Don't You Forget About Simple Minds: 6 Awesome* Facts
*In all honesty, a lot of these facts are slightly inane but you never know what will come up in the music round of a pub quiz these days. Glasgow Living are happy to accept any donations of winnings achieved as a result of the fab facts compiled in this article.
1. The Name
The name Simple Minds comes from the lyrics of Bowie’s classic Jean Genie, which is supposedly about Iggy Pop, and 2017 will mark forty years (FORTY YEARS?!) since the band first got started.
“He’s so simple-minded he can’t drive his module/ He bites on the neon and sleeps in a capsule.”
Simple Minds also lends itself to some great anagrams. A list – by no means exhaustive – can be enjoyed below. Making anagrams of everything imaginable is our new favourite past time, there are websites that do it for you so knock yourselves out kids.
Milds Me Snip
Mild Men Piss
Denim Lips Ms (this one is definitely also about Jean Genie. SO MANY LEVELS OF MYSTERY)
2. The Very Beginning
On Easter Monday, 1977, Johnny and the Self-Abusers played their first gig in the Doune Pub, Glasgow (now an Indian restaurant. Wouldn’t it be great if you could go to gigs in Indian restaurants? Great food, great music, everyone wins). Incidentally, the band was born the same day as Daniel Stein. On that fateful day, the stars had clearly dictated that a name change would be the only way to continue the journey on the path to musical greatness. One would later become Simple Minds, the other DJ Fresh. Take from that what you will.
3. Nelson Mandela
Okay, so these facts are actually useful and interesting. I have always meant to look up the history of Glasgow’s own Nelson Mandela Place in the city centre, and I didn’t expect to be led there accidentally by Simple Minds. The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted lead singer Jim Kerr second from the right in this image, and some of you may even know about the band’s involvement in a 70th birthday concert held for Mandela in London, in order to demand his release, at which their song Mandela Day was performed. This photograph was taken in 1986. Nelson Mandela Place would replace St George’s Place, the location and address of the South African embassy. Nicely done, guys. In 1993, aged 75, Nelson Mandela was finally able to visit Glasgow and thanked the city, saying
“Whilst we were physically denied our freedom in the country of our birth, a city, 6000 miles away, and as renowned as Glasgow, refused to accept the legitimacy of the apartheid system and declared us to be free, you, the people of Glasgow, pledged that you would not relax until I was free to receive this honour in person. I am deeply grateful to you and the anti-apartheid movement in Scotland for all your efforts to this end”.
4. The Jim Kerr Hotel
This is the incredible town of Taormina in Sicily, and the home of the Villa Angela boutique hotel, owned by the one and only Jim Kerr. Yeah, Citizen M is no bad but have you seen those bedrooms!? BRB, off to Ryanair. I’ll worry about the hotel fee when I get there (please, Jim, do us a favour!).
5. The No.1 In America
In 1984 a song was written by Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff. The hoped-for vocalist was Bryan Ferry, a meeting was set up to discuss the plans, but Ferry’s father tragically passed away the day before the meeting and the possibility of getting the song ready in time for the production of The Breakfast Club was no longer there. Various artists were offered and considered the track, including Chrissy Hynde of the Pretenders. The only issue was the fact that a music video would also be required, and Hynde chose not to take on the responsibility as she was pregnant at the time. She suggested instead her then-husband, Jim Kerr’s band, and Simple Mind’s American number 1 was born. The band chose not to include it on their next album, Once Upon A Time and supposedly Kerr ‘wanted to vomit’ every time he played it. These rock stars say that the weirdest things gie them the boke, eh?
6. The Things To Come
The band’s tour schedule for 2016 includes a few dates so far, but there is always a promise of more. As part of the research conducted for this article we have managed to find a new version of Don’t You Forget About Me that we are sure isn’t going to give Kerr the boke, so we are certain that if they shake their songlist up a bit to include this, it will extend the touring time even longer. You are all so so welcome for this. Enjoy. And get yourself down there the next time the lads play a home show!