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Album: Once Upon A TimeReleased: 1985Charted:
A big step up from "conscious and breathing" and a huge improvement over "dead and buried," Simple Minds were "alive and kicking" in 1985 when they released this song as the first single from their Once Upon A Time album. The group was enjoying creative and critical success, with their 1984 album Sparkle in the Rain a breakthrough, scoring three Top 10 hits in the UK and earning plaudits from the prickly British music press.
Lead singer Jim Kerr, who wrote the lyric, had reason to celebrate on a personal level as well: He married Chrissie Hynde in 1984 and the couple had a daughter, Yasmin, the next year.
Simple Minds were working in America when they came up with the music for this song. The jaunty tune inspired a similarly upbeat lyric from Jim Kerr, who told us: "We were in New York, it was summer, Manhattan. We could feel the band was really on the verge of something, and I think that positivity and that idea of hope formed the lyrics." (Here's the full Jim Kerr interview
Robin Clark sang backing vocals (credited as "Additional Lead Singer") on the track. The American vocalist is the wife of one of David Bowie's favorite guitarists: Carlos Alomar. Clark has also worked with the Thin White Duke, including on his Young Americans album.
The music video was helmed by the Polish director Zbigniew Rybczyński, who also worked on the "All The Things She Said" clip as well as videos by Yoko Ono, The Alan Parsons Project and Lou Reed. It was filmed in the northern Catskill Mountains with a crane camera getting some impressive panoramic shots of the area. The waterfall is Kaaterskill Falls.
Simple Minds' American record company, A&M, did little to promote the band until they started gaining acclaim in the UK. Ready to jump on the bandwagon, the label badgered them into recording "Don't You (Forget About Me)
" for The Breakfast Club
soundtrack. The single shot to #1 in May 1985. The next single was "Alive and Kicking," which had an impressive showing, peaking at #3 in December.
Simple Minds enjoyed enjoyed a few more decades of success in the UK, but never had another Top 10 in America.