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simple minds biography

Simple Minds as currently arrayed are :- Jim Kerr (vocals)
Charles Burchill (guitar)
Derek Forbes (bass)
Michael McNeill (keyboards)
Mike Ogletree (drums)

To recent converts Simple Minds appear to have sprung fully formed from their international hit single Promised You A Miracle, their first Australian top ten hit. In reality, these young Scots have spent the last four years building a well-deserved reputation through their back-breaking commitment to touring and a single-minded determination to keep pushing their music forward from its early Bowie and Roxy derived beginnings. With seven albums and numerous singles behind them, Simple Minds today stand, not before time, posied on the brink of unqualified success.

The roots of Simple Minds go back to 1977 when a group of musically aware young Glaswegians began writing and performing under the ungainly name of Johnny And The Self Abusers. After one single the band dissolved. Three elements of that raw young combo were Jim Kerr, Charles Burchill and Brian McGee. The three had been schooolmates and on the Abusers split they formed the embryonic Simple Minds. The line-up was finalised by Spring 1978 with the addition of keyboard player Michael McNeill and bass man Derek Forbes.

Emerging from the musical confusion of immediately post-punk Scotland, Simple Minds immediately looked like strong contenders. Firstly, they were well organized; long before a record deal was in sight they had been putting away a fiver a wekk each, enough to buy a school bus in which they toured Scotland and slept in while on the road. By December of that same year Simple Minds had secured a recording deal with Arista. Their debut album Life In A Day preceded a nationwide tour with Magazine and a healthy critical appreciation that has remained with the band to date.

December '79 saw the release of the Minds' second album Real To Real Cacophony and a further clutch of rave reviews. Despite the ecstatic critical reception the band were still commercially ignored in the UK. As a result Europe beckoned and after two tours welcomed the band with open arms.

After their rigorous touring the band once more returned to Rockfield to begin work on what would eventually be Empires And Dance, the band's final recorded work for Arista. Released in September 1980 the album once more mirrored a change in Minds material and was voted one of the albums of the year by the nation's music press. A tour of Europe supporting Peter Gabriel was the next step up the ladder and allowed the Empires And Dance era material to be aired to over 300,000 people.

The band were, however, disillusioned with Arista and this disillusion led to a resolve to leave that label. After beating off heavy competition Virgin inked a pact with the band in February 1981. The band immediately recorded a new single, The American which not only continued the strong dance orientated direction of Empires And Dance, but also became the band's most successful single up to that point in time.

Their debut album for Virgin, the twinned Sons And Fascination and Sister Feelings Call saw the light of day in August 1981 and once more met with the by now obligatory mass critical acclaim. Commercial success was also on the build; the pair of albums spawning a further two hits in Love Song and Sweat In Bullet.

On the English tour that followed the release of the double album, Simple Minds featured as their special guests Australia's Icehouse, at that time touring the world in support of their recently released first album. In November, Icehouse repaid the favour by featuring Simple Minds on their last Australian tour, introducing a band known, if at all, by name only to audiences that were stunned by the musical power and commanding live presence of these Scottish unknowns. By the time Simple Minds had left Australia Love Song was on the way to being a national top 20 single, and their album had jumped into the upper reaches of the national charts. So strong was their impact that Simple Minds were rated by most of Australia's music press as the most outstanding live band t o tour the country that year. When the band headlined a short series of pub dates at the end of the tour, word of mouth reaction to their concerts with Icehouse led to a series of sell-outs, with hundreds turned away each night.

The real success however came after drummers McGee and his temporary replacement Kenny Hyslop departed to pastures new. Fellow Scot Mike Ogletree, formally of Cafe Jacques stepped in behind the kit and by this time Promised You A Miracle was scaling the heights of chartland. This single, in fact the first recorded specifically for a single and not as part of an album, was a major hit in the UK, throughout Europe and in Australia, where it entered the national top ten.

Simple Minds have just completed their lastest album, entitled New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) which will be released in Australia prior to their forthcoming tour. The first single from the album, Glittering Prize, is out now and looks set to follow Promised You A Miracle up the charts.


Life In A Day Real To Real Cacophony
Empires And Dance Sons And Fascination
Sister Feeelings Call New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)

Distributed as a four-page press release photocopied on orange paper.