Once Upon A Time …. I Liked It

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?

Stranger things have happened…

Minds Music Monday – I Wish You Were Here

It’s the Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend in the UK. This involves participants observing their garden – or a local patch of nature – for an hour and recording all the different species (and highest number of each in one gathering) of birds in one hour.

I will probably take part but I know already that my tally will comprise mainly of black backed gulls, feral doves and magpies. But there may just be the odd blue tit, house sparrow or robin – if I am lucky!

It had me thinking about references to birds in Simple Minds songs. Obviously the first one I thought of immediately was Wonderful In Young Life with Jim referencing “crowded swallow skies”.

I felt it too obvious to choose Wonderful In Young Life (again!) for MMM – we all know how much I love it!

The next song that came to mind was their recent cover of Richard Hawley’s Long Black Train. A bird reference right from the opening line – and several more within.

I have now been grappling over which to choose from the others. I needed some help to jog the memory. Song titles were enough to jog the memory while others came to the fore as I made my way to the Dream Giver “songs” section.

Woman is one I could have plumbed for “picture of some strange tattooed bird on her thigh”. Geez, that song is sexy AF! And I loooove Charlie’s guitar on that. But, no. As much as I love Woman…another time.

I pondered If I Had Wings….but it never has been a song that I have ever really been too drawn to. It’s quite mystical with pretty ambiguous lyrics…which I usually love. I don’t know. Reading the lyrics compared to the musical structure of the song, and reading Jim’s words about how the song came to be – it just doesn’t seem to work. The music and lyrics seem disjointed and mismatched. Just my feeling on it. And, well there is no actual mention of birds anyway.

I was left with two big contenders – Wall Of Love or, the song I have finally decided to go with. And there’s a special place for me for Wall Of Love, thanks to Valentine’s Day and SM being in NZ in 2017, and Jim choosing to use some fan art I had done for the song to thank the crowd at the gig in Auckland that night.

But in the end I have gone for this. It started to play in my head shortly after Wonderful In Young Life, because I pretty quickly heard the line (after having just heard “a crowded swallow skies” play in my mind) “birds of a feather always stay together, and never separate no fear”. So it had to be…

I Wish You Were Here…

Visual Treats

Well, for me anyways. Quite a number of photos I hadn’t seen before in the pages of this little booklet.

I’m sharing most of the previously unseen (by me) photos within. A few of them have been around before but I just liked scanning them and having a perhaps better copy than I previously did.

I’ve tried to clean some of them up. The print quality of the booklet wasn’t the best so I’ll try to share good, clean scans of the photos.

For now though…

Classic Pop Magazine – Once Upon A Time Box Set Feature Article

Classic Pop magazine feature of Simple Minds’ Once Upon A Time album, newly re-issued as a super deluxe box set package.

Simple Minds – Band Line Up – Once Upon A Time Era

Close up scan of the band members from the Simple Minds biography booklet. In order – Jim Kerr, Mel Gaynor, John Giblin, Charlie Burchill and Mick MacNeil. 

Simple Minds News – Issue 22, 1988: Part Two

For interested Minds fans. Kept the “contact” pages in, but obscured anything too revealing about peoples’ addresses. Thought it might be fun for people to see themselves mentioned. I recognise a few names in the SM fandom today 🙂