when spirits rise
Words and music: Simple Minds
© 1989 Virgin Music (Publishers) Ltd
"I got this one on the piano at home one day. I couldn't hear anything else play the tune but bagpipes. In the studio I
created my own synth-bagpipes, just to get the idea of it." - Mick MacNeil - Street Fighting Years book.
It was originally called The Lament and was one of the older songs, a personal project which Mick worked
on in his spare time. "By the end of the studio day, Mick goes
into his own world of his computers, all on headphones, and you never really get to hear what he's doing. But the pipes were so shrill I
could hear strains. He played it when I asked, but I didn't know what we could do with it. I thought: one more for the library,
or one more for Aurora Borealis." - Jim Kerr - Street Fighting Years book.
While driving home one night, Jim kept playing it and became convinced that it had to be included on the album.
"It's the end of the second part of the album, the cosmopolitan part. It ends with an uplifting note. To me it ends in dusk. It never
ended in twilight."
It was formally recorded with local bagpipe player Roger Sharp. Jim never liked the original title of
The Lament, so its name was changed to When Spirits Rise. Tape logs show the bagpipes were recorded in January 1989, with rough
mixes collected together in February, and the final mix being created in March.
It was part of the opening of the Street Fighting Years concerts as Jim
felt it wasn't about death or grief: "It's not something dying. It's something being born. It's something rising up."
Space restrictions meant it was only originally released on the cassette and CD versions of the album. When the album was reissued in 2020 on vinyl,
it was pressed up as a double, so When Spirits Rise finally gained its vinyl debut.
"When Spirits Rise tied up a lot of things that had happened to us to reach that point in our career. For me, it
epitomised everything we did up to the making of that record." - Mick - Street Fighting Years Super Deluxe
Album Version (2:01)
Produced by: Stephen Lipson and Trevor Horn
Engineers: Heff Moraes, Robin Hancock
Assistant Engineers: Danton Supple, Martin Plant