Most people know Simple Minds chiefly as purveyors of arena-sized 1980s pop/rock grandeur a la "Don't You Forget About Me" and "Sanctify Yourself." By the time these Scots broke through with a wide-screen U2-ish approach, there'd already been plenty of water under the bridge. They started out firmly in edgy post-punk mode in the late '70s, and by the time of their third album, EMPIRES AND DANCE, they'd reached a crucial turning point. Though they'd begun the process on their preceding record, here they perfected their mix of post-punk/New Wave rock, colorful synthesizers, and dance beats, effectively creating the template for what would soon become known as the New Romantic sound (Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, etc).
Empires and Dance is the third studio album by Simple Minds, released in 1980. It reached #41 in the UK Albums Chart. The opening track "I Travel" was released as a single in 1980, failing to chart. Following the release of this album, Simple Minds transferred to Virgin Records, where they met with much greater commercial success. Arista tried to capitalize on this success by re-releasing "I Travel" as a single in 1982, and again in 1983. Both times, it still failed to chart.
Simple Minds signed to Chrysalis for Néapolis and saw the return of Derek Forbes on bass. Néapolis signals a return to form while remaining on the cutting edge. Unlike U2, the band they have been most often compared to, Simple Minds have not lost themselves in techno beats and processed samples. Longtime fans will embrace this album; from the opening track, "Song for the Tribes," through the two singles, "Glitterball" and "War Babies," one immediately recognizes that classic sound. Other standout tracks include "Tears of a Guy," "Superman V Supersoul," and a potential third single, "Killing Andy Warhol." The biggest surprise on the album is "Androgyny," a welcomed instrumental in the tradition of their earlier works (see Empires and Dance, Sister Feelings Call, and Sons and Fascination). It's nice to know that in the 1990s, one classic new wave band hasn't forgotten what it is all about. Unfortunately, Chrysalis felt there was not enough of a following outside of Europe to justify the worldwide release of the album.
Super deluxe six disc edition boasts an abundance of material. Disc one features a 2016 remaster (by Andrew Walter at Abbey Road) approved by Charlie Burchill and the second disc gathers 12-inch remixes and instrumentals of the singles, a few of which enjoy their CD debut. Various edits and B-sides can be found on the third CD in the set while disc four features previously unreleased BBC John Peel and Kid Jensen radio sessions, recorded in February and August 1982. All ten tracks on disc five are previously unreleased; made up of alternative mixes and demos and the icing on the cake is the sixth and final disc which is a DVD, featuring Charlie Burchill and Ronald Prent's 5.1 surround sound mix, first released on the now long out-of-print DVD-Audio in 2005. This mix of the album is a unique 'full duration' mix which is different to the standard version. DVD also includes promo videos and a few Top of the Pops performances. Note, this is a DVD-V unlike the DVD-A/V disc from previous Simple Minds box sets.
When Simple Minds released Black and White in 2005, it was obvious they'd been doing some creative soul searching in light of the success of bands clearly influenced by them, namely, the Killers and Manic Street Preachers. 2009's Graffiti Soul saw the return of drummer Mel Gaynor to the fold. He brought a familiar, tight, propulsive foundation to Charlie Burchill's guitar playing and Andy Gillespie's imaginative synths. Jim Kerr's alternately whispering and soaring vocals were still at the fore, but were showcased inside more economical songwriting, and Jez Coad's production celebrated the band's pop identity. Big Music finds Simple Minds coming full circle – going all the way back to 1979 for inspiration. They've rediscovered the urgent, keyboard-driven post-punk futurism of recordings such as Empires and Dance and Sons and Fascination.
On 27th November 2013 Simple Minds played a very special concert and filmed it at the brand new award-winning venue the SSE Hydro Glasgow, the first concert to be filmed there. This deluxe digipak package features a DVD with a 93 minute edit of the concert, two CDs containing the audio, and a booklet containing a selection of beautiful photos of the occasion. To an enthusiastic home audience, the band delivers rousing versions of hit after hit after hit.