It was 36 years since the release of Once Upon A Time yesterday. I find it an anniversary that usually passes me by without any fanfare. Unlike April for Life In A Day. Or November for Real To Real Cacophony. Or even my birthday for Big Music (seemingly deemed to be early November these days as its release but I received my pre-ordered copy on my birthday in 2014).
But especially in September when we get the run of anniversaries just a day apart – Empires And Dance, Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call and New Gold Dream.
This is starting to sound like I am big on anniversaries and know them all….but I don’t. Once Upon A Time is a case in point. It slips my mind every year. Probably because of the time of year it happens. Ten days before my birthday. I’m usually preoccupied with that.
In 1985 I got the album for my birthday…I think. It might have been for Christmas….I have an appalling memory! I know I wanted it though and I did receive a copy of it for either of these occasions. It was the first Simple Minds piece of music I had ever owned. It SHOULD mean more to me! I SHOULD remember the date. There SHOULD be some significance to it, but alas….
Why? Why is that? Honestly? I think I have just grown weary of it. Which is sad. I feel sad that I feel like this. I didn’t feel this way about OUAT in 2014. But the whole Simple Minds back catalogue was so new to me then. I felt a nostalgia and a reverence for the album then.
Move forward to 2021 and I can’t even play the album these days. Or more, I have little interest in playing it. Unlike with Real To Real, EAD, SAF/SFC and NGD – all of whose songs I never tire of. I just can’t bring myself to listen to Once Upon A Time.
It kind of scares me how tired of Alive And Kicking, Sanctify Yourself, All The Things She Said, and even the title track Once Upon A Time I have become. To a lesser degree it affects Ghostdancing and Oh Jungleland. I Wish You Were Here has been played minimally enough not to be too affected. And when I played the album back in the day I would always skip Come A Long Way anyway, so that’s pretty unaffected too. And I have grown to appreciate the song in recent years.
I rarely talk in the negative like this about Simple Minds. Well…I try very hard not to talk in negatives, anyway. (We are the “meek and unambitious” and we shall not have our voices heard!) But…I do feel mournful that I have grown so weary of OUAT – for without it, I may never have become a Simple Minds fan at all! Either the fairweather fan I had been since the day of its release up until the summer of 2014 – or from that point on until the present day in fervent fandom.
I hope my love returns. I hope with enough of a break, and the passage of time, I will feel able to listen to it once more. It might depend on certain changes to the live setlist though – or my not going to any more Simple Minds gigs. Or fewer of them. I don’t know.
As soon as I had posted my piece about the “Seven Year Itch” and not really listening to them at all much, it turned it around and I was listening to them again. Maybe just posting and the airing of this will have me listening to OUAT again?
“The Man in the Sky”, Mick MacNeil, was being interviewed….well, more joined in in a live stream chat (with a loose interview in there) for this YouTube channel called the Pro Synth Network. Basically a weekly synth geek’s get together to discuss all things Synth and keyboard based. New bits of kit out on the market, etc, etc.
Once we get the technicals and geek talk out the way, about 45 minutes in, then there is talk with Mick about his time with Simple Minds and just…his background of being a synth player and how it all came to be. It’s a great thing and Mick shares great anecdotes and is a lot of fun. He always gives great banter.
I am going to drop in on the interview right at the point where Mick says he went to see the band before he joined. What he says about Jim absolutely cracked me up and had me in stitches! Which then meant I missed the next minute or so of the conversation. The very interesting point Mick made about Jim and his stutter (or on anyone with a stutter – in the broader sense).
Anyway, let’s cut to it. But I recommended you maybe go back a few minutes on the clip and listen to Mick talk about taking up (or having it thrust upon him, more accurately!) the accordion and sticking with the rest of the video.
A surprising Simple Minds Top 5, I’d say but probably not from an American fan stand point. And nothing really discussed post 1986 which, well…given the broader subject of this YouTuber’s channel is 1980s music, it makes sense. But…SM did have the high selling Live In The City Of Lights and Street Fighting Years released before the decade was done.
I guess for me, sadly, most songs from Once Upon A Time feel overplayed now. So I do try and limit my exposure to them. I loooooved Sanctify Yourself at the time but I feel overexposed to it now. Which makes me sad that I don’t enjoy listening to it as much as I once would have. The same goes with Alive And Kicking. I need to be reminded of the greatness of some of these songs as the overexposure leaves me jaded. And the less we talk about Copenhagen and “ba-na-na-na”, the better! Lol. I’m sure Jim would LOVE that Otis Reading comparison!
