History Of Simple Minds

Simple Minds – A Brief History

Simple Minds are one of the UK’s most successful bands, having achieved six No.1 albums in the UK as well hitting the top spot in countless other territories including Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.


“One of the things I’m most proud of is that people say to me what Simple Minds are you talking about? The avant-garde, the art-rock, the pop, the ambient, the instrumental group, the political, the folk, the stadium band? We’ve been on one hell of a journey. To play all those different styles but at the same time be quintessentially Simple Minds is an amazing thing.” Jim Kerr.

Simple Minds Genesis & Formation - 1977

The roots of Simple Minds are in the short-lived punk band Johnny & The Self-Abusers, founded on the South Side of Glasgow in 1977. VIEW MORE

Life In A Day - 1979

Life in a Day is the debut album by Simple Minds. It was produced by John Leckie and released by Arista in April 1979, spending six weeks in the UK LP charts and reaching number 30. The title track and "Chelsea Girl" were issued as singles. VIEW MORE

Real To Real Cacophony - 1979

Real to Real Cacophony (sometimes incorrectly rendered as Reel to Real Cacophony) is the second studio album by Simple Minds. It was released in November 1979, through record labels Zoom and Arista. VIEW MORE

Empires & Dance - 1980

Empires and Dance is the third studio album by Scottish new wave band Simple Minds. It was recorded in Wales and released on 1st September 1980 through record label Arista. VIEW MORE

Sons & Fascination / Sister Feelings Call - 1981

Sons and Fascination / Sister Feelings Call is the current common title for the fourth album by the Scottish post-punk band Simple Minds. VIEW MORE

New Gold Dream (81, 82, 83, 84) - 1982

New Gold Dream is the fifth studio album by Simple Minds. The album was released in 1982 and was a turning point as they gained critical and commercial success in the UK and Europe. VIEW MORE

Sparkle In The Rain - 1984

Sparkle in the Rain is the sixth studio album by Simple Minds, released on 6 February 1984. It includes the songs 'Up On The Catwalk' 'Waterfront' and 'Speed You love To Me'. VIEW MORE

Don't You (Forget About Me) No 1 on U.S. Billboard Charts - 1985

On this day, the Simple Minds song Don't You (Forget About Me) was at No 1 on the Billboard Charts of the United States Of America. Jim had this to say: VIEW MORE

Simple Minds Play Live Aid - 1985

On 13 July 1985, Simple Minds played Live Aid in Philadelphia, where the band performed "Don't You (Forget About Me)", "Promised You a Miracle" and debuted a brand new track called "Ghost Dancing". VIEW MORE

Once Upon A Time - 1985

Once Upon a Time is the seventh studio album by Simple Minds, released in 1985. Includes Four singles were taken from the album; "Alive and Kicking" (UK No. 7, US #3), "All the Things She Said" (UK No. 9, US #28), "Sanctify Yourself" (UK No. 10, US #14), and "Ghost Dancing" (UK #13). VIEW MORE

Once Upon A Time Reaches No 1 - 1985

The album 'Once Upon A Time' went to number 1 in the UK on this date and the band were at the beginning of a major world tour that would see them play to stadiums in many countries and would last well over a year. VIEW MORE

Live In The City Of Light - 1987

Live In The City Of Light is the first (double LP / CD) live album by Simple Minds. It was released in May 1987 to document their successful worldwide Once Upon a Time tour VIEW MORE

Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute - 1988

The Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute was a concert staged on 11 June 1988 at Wembley Stadium, London with Simple Minds a key component from its inception. The band wrote and debuted the song 'Mandela Day' especially for the event. VIEW MORE

Street Fighting Years - 1989

Street Fighting Years is the eighth album by Simple Minds, released in 1989. Produced by Trevor Horn and Stephen Lipson, it includes the No1 single 'Belfast Child'. VIEW MORE

Real Life - 1991

Real Life is the ninth album by the Scottish band Simple Minds, released in April 1991. The album reached No. 2 in the UK. VIEW MORE

