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Don't You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds

Album: The Breakfast Club SoundtrackReleased: 1985Charted:
1
7
  • This was featured in the 1985 movie The Breakfast Club. Directed by John Hughes, it featured many members of the "Brat Pack," including Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, and Judd Nelson. The song is so associated with The Breakfast Club, that it is often used in movies or TV shows any time they reference the movie, often with a parody of the iconic ending shot where Judd Nelson throws his fist in the air (perhaps the most famous freeze-frame in movie history, although Rocky 2, where Rocky and Apollo are frozen mid-punch, is also up there).

    Examples include the TV shows Scrubs, Psych, 30 Rock and Family Guy, and the movies American Pie and Easy A. In the 2001 film Not Another Teen Movie, which even features a cameo by Molly Ringwald, the version in the movie was performed by Sprung Monkey.
  • Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff wrote this song specifically for The Breakfast Club. Forsey, who also co-wrote "Shakedown" for Beverly Hills Cop II and the title song to Flashdance... What a Feeling, was in charge of the music on The Breakfast Club. Schiff had been a guitarist in Nina Hagen's band and co-wrote one of her biggest songs, "New York / N.Y."

    Forsey and Schiff wrote a few other songs for the film as well, including "Fire in the Twilight" by Wang Chung and "Didn't I Tell You" by Joyce Kennedy. "Don't You (Forget About Me)" was the only hit from the soundtrack, but it was a big one, rising to #1 in the US.
  • Simple Minds had been around for five years and developed a strong following in England when this was released. The song was much more bombastic and radio-friendly than their previous material, which alienated some of their core fans, but gave them a breakthrough hit in the US, where it was by far their biggest hit. It is one of the few Simple Minds songs that they didn't write themselves.
  • According to Keith Forsey, Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music was his first choice to record this song, but Ferry turned it down. Forsey was also a big fan of simple minds, so he tried to get them to record the song by delivering a cassette demo to the band.

    At the time, Simple Minds was gaining traction in the UK, with with three modest hits from their 1984 album Sparkle in the Rain: "Waterfront," "Speed Your Love to Me" and "Up on the Catwalk." In the US, however, they had no luck, in large part because their US record company, A&M, didn't promote them. An A&R guy at the label named Jordan Harris tried to rectify that by having them record this song (The Breakfast Club soundtrack was on A&M), but the band wanted nothing to with it because:

    1) They didn't like recording songs they didn't write.
    2) Jim Kerr didn't like the lyric (especially the "vanity... insecurity" line).

    So why did the band record it? They simply changed their minds. They met with The Breakfast Club director John Hughes and got a screening of the film, which put the lyric in better context. Forsey visited them in Scotland, and they got on well. While there, he convinced them to give it a go, and they recorded the track in a few hours at a studio in London.
  • Jim Kerr didn't think this song was up to snuff when he heard the demo, but looking back on it, he's thrilled with its impact on pop culture. "The song and the film are almost iconic to certain generations, especially in America," he told us in 2014. "So it's great when things come together and work so well. It's been a pleasure to see how much joy that song gives to a lot of people.
  • This got a ridiculous amount of radio play, partly because it was played on both rock and Top 40 stations. It continues to get played on classic rock, modern rock, and even Top 40 radio stations as a solid recurrent with a huge recognition rating - when songs are tested by stations to determine if audiences like them, this consistently does very well, which keeps it on the air.
  • The prom scene in the 1986 John Hughes movie Pretty in Pink was shot to this song, which might explain why the dancing doesn't follow the music of the song that was used: "If You Leave" by OMD. Andy McCluskey of OMD told us: "The song had to be 120 BPM cos that's the tempo of 'Don't You Forget about Me,' which is the track they actually shot the prom scene to. Unfortunately, the editor obviously had no sense of rhythm because they are all dancing out of time in the final film."
  • The song's co-writer Keith Forsey took over as drummer for The Psychedelic Furs in 1984 and produced their album Mirror Moves that year. When John Hughes found out that Forsey wrote "Don't You (Forget About Me)," he delved deeper into The Psychedelic Furs and discovered the group's 1981 song "Pretty In Pink." He made that the title song to his next movie, which was released in 1986. This gave The Furs a huge career boost and a surprising hit.
  • Despite the band's then-popularity in the UK and Europe, back in 1985 Simple Minds remained essentially unknown in the United States. That changed when this song gave them a foothold; their next album, Once Upon a Time (which didn't include "Don't You (Forget About Me)"), scored with the #3 hit "Alive And Kicking." A few minor hits followed in America, but their stronghold remained the UK, where they topped the chart in 1989 with "Belfast Child."
  • Jim Kerr, the group's lead singer, was married to Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders when this came out. He was later married to the actress Patsy Kensit, who divorced him and took up with Liam Gallagher of Oasis.
  • Molly Ringwald released an album of standards in 2013 called Except Sometimes, which featured a cover of this song. Ringwald wanted to pay tribute to John Hughes and integrate her past by covering the song.
  • In 2005, the punk rock band Yellowcard recorded this live from the MTV Video Music Awards as part of a 20th anniversary special for The Breakfast Club. Clips from the movie were shown during their performance. (thanks, Charlie - Las Vegas, NV)
  • Season 7 American Idol winner David Cook recorded a cover of "Don't You (Forget About Me)" as the farewell song for the 10th season of the reality television music competition. The song was chosen by American Idol creator and Executive Producer Simon Fuller and made available for sale on March 8, 2011. Cook told The Hollywood Reporter: "When I was approached about that song, my first thought was how iconic it is. Every time I hear that song I think of Judd Nelson on the football field with his fist in the air. How do you make it your own without completely bastardizing the original? It was an interesting experience. I'm extremely happy with the end result. It was a lot of fun to record. We got Kenny Aronoff on drums and Neal came in and helped cut some of the guitars. With Matt Squire's help - he was on board as a producer - we went in, had fun with it and tried not to worry about the inevitable pressure associated with that song. It was a huge honor."
  • The song's "la-la-la" coda is a case of a placeholder becoming the actual lyric, as neither Keith Forsey nor Jim Kerr could think of actual words that made sense.
  • The music video was directed by Daniel Kleinman, who also did the clips for Paula Abdul's "Knocked Out" and Wang Chung's "Dance Hall Days." Oddly, there was no footage from The Breakfast Club in the video, which takes place in a large room filled with the band members and various television monitors. Simple Minds were never huge on MTV, which had moved away from British acts and were more interested in artists like Madonna and Prince. It was radio that made this song huge in the States.
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Comments: 36

