A Young Person’s Guide To: Simple Minds Compilations [part 2]

Simple Minds: The Wilderness Years [ca. 1989]

Simple Minds: Bloated in black leather pants ca. 1989

Yesterday we stopped at the 1992 “Glittering Prize” compilation, that rounded up most of the singles made for Virgin Records from ’81/’92 and it makes a nice pair with the preceding “Celebration” compilation to get an idea of the band’s history in discrete chunks; being that of the Arista/Virgin years. But it bears mentioning that there is a US variation on “Glittering Prize” that leaves a lot to be desired. A+M, their US label shaved off four tracks from the running order with US fans missing out on: “Love Song,” “The American,” “Ghostdancing,” and “Speed Your Love To Me.” Namely, four of the better songs on the UK edition. Missing the two from Sons/Sister particularly hurts!

Virgin Records | UK | 2xCD | 2001 | CDVD 2953

Virgin Records | UK | 2xCD | 2001 | CDVD 2953

Simple Minds: The Best Of Simple Minds UK 2xCD [2001]

  1. Don’t You (Forget About Me)
  2. Promised You A Miracle
  3. Waterfront
  4. Alive And Kicking
  5. Glittering Prize
  6. All The Things She Said
  7. Sanctify Yourself
  8. Someone, Somewhere (In Summertime)
  9. Ghostdancing
  10. Up On The Catwalk
  11. Speed Your Love To Me
  12. Theme For Great Cities
  13. Love Song
  14. The American
  15. Sweat In Bullet
  16. Life In A Day
  17. I Travel
  18. Let There Be Love
  19. This Is Your Land
  20. Kick It In
  21. Let It All Come Down
  22. See The Lights
  23. Stand By Love
  24. Real Life
  25. She’s A River
  26. Hypnotised
  27. Glitterball
  28. War Babies
  29. Mandela Day
  30. Biko
  31. Belfast Child
  32. Raven Maize – The Real Life

Nearly a decade later, suits at Virgin realized that it was time to milk the SM back catalogue. This hideously designed and imaginatively named release was the result.  On the plus side, crucial tracks from albums one and three appear here and Virgin even bothered to license the two [good] singles that the band released during their [brief] time on Chrysalis Records in the late 90s. On the negative there’s that simply amateurish cover design and [pass the bromo-seltzer®] every misbegotten single from their worst album [“Street Fighting Years”].

Rubbing salt into the wounds is a DJ/mashup included by Raven Maize, that blended Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” with the sublime “Theme From Great Cities” into a presumably indigestible lump. I can’t say exactly how good or bad it is because I refused to bite. I even refuse to try to hear a preview at some online music store! I am against the very concept of mixing Queen and Simple Minds; two bands that have nothing in common save for an unfortunate period where they both performed in stadiums. Needless to say, this exasperating record is clearly missing from my large Simple Minds collection.

Virgin | EU | CD | 2003 | SIMCD 14

Virgin | EU | CD | 2003 | SIMCD 14

Simple Minds: Early Gold EU CD [2003]

  1. Life In A Day
  2. Chelsea Girl
  3. Changeling
  4. Factory
  5. Premonition
  6. I Travel
  7. Celebrate
  8. Thirty Frames A Second
  9. The American
  10. Love Song
  11. Sweat In Bullet
  12. Promised You A Miracle
  13. Glittering Prize
  14. Someone Somewhere In Summertime
  15. New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)

As if to atone for the compiling of “The Best Of Simple Minds,” someone in Virgin’s European branch green-lit this stellar collection just two years later. “Early Gold” is a well-named comp that hits highlights from the group’s critical first six [seven if you count “Sister Feelings Call” as a separate release] albums in an unimpeachable chronological package. This comp basically mirrors the US “Themes For Great Cities” and updates it through the “New Gold Dream” era. Not a bad cover this time, either. If you want to know why I continue to like Simple Minds after 32 years, including a nearly ten year stretch of indigestible 80s stadium rock, this disc spells it out in boldface.

Virgin | UK | 2xCD | 2013

Virgin | UK | 2xCD | 2013

Simple Minds: Celebrate UK 2xCD [2013]

Disc 1
1. Life In A Day
2. Chelsea Girl
3. Changeling
4. I Travel
5. Celebrate
6. The American
7. Love Song
8. Promised You A Miracle
9. Glittering Prize
10. Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
11. Waterfront
12. Speed Your Love To Me
13. Up On The Catwalk
14. Don’t You (Forget About Me)
15. Alive And Kicking
16. Sanctify Yourself
17. All The Things She Said
18. Ghost Dancing

Disc 2
1. Belfast Child
2. This Is Your Land
3. Kick It In
4. Let There Be Love
5. See The Lights
6. Stand By Love
7. She’s A River
8. Hypnotised
9. Glitterball
10. War Babies
11. Space
12. Cry
13. Spaceface
14. Home
15. Rockets
16. Stars Will Lead The Way
17. Blood Diamonds 
18. Broken Glass Park

After their last year spent reliving their first five albums on their 5×5 tour [complete with accompanying boxed set] the band is still in a backward looking mood with this, their latest compilation. Confusingly, it returns to the same title as their first UK compilation. This one is chronologically organized and has an improved tracklisting touching a bit more on the first three albums, as well as having six tracks from the band’s post 1998 history. Additionally, there are two songs recently recorded with producer Steve Hillage specifically for this compilation in 2010, back when this package was mooted for a 2011 release. I’m astonished to see that it even takes in a track from the “unreleased” album “Our Secrets Are The Same.”

