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simple minds sessions and radio-only live performances

I had problems compiling the definitive list of Simple Minds sessions. Not because the historical record is lacking, but because itís difficult to know where to draw the line.

For example, firstly I decided to list only those recordings where the band recorded live tracks in the radio stationís studio. Whilst this formed a complete list, I was worried that other unique and interesting performances would fall by the wayside e.g. the Burbank recordings.

Therefore, I split this list into two parts. The first part comprises the definitive sessions, recorded and broadcast as such; the second list being live, exclusive performances broadcast on radio shows that would otherwise fall between the gaps unless included here.

bbc radio one: kid jensen
Recorded: 2th April 1979
Broadcast: 10th April 1979
Producer and Engineer: Mike Engles

Life In A Day
Cheslea Girl
No Cure

The band's first album was still hot on the vinyl presses, when Simple Minds were ushered into BBC Radio One to record their first session. Recorded for David "Kid" Jensen (who focussed on new and breaking acts along with John Peel), the session was a showcase for the album, with the band performing current single Life In A Day, potential new single Chelsea Girl and album stalwart No Cure.

Some mystery surrounds this session as it's never been officially released or bootlegged. When asked about an early Simple Minds track called Hell, Mick MacNeil said it had been written specifically for these recordings. It remains to be confirmed whether Hell was actually performed and/or broadcast; or if the written record of the archive is incorrect.

The evidence for this recording came from a book of published Peel and Jensen sessions. However, the BBC do not have it in their archives, the band don't have it in their archive, and no-one seems to have recorded a copy from the broadcast. It would appear that the session is now lost.

piccadilly radio 261
Recorded: 7th June 1979
Producer and Engineer: Simple Minds and Stuart James

Here Comes The Fool
Chelsea Girl
Garden Of Hate
The Naked Eye

By June, the band were gearing up for their own UK tour and the release of Chelsea Girl. Given their penchant for writing new material for sessions, it's possible that either Here Comes The Fool or Naked Eye were written for this occasion.

It opened with the only known session of live favourite Here Comes The Fool. The session featured a more measured performance of the track with a unique guitar introduction. Here Comes The Fool was formally recorded during the Real To Real Cacophony sessions but remains unreleased. A live version was the first to be officially released on rarity-compilation Silver Box.

Chelsea Girl and Garden Of Hate were thrown into the mix to promote their current single. And The Naked Eye appeared as a glimpse of what was to come; although the lyrics in this version were far stronger than the version which eventually appeared on Real To Real Cacophony.

At this time, sessions by the band were considered as free studio time, and they'd record extra material to take advantage of the facilities and prepare demos. In that respect, this session was part of the demo recordings for the forthcoming Real To Real Cacophony.

bbc radio one: john peel
Recorded: 19th December 1979
Broadcast: 7th January 1980
Producer: Trevor Dan
Engineer: Nick Gomm

Citizen (Dance Of Youth)

The band's first John Peel session showcased key songs from the newly released Real To Real Cacophony. As a surprise, they also chose to record Room, a song which had appeared in their live set a few weeks previously.

Peel was impressed by Real To Real Cacophony and played the whole album over several shows fearing that it would get little airplay otherwise.

The entire session was released on Silver Box in 2004.
Silver Box

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

I Travel
Thirty Frames A Second
Captial City
New Warm Skin

Again, the band used a radio session as free studio time to prepare recordings for their forthcoming Empires And Dance album. Very little is known about these recordings nor how many of the songs were actually broadcast.

These recordings were also listed in Mick MacNeil's archive where they were simply described as "radio sessions."

The entire session was eventually released on Silver Box in 2004 with the songs described as demos.

Eddie Cairns remembers driving the band to Maida Vale Studios between 7th and 17th October 1980. This could be the source of these recordings which would make them post-album sessions and not demos. Also this would've been a perfect opportunity to promote the forthcoming Empires And Dance UK Tour. Whilst this all neatly fits in, it does raise other questions: why did this Peel or 'Kid' Jensen session remain undocumented; and why did they record six tracks instead of the more usual three or four?
Silver Box

bbc radio one: kid jensen
Recorded: 11th February 1982
Broadcast: 23rd February 1982
Producer: John Owen Williams
Engineer: Mike Robinson

Promised You A Miracle
In Trance As Mission
King Is White And In The Crowd

This session must've been booked at the last minute. They had little to promote in the UK as the Sons And Fascination had already completed its UK leg. But, it was booked so the band could demo two new ideas which emerged during the Rockfield rehearsal sessions in January, and to start promoting one of those ideas as a new single.

