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neon lights : information

  • "We didnít do a lot in the nineties. Three albums. That tells you something. The band was flat lining. For about a year, we came close to not continuing. Your career and your life are so intermingled and things don't always go well. But once we decided we were going to soldier on, we got our mojo back."

  • "Neon Lights is an album of cover versions, the first time Simple Minds have put together a collection of non-original material. We thought it was appropriate at a period of looking back that we go to the very foundations of Simple Minds, which of course is the music and the bands who influenced us."

  • "Simple Minds essentially formed as friends, school friends, who were also fans of music. We like to think that we're still fans at heart and I think it's important to create - to be able to continue creating music. I think it's important that you still keep the essence of the fan." - Jim

  • After the problems with Our Secrets Are The Same, Simple Minds effectively ground to a halt. With little or no interest in music, and exasperated at the state of the recording industry, Jim and Charlie devoted their time to other projects (and in Jim's case prompting headlines as he formed a consortium to purchase Celtic football club.)

  • By this time, Jim had settled in Taormina and was concentrating on his hotel (Vila Angela). This didnít stop the local musicians trying to coax the reluctant Simple Minds front-man back into their studios, to listen to their music, and to perhaps contribute something. This spurred Jim back into action, and working with the local musicians, and other more established Italian groups, Simple Minds edged away from self-imposed retirement and set about recording again.

  • "Danielle Tignino, a local songwriter and producer more than played a part in my creative rebirth. He hassled me non-stop into coming over to his little studio in those days when I was intent on resisting giving my heart back to songs. When I finally did succumb to Danís invitation, I found that within days together we had playfully knocked off a handful of tunes that were loaded with the strongest pop hooks. I also felt instantly that there was something strong emerging from me once again. That feeling alloyed with the recognition and soon constant nurturing of Martin Hanlin and Ged Malone meant that it became quite possible to start believing in it all once again."

  • "Inevitably the wheel had turned and I had turned with it, the sudden movement of that was like waking from a coma that incorporated the heaviness that only those who have ever experienced a chronic crisis of confidence know about." - Jim

  • To familiarize themselves with new recording studios and techniques, and to reboot Simple Minds, the new group found their feet by recording a set of covers. At the same time, they worked on an evolving new pop-orientated album.

  • Most of the work for the covers album took place at Ca-Va studios in Glasgow. Jim and Charlie worked with songwriter, musician and studio hand Gordon Goudie.

  • By mid 2001, they signed a two album deal with Eagle Records. Oddly, the deal didnít include the collection of covers theyíd amassed. But having wanted to record a covers album for years, it seemed an appropriate and opportunistic time to release one: released as a low-key budget album, it would reintroduce Simple Minds and set the scene for the forthcoming ďrealĒ album.

  • Eagle originally put together a fully-fledged CD release with a sizeable booklet; this was later cut back to just a minimal insert. However, Eagleís extravagance wasnít fully curtailed; the accompanying single (Dancing Barefoot EP) was pressed as jet black CD and made little, or no, profit.

  • The CD was released in September 2001 (Europe) and October 2001 (rest of the world). The US and Canadian editions featured extra tracks taken from the Dancing Barefoot EP. In Germany, a limited edition release of 9999 copies packaged Neon Lights and the Dancing Barefoot EP in an unique sleeve.

  • The UK promotional sampler featured slightly different artwork and longer sleeve notes than its commercial counterpart. It also featured Jim introducing each of the tracks and giving some background. Each of the songs was peppered with one second gaps to prevent copying. The sampler also turned up in Germany (sans Jim's introductions) as a plain CDR.

  • A generic interview CDR was distributed in very limited numbers. It remains the rarest of the Neon Lights releases.

  • The sampler was given away with copies of the album in some Virgin Megastores. Eagle also looked into giving away copies with every new Smartcar.

  • At Eagle's German company, someone pressed up 25 copies of a promotional version of the album, but used the original artist recordings and not the covers by Simple Minds. The cover artwork was altered slightly to state "Original Versions Of Songs Covered On". It was intended to produce more of these promos, but Eagle were unable to get clearance for a couple of the songs, and so the promo was shelved.

  • The albumís time in the limelight was extremely short; all the big promotion, interviews etc. were being saved for the Cry. However Virgin took the opportunity to release The Best Of the next month, therefore cashing in on Eagleís limited advertising and promoting.

  • "It certainly wasn't easy when we looked at the prospect of doing a cover version album. There have been so many great songs, so many different sounds, so many artists and acts that have influenced our band. We tried to hone it down to the key acts involved, and you could say that Simple Minds came out on a basis of listening to David Bowie, Roxy Music, Peter Gabriel and of course, Lou Reed. On top of that there was always Patti Smith, The Doors and Neil Young as well."

  • "In this collection we have tried to stay faithful to the sentiment of the original songs, but of course we have tried to bring our own heart to the songs. It is never easy to do cover versions. In some ways you are on to a hiding to nothing because the very fact that you're choosing these songs means that you believe that the originals are great in themselves. However, real fans of Simple Minds who want to discover the genesis of our sound, want to hear what we were listening to as fans and understand the excitement that propelled us to make our sound and write our own songs, can trace it all on this album." - Jim

neon lights : quick reference
CD    Neon Lights Eagle EAGCD 194
1. Gloria(3:45)
2. The Man Who Sold The World(4:07)
3. Homosapien(4:20)
4. Dancing Barefoot(3:48)
5. Neon Lights(4:16)
6. Hello I Love You(3:32)
7. Bring On The Dancing Horses(5:51)
8. The Needle And The Damage Done(4:15)
9. For Your Pleasure(4:08)
10. All Tomorrow's Parties(3:33)

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Dancing Barefoot EP Homosapien