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act of love

Kerr, Burchill

Copyright Control

Act Of Love was one of the first songs written for the first post-Abusers line-up of Simple Minds, written in November/December 1977. It was completely dominated by one of Charlie’s distinctive guitar riffs, which drove the entire song, and underpinned the verses and its limited choruses. It opened their first gig at Satellite City, therefore becoming the first ever song played by the fledgling group.

Unfortunately no recordings of Act Of Love by the all-guitar early line-up of Simple Minds exist. By the time it was demoed in May 1978, both MacNeil and Forbes had joined the group, adding their own signature parts to the track’s basic sound. Their limited time with the band showed, particularly with MacNeil’s arrangement, which was just a staccato single-note for the versus, and a straightforward follow of the melody for the choruses.

The unofficial recording from the Mars Bar in July 1978 revealed how much the song had evolved. Not only were MacNeil and Forbes filling out its simplistic structure with more elaborate lines, but a police siren was added to parts of the song, adding to its urgent, hurried progression. Whether this was prompted by, or prompted, the use of a blue police light in a translucent head which spun around as an early, primitive light show is unknown.

The song’s gradual relegation through the set-list suggest it was slowly falling from grace. From pole-position in January 1978, it had dropped back to mid-set by July 1978, and had disappeared from the ranks altogether by the winter. By the time of the recording of Life In A Day, it was either forgotten or dropped. Tape box logs from the album sessions reveal that Act Of Love was never officially recorded.

It wasn’t entirely forgotten however. One extremely oblique reference could be found in the run-out groove of Lostboy's debut album where an extremely knowledgeable engineer wrote “ACT OF LOVE” in the run-out. Given Lostboy’s reference to early Simple Minds, especially by covering such rarities as Someone and New Warm Skin, then the etching is probably a homage to this song. And Jim, probably searching as far back as possible, namechecked Act of Love in a Walk Between Worlds interview, suggesting it had early potential and could be reworked and recorded in the future. This was in response to some criticism of using ideas and shelved demos from older albums for new releases – in doing so, Jim probably picked the oldest bona-fide Simple Minds song he could think of.

"Two nights ago Charlie and I were coming back from a radio interview we did in London. In the car, we started talking about the first gig we ever did which was forty years ago last week. And we spoke about a song we opened the set with. It was a song called, Act Of Love – it never made it onto an album. But a light bulb went on in our heads, and we thought "That was an amazing riff. We should go back to that." And we really can't wait to go back to it. That song could be the record breaker that could turn up forty-two years later on an album if we sort it out. You're right some songs do have a long gestation period, but that doesn't mean that they are old songs – it just means that they are works in progress."

Jim Kerr interviewed by Mark Millar
31st January 2018

The lyrics have never been published.

Demo Version (4:18)
Producer: Lex McEwan and Simple Minds

The Early Years 1977-1978 CD

demo discography
Demo Version (4:18)
Producer: Lex McEwan and Simple Minds

Simple Minds: 6 tracks

live history
Simple Minds: 1978