This version of Promised You A Miracle was recorded as the demo. The band were booked into The Townhouse the next day to start work on the formal recording. Already the song was starting to take on the lush sound which would be the signature of New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84). Producer Pete Walsh only needed to tighten up the arrangement and remove some spurious lyrics.

Live favourite In Trance As Mission was an obvious choice.

And the band remained true to their session-inspired roots and brought in another new song to demo. Unlike Promised You A Miracle, King Is White And In The Crowd was still in a very basic form, sounding very sparse. Yet this spacious outing of the song was liked as it was eventually released as a B-side on Someone Somewhere (In Summertime) and for many years remained the only session officially released by the band.

The other two songs were eventually released on Silver Box in 2004.

Their only session recorded with Kenny Hyslop.
Someone Somewhere (In Summertime) 7" Silver Box

studio davout
Recorded: February 1982
Broadcast: -
Producer: -
Engineer: -

The American
Promised You A Miracle

Simple Minds were a month into the second leg of the Sons And Fascination tour when these four tracks were recorded in France. Having already visited The Netherlands, Sweden and Germany, the band were now comfortable with the songs.

Recorded as a promo TV appearance for the forthcoming French leg of the tour, the band picked choice tracks to represent their back catalogue. A rousing version The American opened the set which was presented in its extended version. Celebrate and Premonition confirmed the strong propulsive, almost mechanistic, characteristics of their earlier albums whilst Promised You A Miracle (which had still to be released) suggested the warm textures and complexity which would underline New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84).

This "session" again calls into question the concept of the session. Is it a session or rather a recording of Simple Minds live? Either way, it remains unreleased.

The date of the session is also unknown. But it's more likely to be February 1982 as Kenny Hyslop is still drumming.

(The performance was also filmed and various bad multi-generation VHS clones have made their way onto the Internet. Most haven't been converted properly from the native SECAM into PAL, which has resulted in the colour being lost.)

bbc radio one: john peel
Recorded: May 1982
Broadcast: May 1982
Producer: ???
Engineer: ???

Promised You A Miracle
Love Song
Sons And Fascination
King Is White And In The Crowd

This session should be known as the "lost session" as recording dates, master tapes and other details were subsequently lost in time. Despite being a high-profile Peel session (and their last for the legendary DJ), the recording slipped through the gaps and it escaped being documented by various lists and chronologies.

The recording dates eventually attributed to this session were also incorrect, being given as the 15th February. This was clearly incorrect as days after Jensen session, the band were supposed to have recorded a second session, swapped drummers, recorded Promised You A Miracle, and disappeared to Europe on tour.

The BBC have lost the master tape. A copy in the band's archive is dated May 1982, which suggests it was promoted by the success of the single.

Their second and final John Peel session was a mixture of old and new.

Promised You A Miracle had now been formally recorded at The Townhouse, the lyrics had reached their final form, and the performance was similar to the album version. (Note that many bootlegs, all from the same source, were badly recorded and the tempo is incorrect.)

Love Song was slower and now included an extended percussive introduction, but the energy increased with Sons And Fascination which was much the same as the album cut.

The session ended with warmer version of King Is White And In The Crowd which was much less frosty than the version recorded for Kid Jensen.

Recorded with new drummer Mike Ogletree.

bbc radio one: kid jensen
Recorded: 13th August 1982
Broadcast: 26th September 1982
Producer: John Sparrow
Engineer: Mike Robinson

Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
Glittering Prize
Hunter And The Hunted

This session was recorded as promotion for the forthcoming New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) album which was to be released a month later.

Someone Somewhere (In Summertime) got its radio debut after being played several times during the summer. The future single didn't depart much from the album version - with the exception of Charlie's solo introduction - despite being logged by BBC engineers as Summer Song which was its demo title.

As Glittering Prize had been recorded and released as the current single then this session version didn't depart much. Likewise Hunter And The Hunted had also been finished in the studio and the arrangement was fresh in their minds.