Molly Ringwald herself did a cover of this song from her 2013 jazz album "Except Sometimes."Sion - Tucson, Az
I never get tired of this songs. One of my all time favs! What would have happened if Billy Idol or Bryan Ferry (as it was mentioned) did the song first? What travesty!Myla - San Diego, Ca
Great Song! Great Band! You can't hear this song and not think of the Breakfast Club! Judd Nelson Rules! I always wanted to walk off a feild somewhere with my fist high in air and this song playing in the background...someday!Travis - Grandisland, Fl
This song is one of the best to come out of the 80's. It's catchy and the deep sound of it is great.Jessica - Bloomfield , Nj
This was used in the Family Guy episode where Peter goes back to high school. Peter does the whole Judd Nelson thing at the end where he raises his fist as he walks across the school yard..Michelle - Ny, Ny
Love the instrumental version running under the voice-overs in the movie. Anyone know if it was ever released, so that I can look for it? The guitar work really stands out when you strip out the lyrics.Edwoodca - Los Angeles, Ca
I think you'll find that Keith Forsey and Steve Chiff own the song, NOT Billy Idol. And his version sucks the big one hard. Simple Minds' version is the way to go!Dave - Cardiff, Wales
I remember the film breakfast club was spoof by the A*Teens and X-PlayMargaret - Worcester, Ma
I love the Breakfast Club. This is my favorite Simple Minds song. They go together good.Megan - Winnipeg, Canada
thank you very much I'm glad to know youAbeer - Basra, Iraq
Billy Idol's owns this song. His is much better than SMs.Lalah - Wasilla, Ak
It was actually in two large former British colonies (see comment by Dave of Cardiff) that Simple Minds was initially really successful to the point of mega-cult status: Australia and more particularly Canada, where "Love Song" became their first bonafide hit (#15). This song's success led to the re-vamping of the tracklist for "Sons And Fascination" in Canada (erroneously referred to as the "US version"): the far superior running order and selection included 10 tracks, beginning with "Love Song" and including the enigmatic "League Of Nations", while excluding "70 Cities As Love Brings The Fall", "Careful In Career", "Wonderful In Young Life" and "Seeing Out The Angel". By 1984, SM could play four sold-out gigs back-to-back at Toronto's Massey Hall. (U2 was booked for one night only at the hall in the same year, although surely they could have played more shows.) On this tour of Canada, they were of course headliners, supported by China Crisis... for the American leg, they were relegated to a support act of The Pretenders (who would have been lucky at that point to have scored a support spot for Simple Minds in Canada!) "Don't You (Forget About Me)" brought along a whole new audience but the new direction all but killed off the hardcore arty fan base here that in Toronto had voted two albums by the band as best album of the year in the influential CKLN polls: 1981's "Sons And Fascination" (Canadian version) and 1982's "New Gold Dream", a feat which has remained unattained by any other group. In was without question inferior to their highly inventive, thought-provoking, physically infectious music up until that point, so it is (perhaps not?) ironic that this became their first mainstream megahit wordldwide.Kent - Toronto, Canada
My understanding is this song was written specificaly for The Breakfast Clup and intended for Simple Minds to perform it.John - Kirkland, Wa
LOL! I was in that band! (Best Company) We got into the dance charts with our version way back in 1992. The dub mix ended up being played for quite a long time on Pete Tong's radio 1 show and we got asked to do loads of appearances because of it. Great song, but I prefered the original! We loved 'The breakfast club'. Now making strange planet vid on barrykingstar.comBarry - Strange Planet, Hong Kong
