Quite Great Publicity
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"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,
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 Kerr, 2001
Track by Track Synopsis
The album kicks off with the track Gloria, written, of course, by Van
Morrison (the Belfast Child himself). It's an absolute classic that has been
covered by many rock bands around the world. Simple Minds have played this
song live on many occasions sending the crowd wild. The Neon Lights version
is an almost futuristic interpretation.
David Bowie's influences cast a long shadow over many bands. It so happens
that even the name Simple Minds comes from a Bowie song (Jean Genie).
Jim Kerr and
Charlie Burchill first came across Bowie around 1972. His charisma,
his songs and the atmosphere of the show were what inspired Simple Minds to
write songs of their own, so it goes without saying that the bands version
of The Man Who Sold The World stays pretty close to the original.
Homosapien, written by Pete Shelly of The Buzzcocks, is one of the more
obscure songs to appear on Neon Lights, but
Jim Kerr always loved this song. "People who knew
(the track) would often quote it as being in their Top 5 ever songs, but it was an obscure record at the time.
I don't know if there was a chart position but it's a bit of a cult classic, not one of the
The plethora of bands that emerged from New York in the late 70's also had a
huge influence. Television, The Ramones,
The New York Dolls and Talking Heads all made a big impact,
but Patti Smith stood head and shoulders above
them all. The song, Dancing Barefoot, was originally produced by Todd
Rundgren (another influence on the Simple Minds sound), and has been
incorporated into the bands live set on many occasions, receiving a
fantastic audience reaction as soon as the initial chords were played.
Those who have followed Simple Minds from the very beginning know that the
band initially had a much more electronic foundation and the bands earliest
influences were from the German "Kraut Rock" music scene. Although described
by many as being 'cold' music,
Jim Kerr always felt that Kraftwerk's music
had a warm human side and great emotional content, particularly the song
Neon Lights, which appears as the title track on this album.
When discussing Simple Minds musical style, in particularly
Jim Kerr's own
style of singing, you can never ignore the influence of Jim Morrison and The
Doors. As one of
Jim Kerr's favourite bands, there is rarely a week that
goes by when he doesn't listen to The Doors. As one of The Doors better
Hello, I Love You is included as the bands tribute to them.
With an album of this sort, Simple Minds felt it was extremely important to
acknowledge a few of their 80's and 90's contemporaries. U2,The Cure and
Depeche Mode naturally spring to mind, but another band that fell very much
into this category was Echo And The Bunnymen. The song Simple Minds eventually
chose was one of their biggest hits, Bring On The Dancing Horses.
The original version of Neil Young's classic Needle And The Damage Done was
quite a short ballad and so has been reworked, adding an extra element of
drama to the song by highlighting the songs powerful lyrical content.
Possibly the most predominant influence on Simple Minds (in terms of the
sound of the guitars, the synthesisers and melodies) were Roxy Music. The
band chose to cover one of their darker, more ambient tracks.
For Your Pleasure turned out to be one of the most challenging, yet most enjoyable
tracks to record during the Neon Lights sessions.
Three chords and fantastic street lyrics by Lou Reed and John Cale:
All Tomorrows Parties is a song that true The Velvet Underground fans will recognise
as being one of the dark horses of their incredible catalogue. The song
itself is about the end of an era, and for this reason alone the band have
chosen it to bring Neon Lights to a conclusion.
Quite Great Publicity.
 Simple Minds performed Gloria
as part of an extended Ghostdancing
during the Street Fighting Years tour. It was also performed as a one-off during an Italian TV appearance
during the Néapolis tour.
 To my knowledge, Simple Minds have never performed Dancing Barefoot
Neon Lights the new
Simple Minds album is a record the band felt they
had to make. These were the songs and artists that have inspired the band
throughout their career and the band felt they needed to get back to their
roots. As well as the single Dancing Barefoot, originally recorded by
Patti Smith, other highlights include covers of The Doors,
Kraftwerk, Neil Young, Roxy Music,
The Velvet Underground, and David Bowie amongst others.
There will be a new album "proper" released in March 2002.