Good News From The Next World - 1995

Good News From the Next World is Simple Minds' 13th album, begun in their own studio in Perthshire in 1993 and finished in LA the following summer. It includes the songs 'Night Music' and 'Hypnotised'. VIEW MORE

Neapolis - 1998

Original bassist Derek Forbes returns along with producer Peter Walsh for the band's 12th studio album. VIEW MORE

Our Secrets Are The Same - 1999

Our Secrets Are The Same was later included as the final disc of the 2004 release Silver Box VIEW MORE

Neon Lights - 2001

Neon Lights, an album of cover versions, songs that inspired the band. Release Date: 8th October 2001 VIEW MORE

Cry - 2002

Simple Minds album 'Cry' Release Date: 1st April 2002 VIEW MORE

Black & White 050505 - 2005

Black & White 050505 is the fourteenth original Simple Minds studio album which was released on the 12th of September 2005. It includes the hit single 'Home'. VIEW MORE

Graffiti Soul - 2009

The Simple Minds album Graffiti Soul is the bands 15th studio album and was released on the 25th of May 2009 and includes the singles 'Rockets', 'Stars Will Lead The Way' and 'This Is It'. VIEW MORE

Forest Tour 2011

The 2011 Simple Minds Forest Tour, England. VIEW MORE

5X5 Live Tour 2012

The Simple Minds 5X5 Live Tour 2012 where the band played five songs from each of their seminal first five albums. VIEW MORE

Simple Minds Live 2012

Simple Minds Live Tour 2012 incorporating elements of the 5X5 show plus greatest hits. VIEW MORE

Greatest Hits Tour 2013 / 2014

Simple Minds tour in support of their hugely successful greatest hits compilation during 2013 and 2014. VIEW MORE

Simple Minds Win Q Inspiration Award! - 2014

This week Simple Minds received the Q Inspiration Award presented by Manic Street Preacher James Dean Bradfield. Jim had this to say: "Thanks to Q for inviting us to the ceremony this afternoon. Thanks even more for the flattering award. James Dean Bradfield gave a beautiful and eloquent description re the impact of our music on him. We in turn dedicated the award to everybody who has listened to our music and to everyone who works on our behalf. They are our inspiration! " JK VIEW MORE

Big Music - 2014

Simple Minds released 'BIG MUSIC' on November 3rd 2014, the bands sixteenth original studio album. This album contains the singles Blindfolded, Honest Town, Let The Day Begin and Midnight walking. VIEW MORE

Big Music Tour 2015

The Big Music UK and European Tour 2015 in support of the acclaimed album 'Big Music' released on Universal in November 2014. VIEW MORE

Simple Minds Win Ivor Novello Award - 2016

Today Jim, Charlie and Mick MacNeil were in London to accept the Award for 'Outstanding Song Collection' at the 61st Ivor Novello Awards held at The Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane. VIEW MORE

Acoustic - 2016

On 11th November 2016 Simple Minds release SIMPLE MINDS ACOUSTIC. A collection of stripped down and re-imagined songs spanning their illustrious career. VIEW MORE

Walk Between Worlds - 2018

Simple Minds released their seventeenth studio album ‘Walk Between Worlds’ on the 2nd of Feb, 2018. The album contained tracks such as 'Magic', 'The Signal And The Noise' and 'Sense Of Discovery'. VIEW MORE

Live In The City Of Angels -2019

LIVE IN THE CITY OF ANGELS captures Simple Minds at the height of their live powers on their biggest ever North American tour in 2018. VIEW MORE

Writing and Recording

Simple Minds are always writing and recording. More great music to follow! VIEW MORE

Taking in the innovative sheen of Promised You A Miracle and Glittering Prize, the anthemic sweep of Waterfront and Sanctify Yourself, the firebrand strand of Belfast Child and Mandela Day and the singalong wonder of Don’t You (Forget About Me) and Alive & Kicking, right up to date with 2014’s phenomenal Big Music album, Simple Minds have been creating a sound-scape for almost 40 years.


