Album: Sparkle In The Rain (1983)
Charted: 13


  • The waterfront in this song is the River Clyde in Glasgow, where the band is from. "The song itself is about the rebirth of our city," Simple Minds lead singer Jim Kerr told Songfacts. "It talks about the water, and anyone listening might think it's Biblical. A baptism or something."

    Glasgow was economically depressed at the time, but walking along the river, Kerr got a sense of hope.
  • The song is driven by a big bass pulse that was generated by a Dynacord amplifier and sampler. This was relatively new technology and the sound they got out of it was modern and anthemic, making it perfect for live performance. It became a concert favorite for the band.
  • Released as the first single from Sparkle In The Rain, "Waterfront" went over well in the UK, but got little attention in America, where the band didn't chart until 1985, when "Don't You (Forget About Me)," their contribution to the movie The Breakfast Club, went to #1.
  • Michael Been, lead singer of The Call, was a big fan of this song. The Call was often the opening act for Simple Minds, and the band members became good friends. In 1989, The Call had their biggest hit with "Let The Day Begin," which owes a debt to "Waterfront." That was quite alright with Jim Kerr.

    He told Songfacts: "He played me 'Let The Day Begin,' but before I had the chance to say anything - because I wouldn't have said it, but I was thinking it - he said, 'It's not a million miles from 'Waterfront,' is it?' And I said, 'No, it's not.' It's got the same rhythm, but his song is much better."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Elton JohnFact or Fiction

Does he have beef with Gaga? Is he Sean Lennon's godfather? See if you can tell fact from fiction in the Elton John edition.

La La Brooks of The CrystalsSong Writing

The lead singer on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," La La explains how and why Phil Spector replaced The Crystals with Darlene Love on "He's A Rebel."

Amy Lee of EvanescenceSongwriter Interviews

The Evanescence frontwoman on the songs that have shifted meaning and her foray into kids' music.

Shaun Morgan of SeetherSongwriter Interviews

Shaun breaks down the Seether songs, including the one about his brother, the one about Ozzy, and the one that may or may not be about his ex-girlfriend Amy Lee.

Lita FordSongwriter Interviews

Lita talks about how they wrote songs in The Runaways, and how she feels about her biggest hit being written by somebody else.

Edwin McCainSongwriter Interviews

"I'll Be" was what Edwin called his "Hail Mary" song. He says it proves "intention of the songwriter is 180 degrees from potential interpretation by an audience."