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LOOKING AFTER No1

"Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it." Chinese proverb.

It started off dull, dank, and wet, then only an hour or so later it became one of those beautiful days. The kind that Van Morrison sings about so well.

That is how it felt for a couple of days last week in this part of the world - that suddenly looked like part of some other world entirely. A dream world? A fantasy? Middle Earth even?
Come on? Look at that pic of the little house, situated just over the loch from where I am, and tell me that Hobbits would not want to move in?

Getting back to Van Morrison. Not long after Belfast Child had hit no1 in the UK singles chart, (Was it really 30 years ago this very week?) Charlie Burchill was introduced to VM. Both were staying on the same floor of a London hotel, and Van's then manager, a longtime friend of ours, made the introduction.

Fact is, although Belfast Child has met with great success, it also came with a ton of brickbats. People seemingly either loved or hated it, with little in between. Some even hated the very idea of it. Proclaiming that it was not the done thing for Simple Minds to be getting sentimental over what are now viewed as historical events in Northern Ireland.
Others, taking the purist view, felt that the folk melody that we had based our song on, (She Moved Through The Fair) should have been left well alone. That it was a sacred cow, a relic not be messed with.

What did I think of that? As always I thought they were entitled to their views. But I also quietly thought that they should really just f*ck off, and allow us to express ourselves, through our songs, in whatever way we saw fit. After all I didn't go around telling people how to think, feel, or express themselves. That explains my reference to the aforementioned Chinese proverb.

As for Van The Man, once a true Belfast Child, and who's song Gloria we have carried with us in one way or another throughout career. What did he think of our song - sitting triumphantly at top of the charts in various countries?
He shook Charlie's hand and congratulated him. They then made their way to the small, basement bar, and shared a couple of drinks.

Well, OK. Maybe more than a couple?
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LOOKING AFTER No1

Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it. Chinese proverb.

It started off dull, dank, and wet, then only an hour or so later it became one of those beautiful days. The kind that Van Morrison sings about so well.  

That is how it felt for a couple of days last week in this part of the world - that suddenly looked like part of some other world entirely. A dream world? A fantasy? Middle Earth even?
Come on?  Look at that pic of the little house, situated just over the loch from where I am, and tell me that Hobbits would not want to move in?

Getting back to Van Morrison. Not long after Belfast Child had hit no1 in the UK singles chart, (Was it really 30 years ago this very week?) Charlie Burchill was introduced to VM. Both were staying on the same floor of a London hotel, and Vans then manager, a longtime friend of ours, made the introduction.

Fact is, although Belfast Child has met with great success, it also came with a ton of brickbats. People seemingly either loved or hated it, with little in between. Some even hated the very idea of it. Proclaiming that it was not the done thing for Simple Minds to be getting sentimental over what are now viewed as historical events in Northern Ireland. 
Others, taking the purist view, felt that the folk melody that we had based our song on, (She Moved Through The Fair) should have been left well alone. That it was a sacred cow, a relic not be messed with.

What did I think of that? As always I thought they were entitled to their views. But I also quietly thought that they should really just f*ck off, and allow us to express ourselves, through our songs, in whatever way we saw fit. After all I didnt go around telling people how to think, feel, or express themselves. That explains my reference to the aforementioned Chinese proverb.

As for Van The Man, once a true Belfast Child, and whos song Gloria we have carried with us in one way or another throughout career. What did he think of our song - sitting triumphantly at top of the charts in various countries?
He shook Charlies hand and congratulated him. They then made their way to the small, basement bar, and shared a couple of drinks. 

Well, OK.  Maybe more than a couple?

 

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Love it! F*ck the critics and the nay-sayers! Here's my favourite Van song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXtHt8BstCs

"Simple Minds, they are a bloody racket of a band" said my late father approx the same time as live in the city of lights.. Then he heard it.. Struck by the beautiful intro.. The strings and backed up by the heartbeat of the song, big drum thumping at the chest, turned around seeing my father with tears down his cheeks, he said instantly "that will go to number 1" who's singing it... "that bloody racket Simple Minds".. apart from Belfast Child Jim, she still hated that bloody racket.. In your words, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.. Tears in my eyes typing this thinking about him, he passed away 10 years ago.