Simple Minds have been many things to many people: sound scapers, sound-shapers, soundtrack makers, serial chart-toppers. They have influenced acts as diverse as the Manic Street Preachers, Primal Scream, Moby and The Horrors. They have been sampled by Nicky Minaj, David Guetta, Joey Negro and Freddy Bastone. They have provided memorable movie moments for directors Christian Carion (L’Affaire Farewell), Gregor Jordan (The Informers), Cameron Crowe (Elizabethtown) and, of course, John Hughes (The Breakfast Club). They have topped the British charts half a dozen times, with the studio albums Sparkle In The Rain (1984), Once Upon A Time (1985) and Street Fighting Years as well as the Ballad Of The Streets EP (both 1989), the concert recording Live In The City Of Light (1987), and the compilation Glittering Prize 81/92, and returned to the UK Top Ten with latest albums Graffiti Soul & Big Music.


Named after a lyric – ‘So simple minded’ to be exact – from David Bowie‘s seminal 1972 single The Jean Genie, Simple Minds evolved out of Johnny & the Self Abusers, the ‘rank and file’ punk group Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill had formed in April 1977. By the time Saints And Sinners, the sole Abusers single, was issued on Chiswick six months later, Simple Minds, featuring bassist Derek Forbes, drummer Brian McGee and keyboard-player Mick MacNeil, were already moving towards a darker, broodier sound that owed a debt to the Velvet Underground but also the Krautrock of Can, Kraftwerk and Neu!


Following their chart debut with the Life In A Day album in April 1979, Simple Minds recorded some of the most beguiling, inventive, adventurous music of the post-punk period and set the standard for the British alternative scene with the albums Real To Real Cacophony (also 1979), Empires And Dance (1980) and the pioneering ‘twin’ releases Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call (1981). The most prolific and fast-evolving band of a generation that also included The Cure, the Psychedelic Furs and Joy Division/New Order, in 1982 they went on to make the landmark New Gold Dream (81–82–83–84), which marked the debut of drummer Mel Gaynor and served as the template for U2’s The Unforgettable Fire two years later. Success was cemented by the bombastically anthemic Sparkle In The Rain in 1984.


Simple Minds went stratospheric with Once Upon A Time and became a band with a mission, the first to commit to the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert held at Wembley Stadium in July 1988, an event for which they wrote Mandela Day, included on Street Fighting Years the following year. Following Mandela’s release, Simple Minds also played the Freedom Concert, again at Wembley Stadium, in April 1990, and the Nelson Mandela 90th Birthday Tribute in Hyde Park in 2008. In the intervening years, they have graced the Top 20 with the shimmering singles Let There Be Love, See The Lights, Stand By Love, She’s A River, Hypnotised and Glitterball, and the album charts with Real Life (1991), Good News From The Next World (1995), Neapolis (1998) and Black & White 050505 (2005), and covered material by many of the artists who have influenced them on Neon Lights (2001). The regeneration was initiated by Graffiti Soul (2009) and completed by the critically acclaimed Big Music (2014). More to follow…


Time to celebrate the majesty of Simple Minds…


Taken from the Celebrate – Greatest Hits + biography.


…When Simple Minds interrupted the recording of a new album of original songs to embark on an unscheduled acoustic project, the rewarding detour they took fundamentally changed their attitude to music. The band were already on a high following the enthusiastic response to 2014’s Big Music, a swaggering collection that reiterated the Glaswegian group’s world-class credentials. But it was the reaction that greeted 2016’s Simple Minds Acoustic, an organic revamp of hits such as Promised You A Miracle and Don’t You (Forget About Me), that prompted frontman Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill to reassess how they went about their business.


‘The positive reaction to that album energised us considerably, and we were keen to get straight back on the creative horse,’ says Jim. ‘We worked on two songs and, at first, it was looking like being more of the same. But, as we went on, and particularly after the acoustic tour, the new album took on its own identity. ‘Walk Between Worlds’ Simple Minds’ seventeenth studio album was released on the 2nd of Feb, 2018 and hailed as ‘..the band’s best album in decades‘ by The Sunday Times and ‘…their best music of the century‘ by Classic Rock. The rise and rebirth of Simple Minds continues…



Simple Minds are Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill and a selection of very talented collaborators including Ged Grimes, Sarah Brown, Gordy Goudie and Cherisse Osei.