The entire session was finally released on Silver Box.
Silver Box

bbc radio one: kid jensen
Recorded: 11th September 1983
Broadcast: 3rd October 1983
Producer: Dale Griffin
Engineer: Mike Engels

The Kick Inside Of Me
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)

With the new single, Waterfront, about to be released, Simple Minds made a timely return to BBC Radio One to record a new session. After the single's title track, the band then tackled a brand new song, which they'd only written the day before The Kick Inside Of Me. And the session was completed with a rough-and-ready tumbling through New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84).

Jim was in the studio along with Mel and chatted to David Kid Jensen about the sessions. The interview was concluded with the first radio play of the studio version of Waterfront which had just been mixed by Steve Lillywhite. John Peel was in the other studio preparing his show but couldn't resist poking his head around the studio door and quipping that "prog rock was making a comeback." Cue groans from Jim.

Like many of the band's sessions, it remained unreleased, even escaping the BBC's own compilation albums released in the 1980s. For this reason, New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84) was eventually released on the BBC's One And Only collection from 1992, which celebrated 25 years of sessions, and brought together a number of rare recordings by various artists. The band's own 25th anniversary prompted the release of another track, The Kick Inside Of Me, which turned up on Silver Box.

The entire session was finally released in the Sparkle In The Rain Super Deluxe box-set, which brought together all the recordings from the period.
Silver Box Sparkle In The Rain Remaster Super Deluxe Box

bbc radio one: nicky campbell
Recorded: ???
Broadcast: 20th February 1995 - 23rd February 1995
Producer: ???
Engineer: ???

And The Band Played On - Real Life
Great Leap Forward
See The Lights
White Light/White Heat

As promotion for Good News For The Next World, BBC Radio One was allowed into Simple Minds' rehearsal rooms where the band were preparing for the intital US leg of the tour at Burbank Studios in California.

Oddly the band chose not to focus on their current single nor promote the upcoming Hypnotised release. Instead, they concentrated on some lesser known songs which would feature on the forthcoming tour, some of which would be completely rearranged.

Presenter Nicky Campbell then broadcast a single song, one each day, during his lunchtime radio show. Jim recorded a introduction for each song.

"Hi, this is Jim Kerr of Simple Minds, coming to you from a rehearsal room in Burbank, California where it's our pleasure to be able to preview four songs from the up-and-coming live set. First up is a new song, from the album Good News From The Next World, and it is called And The Band Played On." And The Band Played On started off as the familar album take but rapidly and dramatically segued into Real Life, an arrangement which they repeated during the tour.

"Hi, you're listening to Nicky Campbell on BBC Radio One FM. We're Simple Minds, coming to you from a rehearsal room on the eve of our American tour - our first tour, that is, for four years, and a tour we're very much looking forward to. Anyway, this is another new song. Hope you enjoy it. It's called the Great Leap Forward." Only Great Leap Forward escaped any radical restructuring, most closely resembling its album counterpart.

"Hi Nicky. Hi everyone listening to Radio One FM. This is Jim Kerr of Simple Minds talking to you from Burbank, California from a rehearsal room, on the eve of a new tour. And the line-up for the band on this tour is: on drums Mark Schulman; on keyboards Mark Taylor; on bass guitar Malcolm Foster; with Charlie Burchill on guitar; and myself, Jim Kerr, on vocals. We're going to go back a bit to the album Real Life - this is one of the songs from that set called See The Lights. It's a new version and we hope you enjoy it." See The Lights appeared in a new, powerful stripped down arrangement underpinned by a lone cycling synth loop.

"Hi, this is Jim Kerr of Simple Minds, talking to you once again from Burbank, California with the last song of our four song session. This song was written by someone who's been a huge influence on our band over the years. His name is Lou Reed. And this is a song that we loved to play when we were first starting out back in Glasgow in 1977. The song is called White Light/White Heat. Once again, it's been our pleasure. Look forward to seeing you on tour in March. Until then, see you later." White Light/White Heat was presented in a slowed acoustic form.

