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Friday, 21 October 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 295 Simple Minds (#5)

Once Upon A Time - Simple Minds
Virgin
Produced by Jimmy Iovine and Bob Clearmountain
Released 21st October 1985
UK Chart #1
US Chart #10


A1 Once Upon A Time    
A2 All The Things She Said    
A3 Ghost Dancing    
A4 Alive And Kicking
B1 Oh Jungleland    
B2 I Wish You Were Here    
B3 Sanctify Yourself    
B4 Come A Long Way



There were two covers for the album

 Personnel
Simple Minds

    Jim Kerr – vocals
    Charlie Burchill – guitar
    Michael MacNeil – piano, synthesizer
    Mel Gaynor – drums, vocals
    John Giblin – bass


Additional personnel
    Carlos Alomar – backing vocals
    Michael Been of The Call – backing vocals
    Robin Clark – vocals
    Sue Hadjopoulos – percussion
    Frank Simms and George Simms of The Simms Brothers Band – backing vocals


Singles on Once Upon A Time
(these are the 12" Versions):


Alive and Kicking / Alive and Kicking (Instrumental)
(September 1985 UK #7, US #3)
 

 Sanctify Yourself (Extended Mix) / Sanctify Yourself Dub
(January 1986 UK #10, US #14)
 


********************

I posted about this album last year as part of the on-going Rewind Series and so I'll try not to repeat myself too much about what I've said before. 

When you like a band from the very start of their career and you hold everything they do as precious, and you buy the records, go to the shows, get the merch and read everything you can about the band but lo and behold they start gettting noticed a bit more, you begin getting concerned. All of a sudden the gigs have gotten bigger and there are way more people at them than you have ever seen. That moment you suddenly realise that the band you prize as your very own are now worldwide! Maybe a little resentment creeps in because tickets are harder to come by and the band are not as accessible as they once were when they were playing smaller venues. Some have then turned face and cried "sellout" and then maybe go off and fixate on somebody new and start the process all over again. It's a little bit like that with some fans of Simple Minds (and I know bands like R.E.M. experienced this kind of thing also) when it comes to the Once Upon A Time album!

I know that may sound a little extreme but there are actually people who think like that and it's always puzzled me. For any band that I have liked I've always been quite happy to see their growth, not only musically, but also when it comes to more people discovering what I and others had always known, that they were a great band.

The success of the single Don't You (Forget About Me) particularly in America had catapulted Simple Minds into new territory. The song had reached #1 there and was included on The Breakfast Club Soundtrack (here in the UK it peaked at #7). I was glad that they hadn't included it as part of the Once Upon A Time album (although their label wanted them to do so). I had heard it way too many times and grew a bit tired of it. Like many I was unaware that three other artists had rejected the song (Cy Curnin of The Fixx, Bryan Ferry and Billy Idol) as had Simple Minds. They were "encouraged" by their American label to record the song. According to one account, the band "rearranged and recorded 'Don't You (Forget About Me)' in three hours in a north London studio and promptly forgot about it.They didn’t realise that they’d recorded the title song. And the title song of The Breakfast Club reached Number One in the US charts. After trying for years, they’d finally broken the American market with a song that the band didn’t care for much."  I have to say that I'm not a big fan of the song myself either and have similar feelings for Pretty in Pink by The Psychedelic Furs which also ended up on a Soundtrack and gave The Furs a bigger audience in the world then they had enjoyed previously.

I said in the Rewind piece that I had gone off of the music of Simple Minds for a while and not all their albums had been such a thrill for me to listen to apart from a song here and there. That wasn't me trying to be precious about them but merely making a point that with my own particular taste at the time certain albums appeared on the scene just didn't connect with me. That by the way does not ring true just for Simple Minds, I could add a number of other artists and bands to the list - U2, The Alarm, Bruce Springsteen, Bananarama (okay I was kidding about them!) to name but a few.

But Once Upon A Time I actually liked from start to finish and I have no problem admitting to that. Personally I don't think there is a bad track on it (I know there will be those who disagree).

Their seventh studio album is one of their biggest sellers throughout their whole career having being certified 3x Platinum here in the UK alone!

I remember earlier in the summer of 1985 when Simple Minds were playing the US part of the Live Aid Event and that was the first time I heard Ghostdancing. It was the first song of a three song set (the others were Don't You Forget About Me and Promised You A Miracle - the satellite link was lost during the song). I thought it was one of the best songs of theirs that I had heard for ages and had to wait a good few months for the album to appear to hear the studio version.

As for the singles released from the album. I know I'm a bit of a moaner about the excessive amount of singles released from an album but I do think two as a maximum would be good - and that's why I'm not raking in the cash as a music executive! 

From the eight tracks on the album four were released as singles (five if you include Oh Jungleland as a B-Side). As one who enjoyed buying 7" or 12" Singles, the releases by Simple Minds from this album did disappoint me a little, mainly because of the inclusion of Instrumentals of the A-Side on the B-Sides; only All The Things She Said didn't go that route.



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