I was driving in my home town on my way to the bank. I was listening to the radio when this song came on. I had to stop the car to listen to this amazing music flooding the interior and then I heard the voice of. Jim. Honestly I have never experienced such an emotional feeling through music as on that day 30 years ago. A young mum sitting in the car with tears running down her face. 30 years on .....it has the same effect. So beautiful. Absolutely love SM music. More please. X

People look for reasons to dislike things and for reasons that have nothing to do with the subject of their dislike. This is particularly true of art, where one can say what one pleases because art is in many senses a subjective experience. In other words, in matters of taste there is no debate. But is it only that? I don't think so. There are standards after all aren't there? There is beauty after all isn't there? And isn't it beyond and apart from what I or anyone else says it is? From a Yank who has no dog in the Irish music fight, I say Belfast Child is a magnificent and powerful song. Thank you for it and all your magnificent music.

Belfast Child is such a haunting yet beautiful song. I am so glad that you stuck by your instincts & ignored the critics. Can it really be 30 years? Wow I'm getting old!

What a beautiful little cottage you really have some beautiful countryside . When finding these old places you cant help but think wish the walls could talk. By the way i love Belfast Child.

“If you don’t challenge yourself,you’ll never change yourself....”

😂😂yep just tell em to feck off,you'll allways get critics,when my dad found out myself and the brother raided out post office accounts for tickets to see you guys in croke park his response was WHAT ARE SIMPLE MINDS...IM SURROUNDED BY SIMPLE MINDS😂😂money well spent in my opinion

I just hope that you don’t go disappearing like it has off the setlist. Never been privileged enough to see it played live...due for a reappearance?

After getting into the band with Live In The City Of Light, Street Fighting Years is when I became obsessive. I recall hearing Radio 1 Top 40 the Sunday night upon Ballad of the Streets first week of release with my sister. 1989 was ground zero, everything made sense. The Cult’s Sonic Temple, Del Amitri’s Waking Hours and Street Fighting Years. I was 15.

Wow, has it really been 30years since Belfast Child? Still a beautiful song. The Chinese Proverb rings true by the way.

In an ideal world we would not care what others think of us and what we do. Sadly that is not the case as I see with my 10year old in the school playground. We should be more like hobbits, content with a fine fire, hot cakes in our bellies and a good tune to make us smile. Do your bit and keep the fine tunes coming 😊

Great story. Nice picture. Glad you and Charlie didn't pay too much attention to the critics and continued doing what you do.

Belfast Child- what a song!! I remember well the first time I heard this on the Radio. Bloody hell!! that’s so good I remember thinking. The day BC was released I purchased the CD and did not stop playing it. When I listened to the charts and heard it had made No1,was just made up!! I remember in an interview you said your Father asked you is this your best work yet and you replied yes I think it is!!

Hi Jim! On this date last year Simple Minds played an outstanding concert at Vega, Copenhagen 🙏 please come back soon - we miss you 😊

Beautiful Jim.........one day we'll return here :)

I think you should do more Irish / Scottish songs and the Dire Straits arrangement needs more air play a gem and well done yous don't need to prove anything to anyone World Class band

That songs reminds me of my grandfather who was born in Belfast which is my link to that place and my Celtic roots.

Remember hearing on the radio probably billy Sloan broadcast of the first playing before was released and I said straight away it was destined to go to number 1. A brilliant song 👍

You did give it some welly on the second half of the song, so it wasn't all folky. Certainly a brave song to return with, but you can't argue with top spot for a couple of weeks. btw I was also looking forward to hearing the recorded version of Mandela Day for the 1st time as well on the Ballads EP after it's live debut the year before. I thought that was something special as well.

I always thought that Belfast Child was a beautiful song. 🧡💚 Write and sing the songs you want, and the fans will show up. And I think Hobbits would be quite happy in that little cottage.😘

Art inspires passion. Love or hate - you made them think and feel about something that mattered. Congrats. That's what counts. Fwiw, I have strong emotions about the song. It means something to me.

Always be true to yourself! Belfast Child has stood the test of time....beautiful, true words that still are as significant today as they were back then....and it sounded so beautiful live back then on the Street Fighting Years tour...I can never forget! Oh and I really want that cottage, just beautiful, cosy and I bet with great views. My perfect place. Great post Jim as always ⭐️❤️⭐️

🎼Jim, it is so wonderful to be reading your great words, I have missed you, posting 💌 I'm thrilled today to be reading this and happy. The last four weeks have been extremely weird and you wouldn't beleave the things that have happened that I have encountered two deaths one I mentioned in 2nd week of January here, a horrible suicide and my uncle just passed the night before last and all the stuff in between 1/16/19 till now, But I feel a breakthrough right now today and listening to Belfast child is amazing, and soothing expecially in times like my last 4 weeks and listening to walk between worlds is deeply wonderful hearing you sing is everything. The picture is nice it looks good to me to be in that little house right now 😊 a couple times I just wanted to go to the jungle and live lol However inside I'm great I will Never have a bad day maybe a moment maybe, but sense I can see, not even a bad moment at least I try not to. We all know that no matter how wonderful a song is there are always those kind of naysayers 😊😐 it could be the best song ever written and someone will say a negative. I'm blessed today I feel happy and I'm very thankful very happy, delighted that you posted today 😘😎💕🎼ox

Belfast Child-maybe my favorite Simple Minds tune! I saw you play in Nashville last year and it was awesome! Wish Belfast Child was in your regular set list! Love the Chinese proverb too!

