Formed in 1977 in Glasgow, Simple Minds is a Scottish rock band that is currently composed of Jim Kerr on vocals, Charlie Burchill on guitar and keyboards, Catherine AD on vocals, guitar and keyboards, Sarah Brown on vocals, Ged Grimes on bass, Cherisse Osei on drums, and Gordie Goudie on guitars. They have other past members like Mel Gaynor, Mick McNeil, Derek Forbes, and Brian McGee. Simple Minds popularized the international hit song “Don’t You Forget About Me” from the famous film, The Breakfast Club
Simple Minds have released a total of 19 studio albums since 1979 and these albums are:
- Life in a Day (1979)
- Real to Real Cacophony (1979)
- Empires and Dance (1980)
- Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call (1981)
- New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84) (1982)
- Sparkle in the Rain (1984)
- Once Upon a Time (1985)
- Street Fighting Years (1989)
- Real Life (1991)
- Good News from the Next World (1995)
- Néapolis (1998)
- Our Secrets Are the Same (1999/2004)
- Neon Lights (2001)
- Cry (2002)
- Black & White 050505 (2005)
- Graffiti Soul (2009)
- Big Music (2014)
- Acoustic (2016)
- Walk Between Worlds (2018)
They have managed to produce hit singles like:
- Don’t You (Forget About Me)
- Alive and Kicking
- Belfast Child
- Love Son
- Someone Somewhere
- All The Things She Said
- Promised You A Miracle
- Glittering Prize
- Sanctify Yourself
- Mandela Day
- Speed You Love To Me
- Chelsea Girl
- Sense of Discovery
- Sweat in Bullet
- Real to Real
- Kick It In
- Big Sleep
- She’s A River
- This is Your Land
History and Career
Simple Minds used to be a post-punk art rock band known as Johnny and the Self-Abusers. When the group was influenced by Roxy music, they started to change their musical style and genre They transformed their music into an epic-sounding pop album somewhat like U2’s music. In 1979, they completed their line up that featured Tony Donald on bass and Mick McNeil on keyboards. Eventually, Tony Donald was replaced by Derek Forbes.
Simple Minds liked to experiment with their sound that’s why their earlier albums sounded different than the later ones. Just like their album “Life in a Day” which featured dense and artsy pop songs, while their album “Reel to Real Cacophony” is a darker, experimental art rock. Their follow up album, “Empires and Dance” was a Euro-Disco album. Simple Minds decided that they should switch to having a more accessible, relatable pop styles.
Their album “Sons and Fascination” and “Sister Feeling Call” was released together. Their album “New Gold Dream (18-82-83-84)” became Simple Minds’ first album to ever chart the Albums chart in the United States. Despite of this success, Brian Mcgee decided quit the band because he was too shy to go on stage during live performances and he was eventually replaced by Mel Gaynor. The group released their album “Sparkle in the Rain” at the same time as Jim Kerr’s marriage to the Pretenders lead singer, Chrissie Hynde.
In 1985, Simple Minds was hesitant to accept the offer to sing the song “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” because Jim Kerr was not satisfied with the lyrics of the song. But he eventually had a change of heart and accepted the offer. The single turned out to be Simple Mind’s only song that topped the American charts and became an international hit, because it was featured as the closing track for the 1985 hit film The Breakfast Club.
Even if this song made them popular, Jim Kerr’s feeling towards the hit single remained uncertain that’s why it was not included in their follow-up album, Once Upon a Time. The said album became a certified gold record and reached the United States Top Ten charts despite the criticisms that it was too pretentious and over the top.
When Simple Minds released their 1991 album, “Real Life”, which showed that they returned to making personal themed, straightforward, and anthemic rock musical style. However, the changes in the band embers and the audience loss have led the group in doubt of their future.
Simple Minds went on a hiatus for two years and returned in 1994 with the band officially being a duo of Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill. They released the album “Good News from the “Next World” in 1995 which reached the number 2 spot in the UK Charts and was able to produce two top twenty hit singles “She’s a River” and “Hypnotised”.
Simple Minds embarked on a tour with Mark Taylor, Mark Schulman, and Malcolm Foster as their touring members to promote the album. In 1998, the duo released their album “Neapolis”. Derek Forbes returned for the recording of this album, however, it did not do well in the market.
In early 2001, Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill signed a record deal with Eagle Records and released their cover album with the title “Neon Lights”. The album featured Simple Mind’s renditions of popular songs by different artists such as Neil Young, David Bowie, and Patti Smith.
Even though it may look like Simple Minds is always on the brink of breaking up, they remained together in spite of the changes in the band’s lineup, musical styles, and recording companies. They still continued to release albums like “Cry”,(2002), “Black & White 050505” (2005), “Graffiti Soul” (2009), “Big Music” (2014), “Acoustic” (2016) and “Walk Between Worlds” (2018). And according to front man Jim Kerr, Simple Minds is set to release another album in 2021.