This is my favourite song of all time by my fave band of all time. Pretty much the only big hit the 'Minds would score in the US, although they were hugely successful elsewhere in the world, particularly their native UK where they have to date scored over 30 hit singles since breaking into the UK Top 20 for the first time in 1983 with "Promised You a Miracle". Certainly one of the more interesting rock bands of the '80sDave - Cardiff, Wales
Billy Idol's version is NOT better, no one ever sang this song better than Simple MindsDave - Cardiff, Wales
Hey Daniel from Australia, I thought the exact same thing.Pytlak - Bakersfield, Ca
Billy Idols version is better.Ed - Lancaster, England
The reason this song was not included on "Once Upon A Time" is Simple Minds wanted the ablum to sell on its own merrits and not be aided by the success of Don't You, which as previousy stated is a song they didn't like to begin with and only recorded at the insistance of the record company. I have also read that Jim Kerr was specifically turned off by the use of the word "Baby" in "Don't you" and hated using that word.Kevin - Tampa, Fl
Simple Minds only lyrical input on this track was the 'La, la, la, la' in the last 20 seconds that repeats until fade. When they play live, that 20 seconds is dragged out to a few minutes and you'd swear that the crowd would never get bored of singing along.Daniel - Melbourne, Australia
Simple Minds were huge in the UK right throughout their recording career dating back to 1977, but after not releasing any new material between 1991 and 1995, they lost momentum, although they have continued to record until the present dayDave - Cardiff, Wales
hmmm i have heard on several occasions that the song was written BY simple minds for 'the breakfast club'...i did a major study on rock history for my year twelve modern history assignment...Mel - South Australia, Australia
Best Company did a dance Version in the 90'sNeil - Middlesbrough
Yellowcard's version was amazing. I am not a big Yellowcard fan. But wow. Their version is so amazing.Becca - Hamilton, Canada
The end of the Family Guy show where they all do 'Toad' and Peter goes back to high school in the guise of 'Lando Griffin'. Very funny episode! "Gotta give it up, give up the toad now..."Lee - Bournemouth
Punk band Rufio does a great cover on the Punk Goes 80's cd.Brian - Rochester, Ny
i luv this song its really cool and its just sounds good overall simple minds is a good band and they did a good job in this song.Dmytro - Toronto, Canada
I love this song. we love it overseas. loved the yellowcard version. they performed it at the MTV movie awards and it really hit me... emotionally. They showed clips during the song. UNREAL. btw I'm a basketcasePaul - Galway, Ireland
Well here is the info. Someone offered Billy Idol to record this song. He said no, but for some reason he recorded it later. (That was after it became popular)Sarah - Columbia, China
Billy Idol's version is so much better.Shana - Shreveport, La
What Family Guy episode is this song in?Ryan - Windsor, Canada
When I first heard this song I swear to God it was by U2. Listen to it. You will agree with me.Daniel - Werribee, Australia
This song was also used at the end of a family guy episodeJack - Derry, United States
This song was also offered to Billy Idol, but he declined. He would then go on to cover it. It can be heard as the last track on his Greatest Hits album.Ari - Elizabeth, Nj
This song was played at the end of an emotional episode of the popular show "Futurama." Almost every song played on this show was from the 80s, because the main character Fry is stuck in that decade.Joe - Selinsgrove, Pa
Believe it or not, Jim Kerr felt the song was "campy" and actually didn't like it despite its success. The song wasn't released on their 1985 'Once Upon A Time' album (to which this song ironically helped bolster) but later included it on their greatest hits album. The single's B-side contains a fanbase favorite 'The American' as well as an unacclaimed cut called 'A Brass Band in Africa' which is the beautiful epitome of Simple Mind's melodic side.Eric - Glendale, Ca