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Belfast Child


Simple Minds

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song was inspired by the 1987 Enniskillen bombing, when a bomb planted by the IRA exploded during a Remembrance Day service at Enniskillen in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, killing 11 people and injuring at least 63. Simple Minds lead singer Jim Kerr explained to Q magazine in 1989: "In the second part of 'Belfast Child' I'm trying to relate to people in Northern Ireland who've also lost loved ones. I'm trying to talk about the madness and sadness and emptiness. I'm not saying I have any pearls of wisdom, but I have a few questions to ask. When I'm asked on American TV who my heroes are, rather than saying Lou Reed or Bob Dylan or someone who goes without saying, I say there are these people called Amnesty International and what they are doing I think is rather heroic. It only takes about 30 seconds."
The music is based on a traditional song called "She Moved Through The Fair," which Jim Kerr heard for the first time a few days after the bombing and decided to use the melody for this song.
This runs 6:39. At the time, it was the second-longest UK #1, after The Beatles "Hey Jude ."
The B-side of the single was "Mandela Day," which was written for Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday concert on June 11, 1988.
This was Simple Minds' first and only UK #1 hit, but they have charted in the UK Top-40 24 times.
Simple Minds
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Comments (13):

It was produced by the legendary Trevor Horn, also responsible for smash hits of Frankie goes to Hollywood, Yes, Grace Jones, Pet Shop Boys and so on and so on
- Jorg, Utrecht, Netherlands
It has nothing to do with the British army in Northern Ireland fact! This a beautiful song about how Ireland was once a united country, and now is split between religion. Perhaps one day the war will end, and brothers and sisters of Ireland will sing one song, and the people of Ireland will regain the understanding and practice the spiritual place it truly is. We are all Ireland!
- Icey, Perth, Australia
The funny thing is: Belfast children went to a lot of trouble, but they've ALWAYS been singing! Orange or green songs, funny songs, dirty songs, dance songs, but singing they did all the time, also in the 80's when this song was recorded.
- Eisso, Groningen, Netherlands
this song is about the english occupation of Ireland. the line 'When The Belfast Child Sings Again' is a reference to the people's joy returning when the english leave.
- paul, dublin, Ireland
I've never been there but listening to this beautiful song makes me feel that I can see it.
- Chaosz, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Now that peaceful times abound and there is unity in government lets hope that the Belfast children Billy and Mary are indeed singing again.
- andrew, huddersfield, England
It is a lovely song, I can still remember when I first heard it, I was 8 and the 'Minds were performing it on the UK music show "Top of the Pops" on BBC1, it really had a profound effect! The single was actually part of an EP called "The Ballad of the Streets EP" which also featured "Belfast Child", a cover of Peter Gabriel's "Biko" and "Mandela Day"
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
Daan, U2 may perhaps have covered "She Moved Through The Fair", but not "Belfast Child" as a song in it's own right
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
The scots are our close cousins and this song, at the time, was a special. For me it struct the ole heart strings. At least someone understands us!!!
- steven, derry, Ireland
Jim Kerr as you know is Scottish. His parents are Irish.
- andy, Leeds, England
wasn't this once covered by U2?
- Daan, Tegelen, Netherlands
It is an amazing song... very touching.
- Acrobat, Adelaide, Australia
belfast child is a wonderful song the lyrics have a true meaning for those of us who live there
- maureen, randalstown, Ireland
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