A girl on whom I held a massive crush in high school gave me one of her senior year photos, and on the back she wrote, “I will never hear Simple Minds without thinking of you.” And even then I thought, “Um, thanks?” Which is no disrespect to one of Scotland’s finest, but rather that if you remove the upper case in that band name, it goes from compliment to slam in a nanosecond. Still, I knew she wasn’t calling me a simple mind; I played the daylights out of those guys for anyone who’d listen, beginning with 1984’s drumtastic Sparkle in the Rain. My rocker friends caught on the following year when the band released their breakthrough hit Once Upon a Time, but by then, I was going back and discovering the New Romantic beauty of New Gold Dream. Today’s WLW will highlight mixes of two songs from these three albums, hopefully without dredging up any painful high school memories in the process.
Promised You a Miracle
The one that started it all for many American Anglophiles, and arguably the last time Simple Minds did anything that didn’t fall in the shadow of something U2 had already done. Listen to that bass playing. The whole album is filled with that stuff. It’s wonderful.
Someone Somewhere in Summertime
I didn’t come upon this mix until a few years ago – and as much as I love the song, it doesn’t exactly scream ‘dance floor filler’ – but better late than never.
This was one of those great moments for me when a remix began exactly the way I imagined it would, with a four-bar repeat of the song’s first big drum fill. Steve Lillywhite didn’t really make remixes with the club goer in mind; the idea of the 12″ mix was still uncharted territory, so many of these mixes were done in the wee hours of the morning as a lark. Works for me.
Up on the Catwalk
I’m going to be honest – I was terribly disappointed when I first heard this mix. The thunderous drum intro this song has on Sparkle in the Rain is positively flattened here. In fact, the entire mix job strips the song of all its energy. Damn.
This was the first real Simple Minds mix (official one, that is) to dabble in editing. (The dub mix is much more cut up than the 12″ mix included here.) At the time, I remember being sorely disappointed whenever a mix didn’t sound like something Arthur Baker would have done. In retrospect, keeping the knives away from this rather pure song about salvation was the right call.
All the Things She Said
I was only 17 was this came out, and had no real idea of how the music business works (and still don’t), but even then, I had a sneaking suspicion that this mix was proof that the label was not putting much effort into this single. Then again, they did pony up for one of those Zbigniew RybczyÅ„ski-directed layered rinse/repeat videos (think Pet Shop Boys’ “Opportunities,” Missing Persons’ “I Can’t Think about Dancing”), which couldn’t have been cheap. Ooh, money pants! (Click for video, embedding disabled)