Alive and Kicking

Album: Once Upon A Time (1985)
Charted: 7 3

Songfacts®:

  • 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 Rybczynski, 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.

Comments: 8

  • Sol Luna from MexicoThe songs lyrics are not about romantic love, its more about elemental forces of nature, and the video reinforces that message, starting with the band lying on the floor and the moon in the beginning and end of the video, as well as the Sun appearing at the same time than the lyrics: "....I'll follow you", I know it will sound strange to many, but some artists prefer to show their beliefs in a subtle manner, or through symbolisms
  • Melinda from AustraliaLoved Simple Mind’s ‘Love Song’ too. It came out years before they made it big. Love Song has the exact feel of the early 1980’s. And so Simple Minds. Almost choral and gospel in influence.
    My problem was I heard it by chance. And then never heard it again till years later. I was obsessed in that song.
    Young people today have no idea how in the days before the internet, you couldn’t access things in a moment.
    You had to wait until someone you knew or they knew, had a great record or cassettes collection you could borrow or access to record.
    Records were expensive. And if you heard part of a song on the radio and...If you missed hearing what it was called. You couldn’t find out. I believe this is why Gen Xers have way more patience than the Gens that have come after us.
    We know how to wait. Bide our time.
  • Melinda from AustraliaAlive and Kicking was f...king awesome. But I tended to think it was about a more mature age group. In the lyrics, Commitment stuff. Mmm. The audience for Simple Minds at this time were teens. And early 20’s. But despite this, the majestic power of this song assured its success. Sanctify Yourself was really good too. Simple Minds knew how to knock it out of the park musically + lyrically. I notice there’s no commenters here from the UK. C’mon UKers, Simple Minds are one the underrated bands of the 80’s. Or you’s hated The Breakfast Club. Or is it that the UK jus has so much musical talent. It’s easy to be undervalued there. i think so.
  • Melinda from AustraliaI really think Simple Minds music on the movie The Breakfast Club really propelled them into major success. I’d heard very little of them prior to that. I was crazy mad about Jim Kerr. He was good lookin back in the day. This song Don’t You Forget About Me matched perfectly that movie. Because not only that cult 80’s movie is about mixed up young people. It’s about having empathy + forming new relationships with people you wouldn’t normally mix with at school. I’d jus left school when it came out. But I totally ‘got’ that movie.
  • Tony from Olonkin CityFirst piece of music the band released without the original bass player Derek Forbes. He was sacked after the previous hit "Don't you forget about me".
  • Joseph from Fort WorthIt sounds more like a song about Faith in Jesus Christ, holy communion and the spirit.
  • Myla from San Diego, CaWonderful song. I think it was written when Jim Kerr was still married to Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. Too bad it didn't last.
  • Travis from Grandisland, FlLove this song I dont know why but it always reminds me of flying. Great video too and band! Peace
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