote about that recently in The Heart Of The Crowd.

"But we also go all the way back with Billy.

"I recall his first ever radio show when he presented for Radio Clyde in the late 70's, and the experience of regularly tuning in over the next years allowed me to hear music that I still consider among my favourites. (Magazine, The Associates, U2, Grace Jones, The Blue Nile and a ton more.)

"No doubt about it. In a local sense Billy was the oracle when it came to spreading the word on new artists and new releases, combining that role with his flawless knowledge of the classics from the generation in music that came before.

"And guess what? He's still the oracle!

"Only last night I tuned in to his show on BBC Radio Scotland to hear a mix of classics, side by side with the newest releases that he feels worth highlighting. His ever present enthusiasm as tangible now almost 44 years later from when he first started out.

"Amazingly though, for as long as we have know Billy, and as much I have heard him do such fine work while interviewing hundreds of artists throughout his career. I had never heard Billy detail his own career so thoroughly - until now that is!

"A remarkable and expansive tale that features some of the most stellar names of the last half century, Billy tells it so well in this two part podcast from the brilliant AYNE.

"If I were you I would definitely listen in!

3rd December 2021

Billy stared his career in the late 1970s as a budding journalist, reviewing the vibrant musical scene in Scotland, and this was why he was at Simple Minds' first ever gig, pen in hand, knocking on the dressing room door and asking Charlie the name of the band's lead singer.

From working on building sites, got a job at the Bishopbriggs Times, before being offered a column on the Sunday Mail. From here, he was a staunch supporter of the band, reviewing their latest singles and albums, most supplied personally by Jim hot from the pressing plant. He was also well placed to play their music, becoming a radio DJ for Radio Clyde between 1979 and 1985, following the band's rise to fame.

Back at Radio Clyde in 1991, he focused on local bands, and arranged sessions and interviews with international talent. Over this second tenue of 23, he became increasing disenchanted with the radio station's attitue. "We did interviews with U2, The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, Coldplay, Simple Minds. But that didn't seem to have any currency with them because basically everyone in radioland is playing the same s*** 25 records over and over and over again. And I was always the proverbial square peg in the round hole from the word go."

During this period, he arranged two sessions with Simple Minds for Radio Clyde. The first was broadcast in April 2002 to support the release of Cry and the second was over ten years later, when the band returned to record an acoustic set for the Acoustic album.

He also appeared on stage with Jim and Charlie where he hosted the Q&As during the first leg of the Walk Between Worlds tour.

Given his long history supporting the band, he also wrote the sleeve notes for The Early Years 1977-78, The Best Of and New Gold Dream Super Deluxe; and wrote the 5x5, Big Music and Acoustic tour programmes.

Upon being made redundant in 2014 from Radio Cylde when the station went through a cost cutting exercise, he swiftly transfered to BBC Radio Scotland where his weekend night shows have become indespensible listening for the classic, alternative and new music.

Two more Danish promos for the remasters have surfaced, bringing the total to four. New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) and Sparkle In The Rain would've been issued in Denmark in late 2002 as part of the marketing for the 2002 remasters.

It's would be interesting to know why promos were issued specifically for Denmark whilst the far more common UK set was used around Europe. No pressings have emerged from France or Germany for instance.

Heart Of The Crowd is now available as a Kindle edition. It can be purchased from Amazon and other online retailers.

Hardback and special editions are also still available from This Day In Music.

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