But then there are other songs that I never, ever tire of. And two of the others in his Top 5 fall into that category – namely: Waterfront and Promised You A Miracle.
And there are tracks on Once Upon A Time I still love hearing: Ghostdancing, Oh Jungleland, I Wish You Were Here are the ones I still love to hear.
The thing I will say about Don’t You and all the crap urban myths that abound with this is – some time back (4-5 years ago) I saw Billy Idol tweet Keith Forsey with a question that read “did you offer me Don’t You (Forget About Me) to record?” Keith Forsey replied “No.” And then Billy Idol tweeted – “I REST MY CASE!” Lol
Anyway, see what you think. Do you agree with the Professor of Pop’s choices? Let me know what you think. What would be YOUR Top 5 Simple Minds tracks?
Now, see…no one (no fans I know, anyways) seem to like these trousers…but…they are rather…tight (Oh, god…I’m going to hell in a hand cart!). I enjoyed watching this quite a bit to be honest. So much so in fact, when he says “Everything okay?”, I replied “Yep! I’m copping an eyeful. It’s grand!” Lol (I’m SSOO bad!)And just so the guys don’t miss out (and those ladies of us that way inclined), we appear to be at the height of the “wear a bra as a top” fashion phase with the backing singers. Enjoy!
(YouTube clip erroneously labelled as being 2012 rather than 2002)
Well, here we are at the final of the six shows Jim has done for KX 93.5. Excuse me while I shed a genuine tear :,(
And, so…here goes…
Patti Smith – Redondo Beach…Patti Smith does reggae? Well, it sounds very reggae to me! I’ve always loved what I’ve heard of hers, but never given her enough of my time. This track is awesome though. She’s great!
I love the passion he speaks with. Just such, such a fan of music. It just oozes out of him. Love it!
Moby – Natural Blues…I played “Play” SSSOO much. Really was just the music I was into at the end of the 90s/early 00s. I was really into dance music then…him, Fatboy Slim…lots of Chillout stuff. It was my “thang” then.
Alanis Morrisette – Hand In My Pocket…yep. “I’m brave but I’m chicken shit” – always thought that line summed me up well! Jagged Little Pill got played to death as well. And if you’ve never seen it, you MUST look up Ed Byrne’s routine on Ironic. It’s hilarious!
The Pretenders – Middle Of The Road… “The Wild Cat”! Lol. Man, he still loves her so much 🙂 Maybe I need to steal her balls? Lol. I wish! The talk about the harmonica was interesting. And I must admit that I, like him, do associate more with American music. But the harmonica plays an important role in my favourite David Bowie track, A New Career In A New Town. An amazing blend of synths, drums and harmonica goes on in that song (instrumental). And there is harmonica on the final track of Blackstar, I Can’t Give Everything Away…which sounds so reminiscent OF ANCIANT, that Iwas crying when I first heard the track. And that was BEFORE David died 🙁
Diana Ross and The Supremes – Reflections…mum had a Supremes album. Always played it for Baby Love. I think it had Stop In The Name Of Love on it too. Sooo long ago now, can’t remember well. But I loved listening to it.
The Velvet Underground and Nico – I’ll Be Your Mirror…I know it’ll seem like I’m just bullshitting now and being an UBER swot (I do have that badge!)…but I HAD the album. Getting into Bowie…loving modern art and Warhol…it all just links up, so I had it. And I love Nico. Femme Fatale has always been my fave. Always adored they way she phrased the those “down/frown/clown” lines. “No one’s ever said that to me” he said when relaying the story of Nico’s first meeting with Lou Reed in which she said the title of the song. I’ll gladly be yours, Jim. I suppose I kind of have been, in a way…reflecting back all those awesome lyrics you have written in my art. I’d like to think of it that way, anyway.
Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes…had it on a compilation album of hits of … 1981, I think. I say it was *MY* compilation. Lol. It was my sister Cheryl’s. All my brothers’ records were mine too! As a kid, I kinda hated having older siblings because they were all grown up (esp. my brothers – the gap is smaller between Cheryl and I, at 6 years)…doing their own thing and I was the kid that dragged them down (what a clarn!). The spoilt kid that got everything. But…it was awesome on reflection. There was so much good to it. A bit of bad…but lots of good.