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EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY

It was around middle of February, 1978. The venue was The Third Eye Centre, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, and we were playing our 4th Simple Minds gig. The very first happened only three weeks previously. Our average age then was 18 years old.
Original Minds bassist, Tony Donald, played that night. As did rhythm guitarist Duncan Barnwell. Another original Mind, Brian McGee, was on drums. Powerful and energetic as always, I believe my hearing has never fully recovered from standing on tiny stages, too close to McGee's drums.
Although still in the embryonic stage, the place was packed. An arts centre cafe/restaurant, The Third Eye probably held about 150 people, but seemingly a buzz about SM had already started in the city.

Wearing lipstick and playing violin, Charlie Burchill looks a picture of concentration that night. Charlie built some of his instruments and was always worried that they would fall apart during gigs. They often did.
Me?
I'm drunk, and look like a young stag caught in the headlights.

I think I began drinking at the soundcheck earlier that Friday afternoon. Anything really, to help me with the stage fright that I experienced for the first few years of performing.
In those days I was always terrified as the hour came close to go on stage. Until I'd reminded my self that it was 'only a gig' I was taking part in, not the Battle Of El Alamein, as my grandfather had done as a member of the Eight Army when he was not that much older.

How did I end up with no shirt? The answer is that I rarely wore shirts then.
I had a theatrical looking, black coat, that buttoned up to the neck - and that was it!
I had seen some of the cast of the local Citizen's Theatre wear something similar in a production of Macbeth, and thought they looked amazing.
I still often wear black coats on stage. The influence of that theatre group lives on.
The question is - what happened to my coat that night?

I do recall the spotlights being incredibly hot. So I took it off? The nausea was coming on, my head was spinning, and unfortunately I was starting to feel like throwing up.
Thankfully I did not.
Not that night.

Is there anything at all of that kid - inside me now?

Yes there is.

Although only starting out, he thought about his art and his band night and day. Then again, there was nothing else in his life at that moment in time?
He was under real pressure though, from many who told him it was insane to be playing around with music, when at that age he should be serious about "getting a real job" and going to either Canada or Australia to make a good life.

Well, years later, I do have a few thing going on in my life. But I go to both Canada and Australia for work often enough.
And over these last weeks in particular I have thought about little else other than my art and my band.
Working on it solidly. Night and day.

And I do still walk around without a shirt.
Whenever I'm home alone.
... See MoreSee Less

EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY

It was around middle of February, 1978. The venue was The Third Eye Centre, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, and we were playing our 4th Simple Minds gig. The very first happened only three weeks previously. Our average age then was 18 years old.
Original Minds bassist, Tony Donald, played that night. As did rhythm guitarist Duncan Barnwell. Another original Mind, Brian McGee, was on drums. Powerful and energetic as always, I believe my hearing has never fully recovered from standing on tiny stages, too close to McGees drums. 
Although still in the embryonic stage, the place was packed. An arts centre cafe/restaurant, The Third Eye probably held about 150 people, but seemingly a buzz about SM had already started in the city. 

Wearing lipstick and playing violin, Charlie Burchill looks a picture of concentration that night. Charlie built some of his instruments and was always worried that they would fall apart during gigs. They often did.
Me? 
Im drunk, and look like a young stag caught in the headlights.

I think I began drinking at the soundcheck earlier that Friday afternoon. Anything really, to help me with the stage fright that I experienced for the first few years of performing.
In those days I was always terrified as the hour came close to go on stage. Until Id reminded my self that it was only a gig I was taking part in, not the Battle Of El Alamein, as my grandfather had done as a member of the Eight Army when he was not that much older.

How did I end up with no shirt? The answer is that I rarely wore shirts then.
I had a theatrical looking, black coat, that buttoned up to the neck - and that was it! 
I had seen some of the cast of the local Citizens Theatre wear something similar in a production of Macbeth, and thought they looked amazing.
I still often wear black coats on stage. The influence of that theatre group lives on.
The question is - what happened to my coat that night?

