The Cocteau Twins enjoyed an odd contradictory duality within the Simple Minds' canon: it was both one of their
most obscure early songs and simultaneously one of their most well-known.
Musically it was a frantic, bold blast of post-punk, pub-rock which wouldn’t have been out of place in the
Abuser's repertoire. Featuring frantic
drumming by Brian, furious scale-tripping by
Mick and stabbing guitar line by
Charlie, the song lurched from its frenzied verses to slower, punctuated choruses where
Jim emphasised the song's title: "The Cocteau Twins."
The writing of Jean Cocteau heavily influenced Jim during the period 1978/79
and several of the songs of the period were inspired by the author. He'd just read a compilation of Cocteau's works,
including Les Enfants Terribles, and he related the protagonists to two flatmates, hence
the Cocteau Twins. (The play was also published in English as Children of the Game which became
the working title of their debut album and the title of
another Simple Minds song.)
A live favourite, often appearing mid-set, it was officially demoed for
the band's second demo tape.
When formal recording started for Life In A Day,
John Leckie guided the removal
of most of the excesses of the song, tidying it up and slowing its manic tempo.
Jim also took the opportunity to reshape the lyrics, and all
connections with Cocteau were removed in the resultant No Cure.
(Whilst some songs kept their titles during the recording process, and were even logged on the tape boxes with them,
the Cocteau Twins was obviously reworked early in the recordings, as the title doesn't appear on any of the tape boxes.)
The Cocteau Twins would've remained an obscure rarity if it wasn't for Liz Frasier, Robin Guthrie and
Will Heggie who named their nascent band The Cocteau Twins after hearing the song. Hailing from Grangemouth,
the trio would've heard
the track at one of Simple Minds' late 1978 shows. (Most probably the show
of the 28th December 1978 when Guthrie and Heggie were supporting Simple Minds as The Heat). This
would've also been one of the last live performances of the track, as Simple Minds didn't play it after 1978.
The original live version of the song is only available on dodgy, badly recorded cassette bootlegs.
Part of the demo was aired on BBC Radio One as part of The Street Fighting Years retrospective,
but it wasn't until 1998 that the full demo was officially (and fleetingly) released on
The Early Years 1978-78.
Cocteau Twins (Demo)
The lyrics have never been published.