Big Mama Thornton – Hound Dog…wow!! What a voice! Thought it was a man. I bloody love that when that happens. I was there, impatiently waiting for him to tell me who it was. He was saying about Elvis, and how many times Hound Dog had been covered. I was almost shouting, “TELL ME WHO IT IS!!” Lol. Then when he said “that was Big Mama Thornton”, I was like…”Did he just say Big Mama Thornton? Like, as in, a woman!?” Yes…that was this show’s curveball for me! I remember the first time I heard Tracy Chapman. Thought she was a guy too. Actually remember thinking she sounded like John Denver! Lol. What the hell??! God I loooved her album.
Enya – Orinoco Flow…erm…surely she had her time in Clannad first, Jim? She was involved in Clannad in the early days…I’m sure. But I suppose few knew her for that.
The B52s – Give Me Back My Man…wasn’t quite so familiar with this one, but…just…ROCK LOBSTER! And Private Idaho. And Love Shack, among others. Have always loved them. Have always loved Fred’s “sprechgesang” style of performing.
The Tom Tom Club – Wordy Rappinghood…was shouting out to Em downstairs going “He’s playing The Tom Tom Club!” Lol. It would still be so awesome to hang out with him, playing music. I wish we had a half-decent house. I would sssooo invite him round for a vinyl day :-)) As if he’d come! Lol. Maybe one day, if he’s ever flying through Luton. A girl can keep dreaming, right?
Donna Summer – I Feel Love…going out with a bang, dear sir. A very SEXY bang! What a way to go out!
Oh, they have been wonderful. YOU have been wonderful, fine sir! The passion you exude for your “line of work”…your enthusiasm, is contagious. I do hope you have more chances to do it again. The Minds schedule is going to be SO hectic soon. Oh, such a bind. I’d love for you to have time on your hands to do this…but would I swap it for the chance of seeing several Minds gigs?? Probably not! In fact…NO WAY! I NEED MORE GIGS!!
Thank you so much for all the ones you have done, Jim. It’s been fabulous!
Well, it started a little late. We got Alive And Kicking itself to begin with. Not sure that Jim actually chose that as the first song to play this week. It just didn’t come across that way to me.
I believe the opening track from Jim was the next song played…She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult. Only today was I scanning a review of their 1986 Milton Keynes Bowl gig and noticed that The Cult were on the bill. Strange bedfellows – Minds and The Cult. Can’t say I really know that much about them, but am more than familiar with the song Sir chose.
Next was Elbow’s Grounds For Divorce. Guy Garvey has a great voice and what a fab opening line, “I’ve been working on a cocktail called ‘Grounds For Divorce'”. Such a fab beat to that song. And that guitar riff! But, it also reminds me of a few years back, when a friend of ours was going through a marriage breakup, and he was staying with us in our pokey little one bedroom house. This place can hardly accomodate two people, let alone three! It was his song of choice at the time. And he played it endlessly.
Then Sly And The Family Stone’s Family Affair. I am sensing a theme here, Jim? Lol. He obviously loves this song. I’ve heard it quite often…but never really LISTENED to it. Even tonight…it has a great groove for sure, but I just don’t take in the lyrics, apart from the obvious. Will really listen to it lyrically next time.
Psychedelic Furs’ Heaven was on next. I have always been a massive fan of Love My Way. But it is a song that tugs at my heart strings. It just gets to me! Heaven sounded very sweet and made me realise that I need to listen to a bit more Furs. Because other than Pretty In Pink (another John Hughes film) and Love My Way…I am very ignorant of their work.
The Police – Darkness. Inwardly, I was saying “That’s my boy! Top tune!” I ADORE The Police and I played their albums SSSOOO much in the 80s. And still do from time to time. Ghost In The Machine has been given the half-speed mastering treatment like NGD has…and I am ssooo tempted to get it! Probably will in the end. I can’t escape the thought of hearing Stewart Copeland’s drumming with that treatment! The drums on NGD sound awesome enough! I had to go off to the visitor wall and sing the praises of Stewart Copeland. He is the best drummer…ever! And I have several drumming heroes…but he is TOPS! I wanted to learn to play because of him…but kits were too expensive, and lessons, and I was already too old, I thought…when I was giving it serious thought. Too scared to try for fear of failure. Story of my life…
Jim expressed the desire that The Police had stayed together a bit longer…but I dare say either Sting, or Stewart, or BOTH of them…or Andy (wanting to kill both of them for some peace!) would have been up on murder charges had they tried to stick it out much longer!
