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Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Revisiting Sparkle in the Rain - Simple Minds (1984)

Sparkle in the Rain - Simple Minds
Virgin Records
Produced by Steve Lillywhite
Released 6th February 1984
UK Chart #1
US Chart #64

    Jim Kerr – vocals
    Charlie Burchill – acoustic and electric guitars
    Derek Forbes – bass, vocals
    Mel Gaynor – drums, vocals
    Mick MacNeil – keyboards, vocals

Additional personnel
    Kirsty MacColl – vocals on "Speed Your Love to Me" and "Street Hassle".

 Singles from Sparkle in the Rain


Waterfront (Extended Version)
    Released: 4 November 1983 
UK #13



Speed Your Love To Me (Extended Version)
    Released: 22 January 1984 
UK #20



UK #27

New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) released in 1982 had reached the highest any previous Simple Minds album had on the Charts (#3), they even manged to get three singles from it into the Top 40 (two of those, Promised You A Miracle and Glittering Prize, squeezed into the Top 20: Promised #13 and Glittering #16).

With their sixth Studio Album in five years, Sparkle in the Rain, they catapulted to the Top of the Album Charts in the UK in February 1984. It would spark a dose of good fortune for the band with a number of Albums that followed reaching either #1(Once Upon A Time - 1985 and Street Fighting Years - 1989) or #2 (Real Life - 1991 and Good News From The Next World - 1995) and more than twenty singles between 1984-1998 would grace the charts including their only #1 in the UK - Belfast Child and their only #1 hit in the USA - Don't You (Forget About Me) - that reached #7 here in the UK.

The only thing I really disliked about the album was their cover of Lou Reed's Street Hassle, I don't think they did it any justice at all. Apart from that there were a lot of good things about the album that get a thumbs up. Their sound was developing into what would become known as "Big Music" and obviously a lot of that had to do with all band members making a contribution musically and the bigness of their sound really came to fruition with their next album Once Upon A Time that would follow a year later in 1985.

I disagree with those that say Simple Minds were on a path of just following hard after U2 (an NME writer reviewing the album had called them U3, much to the annoyance of the band), a similar charge was often thrown at The Alarm and yet those bands each have their own unique stylings. Sparkle was yet another step on the journey to crafting that style to where the band wanted to be. 

Producer Steve Lillywhite should be given some credit as well as he brought out the best in the band by getting them to work as a unit rather than everyone doing their own thing and then flinging it all together in the hope that a song might come out of it!

Sparkle in the Rain remains a particular favourite of mine even after all these years.

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