Simple Minds are a Scottish New Wave/modern-rock band that released 11 albums on Virgin between 1979 and 1995, achieving UK/Euro fame with a prolific string of titles during the early 1980s.
Members: Jim Kerr (vocals), Charlie Burchill (guitar), Brian McGee (drums, 1977-81), Tony Donald (bass, 1977-78), John Milarky (vocals, guitar, saxophone, 1977), Alan McNeil (guitar, 1977), Derek Forbes (bass, 1978-85, 1997-98), Michael MacNeil (keyboards, 1978-89), Duncan Barnwell (guitar, 1978), Kenny Hyslop (drums, 1981-82), Mike Ogletree (drums, 1982), Mel Gaynor (drums, 1983-94, 1998-present), John Giblin (bass, 1985-88), Malcolm Foster (bass, 1989-95)
Simple Minds are one of two bands to emerge from Glasgow punks Johnny & the Self Abusers, which cut the September 1977 Chiswick single “Saints and Sinners” (b/w “Dead Vandals”) and disbanded on the day of its release. That band featured three guitarists, two of whom (friends Allan McNeill and co-vocalist John Milarky) went off to form Cuban Heels. The remaining four Abusers — singer Jim Kerr, guitarist Charlie Burchill, drummer Brian McGee, and bassist Tony Donald — renamed themselves Simple Minds, derived from the lyric “He’s so simple-minded” in the David Bowie song “Jean Genie.” The four had been schoolmates.
In early 1978, Simple Minds added keyboardist Mick MacNeil and second guitarist Duncan Barnwell, though the latter only lasted 10 months. That summer, Donald cleared way for bassist Derek Forbes, a friend of Barnwell’s. The lineup of Kerr, Burchill, McGee, MacNeil, and Forbes established a following on the Scottish club circuit and impressed Zoom Records owner Bruce Findlay, who became their manager and secured a contract with Zoom’s parent label Arista.
Life in a Day
Simple Minds released their debut album, Life in a Day, on April 20, 1979, on Zoom.
Real to Real Cacophony
Simple Minds released their second album, Real to Real Cacophony, on November 23, 1979, on Zoom and Arista.
Empires and Dance
Simple Minds released their third album, Empires and Dance, on September 12, 1980, on Arista.
Sons and Fascination / Sister Feelings Call
Simple Minds released their fourth album, Sons and Fascination / Sister Feelings Call, as a two-record set on September 4, 1981, on Virgin. The two records are housed in separate sleeves but were initially bound in shrink-wrap as a single purchase item. Virgin later issued the two records as individual titles.
New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
Simple Minds released their fifth album, New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84), on September 17, 1982, on Virgin.
In March 1983, Virgin Italy issued “New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)” as the album’s fourth and final a-side, backed with “Somebody Up There Likes You.”
Sparkle in the Rain
“Don’t You (Forget About Me)”
Once Upon a Time
Simple Minds released their seventh album, Once Upon a Time, on October 21, 1985, on Virgin and A&M.
“Alive and Kicking” appeared in late September as an advance single, backed with an instrumental version of the song. It appeared weeks later on US A&M, backed with a live version of “Up on the Catwalk.”
In January 1986, Virgin lifted “Sanctify Yourself” as the second single, backed with an instrumental version. The single also appeared as a double-pack with live versions of the Sons track “Love Song” and the Lou Reed staple “Street Hassle.”
Street Fighting Years
- Life in a Day (1979)
- Real to Real Cacophony (1979)
- Empires and Dance (1980)
- Sister Feelings Call (1981)
- Sons and Fascination (1981)
- New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) (1982)
- Sparkle in the Rain (1984)
- Once Upon a Time (1985)
- Street Fighting Years (1989)
- Real Life (1991)
- Good News From the Next World (1995)
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