Songs by Neneh Cherry, Tom Waits and Lloyd Cole were played.
And then he tells us the story of the Queen soundcheck. Goddamn you, Boy…you jammy jammy bugger! Lol. And he plays Killer Queen. Well, there will never be anyone quite like Freddie Mercury ever again. I mean…wow…THAT is a frontman! I love you, Jim…you know I do, but yeah…
He played Sinead O’Connor’s Fourth And Vine again. I say again because he played it on one of the Absolute shows. But it’s very worthy of a replay. It is a fab song! Thanks for playing it again, sir.
Finally, he played I’m Going Down by Bruce Springsteen. Probably not heard that in a good 25 years. I’m not the biggest Bruce fan by any means, but I don’t dislike him. I always like what I hear of his…for the most part…his version of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town is definitely an acquired taste!
It seemed a much shorter show this week due to the late start and early finish. We need a little more talk from him. Just a little. He should be hired to do the shipping forecast…do book narration…ANYTHING! As much as I love hearing him sing…I love hearing him talk. Especially so enthusiastically about the stuff he likes.
Week one of Jim’s new radio show on KX 93.5 Laguna Beach. And the only thing that does disappoint is how quickly an hour moves when listening to him (only with you, life moves so fast – yes indeed!). I think I missed the intro cos by the time I got on, Lay Lady Lay by Dylan was playing. Dylan as an opener for a show was a bit of a given. He seems to be quite the fan.
I wasn’t really making notes while listening so it’ll just be what I remember.
Early on he played Grace Jones’ Slave To The Rhythm. Anything off the Island Life compilation that came out in…1985…if memory serves me, transports me back to going down to the local library to borrow Island Life on cassette. I LOATHED cassettes but Island Life was one of these rare releases in that the cassette had BONUS tracks…On Your Knees was one of the bonus tracks. I think the other was My Jamaican Guy? I’m not sure now. But I would borrow that cassette SO MUCH! Had it on an almost permanent loan for about 18 months or something. I loved it!
This week’s curveball – Tiny Dancer! Never had Boy pegged as a Selt fan. But, there you go!
He played The Verve’s Love Is Noise and seemed to find it strange that people would Google “what is love?”. But, really…it’s a valid question. And the answer will be different for EVERYONE. How do you even answer it? Would love to know his answer! Won’t dare ask him. Think I’ve probably done my dash trying to strike up conversation with him.
He played a Doors song I was unfamiliar with…Crystal Ship. I thought I was relatively well versed with The Doors, with Steven (my bestie for 25+ years) being a fan and all…but that one escaped me. It was very pretty. Jim Morrison does have an awesome voice.
He played Massive Attack’s Protection. Has ALWAYS been a fave of mine. Gorgeously chilled and beautiful words. He ALWAYS HAS TO PICK A SONG THAT’LL MAKE ME CRY!
Iggy’s The Passenger was played. Can’t beat a bit of Iggy. Lust For Life is such a fab album…aurally and visually. I love that album cover!
He played John Grant’s Marz. Was interesting to hear his take on the song. I totally get what he means too. Cos the words are kinda kitschy. You do wonder if he is having a lend of you, John Grant. But I do feel the song is probably not meant to be taken too satirically. Just my interpretation. There are very obvious parodies later on on Queen Of Denmark. The whole album is awesome. The diversity of it! I told him as much (Jim) and thanked him for giving me the kick up the butt to start listening to John Grant. He really is fab! And John Grant 🙂
Sometimes by James was played. It is a great song. And rightly so he should be jealous of that line, “Sometimes, when I look deep in your eyes, I swear I can see your soul.” But it’s not as if you haven’t written some stellar words yourself, sir!
And he finished with XTC’s Making Plans For Nigel. That gave me kinda mixed feelings. Don’t get me wrong – I love the song! But…it just reminded me of some recent silly behaviour from me. I was obviously going through a bit of a crisis at that point. I don’t want to elaborate further…but yes. Yes, great song but was making me feel regretful.
And, with that, week one was done and dusted. But the good news is, we have next week! Yes!