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press releases | black and white | black and white album

Black And White album
Simple Minds
Black And White 050505

A return to form

UK release date - Monday September 12, 2005
US relesae date - Tuesday September 13, 2005

Vocals: Jim Kerr
Guitar: Charlie Burchill
Drums: Mel Gaynor
Bass: Eddie Duffy

One of Scotland's most successful bands, they defined a generation, have scored over twenty Top 20 hits in a career spanning nearly three decades. They have sold over thirty million records, had five number one albums, a no. 1 single in America - plus three American top ten singles and been Voted Q magazine's world's best live act. Simple Minds embarked internationally on countless sold out stadium tours including headlining three times at Wembley stadium. They have influenced bands as diverse as current favourites Bloc Party, Muse, as well as Moby, Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics along the way. Most recently Yellow Card paid homage to their biggest hit, Don't You (Forget about me) at the MTV Movie Awards.

Now after a three year hiatus Simple Minds are back with their best CD since New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84), called Black and White 050505. Released on 12th September by Sanctuary Records, Black and White 050505 recalls the sweeping, vast sound that characterised their biggest hit albums, Sparkle in the Rain, Once upon a Time and Street Fighting Years. Black and White 050505 recorded in Italy, Holland and then mixed in Los Angeles by the legendary Bob Clearmountain is a real return to form for this four piece band and should see the emergence of a whole new generation of fans as well as satisfying their current ones.

This is a CD that captivates on its first listen and then just gets better. What with the renewed popularity of Duran Duran, New Order and Depeche Mode and the propensity for pop acts to sample 80's sounds, there is little doubt that Simple Minds' time has truly come again.

The CD's opening track, Stay Visible has all the depth, melody and warmth of a theme tune for the next Bond movie. Lingering in the mind long after the last chord has played, it evokes images of an expensive open top car zooming along an empty mountain road or an endless stretch of Arizona desert.

Jim Kerr's distinctive voice comes through strong in their first single, Home released on 5th September and together with co-founder and lead guitarist Charlie Burchill, they have produced a pop song that should lay to rest any rumours that this is a band that have had their day. Home recalls classic Simple Minds with a driving rhythm and the distinctive Burchill guitar sound. Kerr says "There are a number of songs on the album that will make great singles but I feel that the way Home kicks in with Charlie's signature soaring guitar riff, there could be no better way off announcing to the world that Simple Minds had recaptured the kind of uplifting musical spirit that defined our best work. Lyrically, Home is a pop song with a spiritual heart, taking us on a secret journey through the thoughts of someone who is desperately seeking out their own inner crusade."

Stranger and Different World give their past hits a run for their money and reminds us that here is a band that can do "big emotional pop on a grand scale" as well as anybody and probably better than most. The Jeweller (Part 2) proves that point equally. Bursting with melodic energy, here is a multi-layered song harking back to the bands classic New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) days, when NME and the entire British music press declared them band of the year.

Never afraid to tackle the bigger issues as demonstrated by their classic international No.1 single Belfast Child, the current CD's title track Black and White is a somber electro ballad about the madness and shame displayed by an increasing amount of world wide Holocaust deniers. Similarly Dolphins closes the CD on a gentle though cinematic note. Atmospheric pop at its best Jim Kerr's voice resonates with brittle emotion, with the lush backing building slowly until it fills the room. Somehow it seems the perfect ending to what is definitely their best recording in a very long time.

Jim Kerr says "We wanted to make an album once again that was full of dramatic and atmospheric pop music. We felt that we needed an album that proved as much to ourselves as anyone else, that the big beating heart of Simple Minds was very much alive and driving us on once again. Having delivered Black and White 050505, an album that we believe is 'classic Simple Minds,' albeit with a whole new energy. We can honestly say that we are delighted with the results and look forward with a totally revitalised outlook to this next phase of our on going creativity. We feel with some certainty that people who grew up with Simple Minds will share our enthusiasm for this new work. While at the same time, given the chance, we also feel that these new songs are good enough to interest a whole new contemporary audience. Needless to say, in the tradition of all great rock bands, we are extremely excited at the prospect of playing this album live on stage and look forward to doing exactly that in the near future."

black and white 050505: track listing
1.    Stay Visible
2.    Home
3.    Stranger
4.    Different World
5.    Underneath The Ice
6.    The Jeweller (Part Two)
7.    Black And White
8.    Kiss The Ground
9.    Dolphins


For those too young to remember Simple Minds the first time around the group are perhaps best known for their 1985 number one hit Don't You (Forget About Me) from the film The Breakfast Club, the classic 'Brat Pack' movie starring a very young Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald. Scotland's Simple Minds evolved from a post-punk art rock band influenced by Roxy Music into a grand, epic-sounding pop band. The band grew out of a Glasgow punk group called Johnny and the Self-Abusers, which featured guitarist Charlie Burchill and lead singer Jim Kerr. The inaugural 1978 lineup of Simple Minds featured a rhythm section of Tony Donald on bass and Brian McGee on drums, plus keyboardist Mick McNeil; Donald was soon replaced by Derek Forbes.

Their early albums leaped from one style to another, with Life in a Day consisting mostly of dense, arty pop songs; critical acclaim followed the darker, more experimental art rock of Real to Real Cacophony and the Euro-disco of Empires and Dance. The group began a transition to a more accessible pop style with the albums Sons and Fascination and Sister Feelings Call, originally issued together and subsequently split up. New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) became their first chart album in the U.S., and the tour-shy McGee quit owing to burgeoning popularity, eventually being replaced by Mel Gaynor. Following the Steve Lillywhite-produced Sparkle in the Rain, Jim Kerr married Pretenders' lead singer Chrissie Hynde (the two groups had toured together).

After Bryan Ferry rejected the opportunity to sing Don't You (Forget about Me), Simple Minds almost did so as well; Kerr was dissatisfied with the song's lyrics, which he regarded as formulaic. His change of heart gave Simple Minds their only American chart-topper, and the song later became an international hit as well; however, Kerr's feelings about the song remained ambivalent, and it did not appear on the follow-up album, Once Upon a Time. This album went gold and reached the U.S. Top Ten. The next ten years saw the group release a number of albums, all of which failed to match the dizzy heights of their earlier successes… until now.

publicity contact

Suzanne Noble or Dan Deacon @ NOBLE PR
Central Ignition
1 Mercers Mews
London, England
N19 4PL
Tel: +44 (0) 207 272 7772
Fax: +44 (0) 207 272 2227

Press release electronically distributed by Noble PR Ltd on the 5th July 2005.

View the original release here.