Friday, June 27, 2008

This Weekend That You Walk Upon

We all remember Simple Minds’ musical contribution to the John Hughes movie The Breakfast Club. “Don’t You Forget About Me” was its title, the year was 1985, the movie was everywhere and so was this song, the first track on the soundtrack. However, many years before Simple Minds became the darlings of American stadiums they were the British (or more accurately the Glasgow) band that could…and did. Their early albums from ’79 and ’80 were intricate and forward looking, channeling diverse influences like Kraftwerk, Magazine, The Velvet Undergound, Giorgio Moroder, La Dusseldorf, Neu! and disco. These records were musically startling, containing strong, rhythmic rock grooves tinged with electronic and funk elements, and they paved the way for the band’s tour de force, the Sons and Fascination and Sister Feelings Call albums which dropped in the fall of 1981. Sister Feelings Call came free as a bonus disk with the first 10,000 copies of the Sons and Fascination LP. At this point Simple Minds was comprised of Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill, Brian McGee, Mick MacNeil and Derek Forbes, the eighth embodiment of the band since its formation in 1977.

Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call also came on one cassette, and in 1984 and 1985 my red Walkman beat the ears off me with it and The B-52s' Mesopotamia. And though we now obsess on tracks like “This Earth That You Walk Upon” as part of Daniele Baldelli’s mythic dj sets (“League Of Nations” is the slo mo jam though and I’m sure Baldelli rocked this too), back then Simple Minds were on the same pedestal as Echo And The Bunnymen and U2. These outfits were all venerated as the zenith of new wave and the bands from the isles, which all could — and all did to some extent —take over the world. Over and above the blogger worship of “the unremembered eighties,” (my fave James Murphy lyric) Sons and Fascination/Sisters Feelings Call was a masterpiece of modern rock, effortlessly fusing grand anthems with lush, complex sounding electronics and driving funk and disco grooves.

Check “Love Song,” “The American,” and the old school Ibiza classic “Themes For Great Cities,” for proof of this. And wallow in the dislocated, alienated ambience of tracks like “League Of Nations,” “Seeing Out The Angel,” and “This Earth That You Walk Upon,” (in its awesome vocal version) to find an unnerved repose from wide screen epics such as “Sound In 70 Cities,” and “Boys From Brazil.” Perhaps “Don’t You Forget About Me,” has led us to completely forget about this stellar, if not jaw droppingly excellent, album, but a root through your local music emporium’s cd and vinyl sections will refresh your memory and allow you to withdraw from stadium sized worship and to plant your musical feet firmly on this earth that you walk upon.


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