Simple Minds

Johnny & The Self-Abusers get Simple Minds

Simple Minds

1. The Scottish rock band formed in Glasgow in 1977 and became the most commercially successful Scottish band of the 1980s.

2. The roots of Simple Minds are in the short-lived punk band Johnny & The Self-Abusers, founded on the South Side of Glasgow in early 1977. In common with the early punk bands, various members took on stage names, with Jim Kerr becoming “Pripton Weird” and Charlie Burchill “Charlie Argue”.

3. Kerr and Burchill had known each other since the age of eight. After joining Johnny & The Self-Abusers, they brought in two of their school friends, Brian McGee on drums and Tony Donald on bass – all four had previously played together in the schoolboy band Biba-Rom!

4. Ditching the stage names and the overt punkiness, the remaining members continued together as Simple Minds (naming themselves after a David Bowie lyric from his song “Jean Genie”).

5. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” was featured on the soundtrack of the film The Breakfast Club which broke Simple Minds into the US market. They achieved their only number one US pop hit with the track in April 1985. The song written by Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff had been offered to Billy Idol and Bryan Ferry before Simple Minds agreed to record it.

6. New Gold Dream (81–82–83–84) was released in September 1982. The album was a commercial breakthrough and generated charting singles including “Glittering Prize” (which reached the UK Top 20 and Australian Top 10).

7. Original drummer Mel Gaynor had been a member of Samson alongside Bruce Dickinson (later of Iron Maiden). As a session drummer Gaynor has worked with the likes of Elton John, Meat Loaf, Peter Gabriel, The Pretenders, Gary Moore, Jackson Browne, Little Steven and Brian May.

8. The 1983 hit single “Waterfront” features a bass line consisting of a single note (D) throughout the track.

9. Their 1984 album Sparkle in the Rain peaked at number one in the UK Albums Chart and reached the top 20 in numerous other countries around the world. It gave rise to successful singles like “Waterfront” (which hit number one in a few European countries) and “Speed Your Love to Me” and “Up on the Catwalk”.

10. Between 1982 and 1995 Simple Minds scored three number one albums, and another three albums reached the Top 3 in the UK charts as well as 21 Top 40 singles.

11. Jim’s brother Mark Kerr is the lead vocalist with the hard rock band Gun.

12. Street Fighting Years released in 1989 became their third UK number one album on the back of the chart-topping single “Belfast Child”, which had been released three months earlier.

13. Former member Kenny Hyslop was in Slik with Midge Ure and had the UK number one hit “Forever and Ever” in 1976. He also went on to play with The Skids who had the 1979 single “Into the Valley.”

14. In 1984, Jim Kerr married Chrissie Hynde from the Pretenders who renamed herself Christine Kerr, the marriage lasted until 1990. He subsequently was married to actress Patsy Kensit in 1992 (divorced in 1996). Kensit later married Oasis singer Liam Gallagher.

15. Simple Minds were the first band to sign up for Mandela Day, a 2010 concert held at Wembley Stadium, London, as an expression of solidarity with the then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela. Bands involved were asked to produce a song especially for the event – Simple Minds were the only act which produced one. This was “Mandela Day”, which the band played live on the day.

16. Current guitarist Ged Grimes was a founding member of Scottish pop band Danny Wilson whose hits include “Mary’s Prayer.”

17. “Belfast Child”, was a rewrite of the Celtic folk song “She Moved Through the Fair” and reached number one on the UK Singles Chart in 1989. With a run time of 6:39. at the time, it was the second-longest UK number one after The Beatles “Hey Jude.”

18. Both Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill are Celtic fans and are active supporters of the Scottish football club.

19. Simple Minds won the 1991 Best Live Act at the Q Awards and in 2014 won the Q Inspiration Award. In 2016 the group also won the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection.

20. Jim Kerr released his first solo album, Lostboy! AKA Jim Kerr, on 27 May 2010.

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