Promo CDs and cassettes of the performance circulated around Virgin and a tiny number escaped into collectors' circles. It is possible that the tracks were being considered for future B-sides. But, despite this, none of the tracks have been officially released.

radio clyde: billy sloan
Broadcast: 14th April 2002
Producer: Gordon Goudie
Engineer: Kevin Burleigh

New Sunrise
She Moved Through The Fair
Freedom Angel

On the eve of their Floating World Tour, the band recorded a session for Billy Sloan. They opted for a stripped down acoustic set, unveiling a new arrangement of New Sunshine Morning (which was eventually released on the Spaceface, New Sunshine Morning and One Step Closer singles), a second recording of She Moved Through The Fair and the brand new song Freedom Angel.

A different take of New Sunrise with more instruments eventually turned up on the Live And Rare album.
Spaceface CD single New Sunshine Morning CD single One Step Closer CD single Live And Rare CD

bbc radio two: chris evans
Broadcast: 26th September 2014
Producer: -
Engineer: -

Don't You (Forget About Me) [Acoustic]
Alive And Kicking [Acoustic]
Honest Town [Acoustic]
Riders On The Storm [Acoustic]

As promotion for the forthcoming Big Music, Simple Minds were invited to perform on the Chris Evans' Radio Two Breakfast Show. However rather than plump for the whole band (impractical) or the more streamlined Electroset versions of the band, they elected for the even more slimline Acoustic version. The brief: two classics, one new one and a cover; Simple Minds covered that in style. Boy, was it good.

"Thanks to Chrissie Hynde for helping with yesterday's set - performed on Chris Evan's BBC Radio show: Having done the acoustic format throughout her career, her advice was of much value. Thanks to all for listening and posting such positive comments." - Jim, 27th September 2014

radio clyde: billy sloan
Broadcast: 2nd November 2014
Producer: -
Engineer: -

The American [Acoustic]
Honest Town [Acoustic]
The Man Who Sold The World [Acoustic]
Let The Day Begin [Acoustic]

The acoustic stripped-down version of Simple Minds returned to Billy Sloan's Sunday night radio show and took over the entire show. Jim and Charlie selected their favourite tracks, talked about the new album Big Music and played several exclusive acoustic tracks in session.

bbc radio two: chris evans
Broadcast: 1st February 2018
Producer: -
Engineer: -

Don't You (Forget About Me) [Acoustic]
Promised You A Miracle [Acoustic]
Magic [Acoustic]
White Wedding [Acoustic]

Simple Minds returned to The Chris Evans Breakfast show four years later as promotion for Walk Between Worlds. They stayed for most of the show, being interviewed and then playing four acoustic numbers during the last half hour.

The session was acoustic with Jim, Charlie, Gordie and Cherisse. The first two tracks appeared in their acoustic arrangements, Magic was suitably stripped down for the occasion, and keeping true to their covers rule, the session finished with Billy Idol's White Wedding.

bbc radio four: front row
Broadcast: 1st February 2018
Producer: -
Engineer: -

Don't You (Forget About Me) [Acoustic]
Magic [Acoustic]

As part of the promotion for Walk Between Worlds, the stripped-down line-up of Simple Minds (Jim, Charlie, Gordie and Cherisse) also appeared on Radio Four's flagship arts programme Front Row.

Acoustic versions of Don't You (Forget About Me) and Magic were playing during an interview with Jim and Charlie.

bbc radio two: the piano room
Broadcast: 22nd February 2022
Producer: -
Engineer: -
Arranger: Sam Sparrow

Alive And Kicking (5:50) [Orchestral]
Someone Somewhere In Summertime (4:36) [Orchestral]
The Walls Came Down (3:55) [Orchestral]

BBC Radio Two's Piano Room Month provided Simple Minds with the opportunity of picking up the pieces of the stalled 40 Years Of Hits Tour, and reboot the whole process with a performance of three songs with the backing of the BBC Concert Orchestra.

With the guidance of orchestral arranger Sam Sparrow (who'd worked with the band on Walk Between Worlds and Alive And Kicking for 80's Symphonic), a stripped down version of Simple Minds (Jim, Charlie, Berenice, Cherisse and Sarah) performed three songs with classical backing.

The format requested a classic, something new and a cover. Simple Minds bent the rules slightly by performing two classics (Alive And Kicking, Someone Somewhere In Summertime) and a 'new' cover; a version of The Call's The Walls Came Down.