"Vision Thing" is an upbeat song that celebrates the life of Simple Minds lead singer Jim Kerr's father, Jimmy, who died in 2019 at 83. He and his writing partner in the band, Charlie Burchill, had just started working on the Direction Of The Heart album when he passed.
"We were set up in my little home studio in Glasgow," Kerr told Songfacts. "Dad lived nearby and he hadn't been feeling great, but there was nothing too alarming about it. And then a few checkups, and then the news got gradually worse. We had just started working, and he is a kind of guy who was always interested in what we were doing. He gave us the first £100 to make our first demos. Until the end he said he was still waiting to get paid by us... with interest! But, that didn't quite happen."
"The one thing dad was really keen on was the work continued," Kerr added. "He didn't just want everyone to sit around being freaked out. He wanted the work to continue. So we did."
Simple Minds had their biggest hits in the '80s but picked up steam in the 2010s with a series of acclaimed albums, including Big Music (2014) and Walk Between Worlds (2018). Kerr and Burchill are the core of the band, but they filled in the lineup with young musicians who bring a contemporary sound. On Direction Of The Heart, the other band members were:
Cherisse Osei - drums
Gordy Goudie - acoustic guitar
Ged Grimes - bass
Berenice Scott - keyboards
Sarah Brown - vocals
"Vision Thing" is the first track and lead single from Direction Of The Heart. It set the tone for the album, which might sound strange considering it's about the death of Jim Kerr's father, but it's imbued with his spirit.
"You would imagine some forlorn ballad, some sentimental thing," Kerr told Songfacts. "But dad wasn't that kind of guy. The song really mirrors his spirit. It's a really punchy song. We were playing it live just now, and even though most of the people don't know what it's about, they're jumping up and down to the rhythm of it. It almost belies the subject matter, which is a sweet spot to be, where down below you feel all this joy, but somewhere in the chords you can feel the sentimentality. We felt it was great. It was the first idea that came up and it was a gateway to the rest of the record."