I’m much happier to see the cuts from the band’s high water mark “Cry” album of 2002. It’s the album where the group added more foreign DNA to the band via the many co-written tracks that saw singer Jim Kerr writing with Italian DJs and with only two songs on the LP having a Kerr/Burchill credit line. The shift saw the band moving away from rock and towards pop for the first time in a long time and I couldn’t have approved more. I was lucky enough to have seen the band tour in the US in 2002 for this album and it actually reflected the band that I became a fan of in 1981 instead of the chartbeast they become in 1985.

Virgin Records | UK | 3xCD | 2013

Virgin Records | UK | 3xCD | 2013

Simple Minds: Celebrate UK 3xCD Box [2013]

Disc 1

  1. Life In A Day
  2. Chelsea Girl
  3. Changeling
  4. I Travel
  5. Celebrate
  6. The American
  7. Love Song
  8. Sweat In Bullet
  9. Theme From Great Cities
  10. Promised You A Miracle
  11. Glittering Prize
  12. Someone Somewhere (In Summertime)
  13. New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
  14. Waterfront
  15. Speed Your Love To Me
  16. Up On The Catwalk

Disc 2

  1. Don’t You Forget About Me
  2. Alive And Kicking
  3. Sanctify Yourself
  4. All The Things She Said
  5. Ghost Dancing
  6. Promised You A Miracle (Live)
  7. Belfast Child
  8. Mandela Day
  9. Biko
  10. This Is Your Land
  11. Kick It In
  12. Let It All Come Down
  13. Let There Be Love
  14. See The Lights
  15. Stand By Love
  16. Real Life

Disc 3 

  1. She’s A River
  2. Hypnotised
  3. Glitterball
  4. War Babies
  5. Space
  6. Jeweller To The Stars
  7. Dancing Barefoot
  8. Cry
  9. Spaceface
  10. One Step Closer
  11. Home
  12. Stranger
  13. Stay Visible
  14. Rockets
  15. Stars Will Lead The Way
  16. Stagefright 
  17. Blood Diamonds 
  18. Broken Glass Park

Not content to miss an opportunity, Virgin also has a 3xCD box version of the “Celebration” compilation. In addition to sporting a different cover, this is as of 2013, as complete a collection of Simple Minds singles as one could have. Salting the pot even more is yet another new song added only to the boxed version, “Stagefright,” though hardcore SM fans already have a download of this as provided to site members by the band in 2010. The box version also comes with a nice poster showing every single sleeve and the comprehensive lineup is most impressive.

Better yet, it gives further glimpses into the band’s recent history of great music. The group’s 2000 album of covers gets represented with its sole single, a great version of Patti Smith Group’s “Dancing Barefoot.” “One Step Closer,” third single from “Cry” is my favorite song on that album and a welcome addition to this program. All five singles from the band’s last two albums are in evidence, showing that they’ve managed to keep learning and growing after their stadium years.

Will I buy this album? Maybe the 3xCD version, but my budget is tight and it represents an extravagance to me. If all I want is “Broken Glass Park” and “Blood Diamonds” [I have the official “Stagefright” download from the band], then the 2xCD would be the wiser choise. But the glory of the boxed 3xCD edition is this salient fact. One could buy it and throw away disc two, and be left with the perfect Simple Minds compilation.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
This entry was posted in A Young Person's Guide, Core Collection, Scots Rock and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A Young Person’s Guide To: Simple Minds Compilations [part 2]

  1. jsd says:

    I admire your thoroughness but surely it would be simpler to just say “Get the X5 box set” and leave it at that :)


    • postpunkmonk says:

      jsd – Oh, I certainly agree! But if you had to dip tour toes in the SM pool, then “Early Gold” paints the best picture. Still, I’m amazed at how the break in disc 2 of “Celebrate” gets exactly the material I’d be happy to miss isolated for possible “quarantine.” And I have to be thorough! It’s why I’m a Monk!!


  2. zoo says:

    Interesting comments about the Cry album. I haven’t listened to it in years, so I might have to revisit it soon.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Zoo – Apart from the nepotistic “Face In The Sun” [which sports Jim Kerr’s worst singing ever and acoustic guitar!] I love, love, love “Cry!” It’s my go-to SM album following “Next World.” The freshness of it never fails to put wind in my sails.


  3. Jeremy says:

    I picked up the 3 disc version on amazon.uk for about $21 with shipping. Like you, I already had the new tracks, but I’m a sucker.


    • postpunkmonk says:

      Jeremy – Welcome to the comments! I hope to buy my copy eventually, but I’m so broke right now… Never apologize for supporting your favorite bands. Particularly in these, the end times.


  4. Echorich says:

    I am waiting to see what shows up on iTunes and will decide what I need at that point. It’s going to be hard to convince myself I need the 3 disc box set.


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