I do recall the spotlights being incredibly hot. So I took it off? The nausea was coming on, my head was spinning, and unfortunately I was starting to feel like throwing up.
Thankfully I did not.
Not that night.

Is there anything at all of that kid - inside me now?

Yes there is.

Although only starting out, he thought about his art and his band night and day. Then again, there was nothing else in his life at that moment in time?
He was under real pressure though, from many who told him it was insane to be playing around with music, when at that age he should be serious about getting a real job and going to either Canada or Australia to make a good life.

Well, years later, I do have a few thing going on in my life. But I go to both Canada and Australia for work often enough.
And over these last weeks in particular I have thought about little else other than my art and my band.
Working on it solidly. Night and day.

And I do  still walk around without a shirt.
Whenever Im home alone.

 

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Wise words for anyone starting out or still hard at it after all these years x

Feel free to not wear a shirt on the next tour 😊

Wow. You drunk and shirtless, and Charlie wearing lipstick playing violin... Damn, wish I had a time machine! 😂

You must've had a big influence on that other great front man 'Freddie Mercury'

Proof or it didn’t happen Jim! We need a pic of you topless in your house, I’m sure all the ladies will agree!!! 😍😜

I was 7 in 1978 ;) here I am just turned 48 and still playing Simple Minds and Big Country, it takes me back :)

First thought is I want to feed you xx second , what colour lipstick was Charlie wearing 🙂

Now...we just need all the rest that comes with these posts...and full equilibrium will be restored ❤️

I’m loving the whole post...but the no shirt bit at the end just reminded me of this (I bloody love this show) https://youtu.be/n6JWaMmxg9M

Oh, dang! I only just realised what I could have said was “thanks for the mammaries, Jim”! 😁😁😁😁😁

If i could travel backwards in time.. how i wish i got to see SM playing in the beginning.. Or a gig with JATS.. i think i have to play Saints and sinners on vinyl today..

Very rock and roll. Im wondering what colour lipstick Charlie would be wearing. It wasnt quite the glam era. He must have been ahead of his time.

you are wecomed to Canada with or without a shirt anytime ;) Montreal 💕 simple Minds !

Lovely nostalgic story. I once sold Charlie Burchill a Yamaha grand piano when I worked at Thomson’s music back in the 80’s. He called when it got delivered to ask for an easy-play book for his dad. 😂. I also got invited by piano tuner Davy Boyle to go back stage at the Ibrox gig but I wouldn’t take the night off from my own gig. I regret that decision 😂

Jim..lucky you men that you can ride around your house almost naked 😀 I wish I could have seen Charlie with the gloss or lipstick... was Debbie Harry already around for such an inspiration? 😁 Thanks for sharing this memory and this rare (I assume ..) pic maybe precious part of your life Jim.. Buona Domenica, Adri.

Ducklings... swans! Glad you're still thinking and working on the band and the music, Jim, coatless, shirtless or otherwise! 😁

Another wonderful personal vignette of the first hours of SM... thanks!

It’s such great pic, reminiscent of many young bands wanting break through. It fills me full on youthful energy and excitement

Fantastic, how’s the autobiography coming along?

Great post to read, JK and glad to hear your working away there with music and band too..look forward to new future Simple Minds sounds, when there good and ready! ☺

You drunk Jim? Well before you became a teetotaller I guess. Ahhh youth at it's best. I'll bet it's images and memories like this that inspired the brilliant song "Magic"

Well I certainly couldn't have done what you guys did at the age of 18, no matter how much alcohol I'd had 😁 Learning your stagecraft takes as much effort (if not more) as learning your music, and I'm sure the crowd were cheering the youngsters on 👏

I love reading the narratives that come along with these incredible photos. They often make me regret not being there in the small clubs in the beginning or huge venues across Europe that Simple Minds Official play these days. As for coming to Canada "often enough", I respectfully disagree... it was way too long between your most recent Vancouver gig and the one prior (and I was at both)! Let's hope the next North American tour is a lot sooner ;) (Mind you, I could/should make my way over to Europe to catch you and a couple other of my favorite bands.)

I am just now sitting in the livingroom listening to Life in a Day album 😊🕺🏻And reading JK about the 4th concert and realy conecting to What it was like in the early years- is like «dancing in the moment» somewhere in Glasgow in 78. So great to read your descriptions on how it was, love it🕺🏻🙏🏾

Thanks Jim for sharing these stories. Love the tales of the earliest days of Simple Minds. What a wonderful life you've had & continue to live.

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