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street fighting years


composer
Words and music: Simple Minds


publisher
© 1989 Virgin Music (Publishers) Ltd


background
Street Fighting Years started life as an instrumental by Mick. He brought it along to the band's Loch Earn studio on the first day of the album sessions.

"I didn't know it could be a song. And I didn't care. After the Once Upon A Time experiences it just did not matter." - Jim.

"The first thing we heard was Street Fighting Years and they said they didn't want big drums. That was a good omen but a bad omen as well. Street Fighting Years is very slow and long and soft - a little bit too much one-way. But you have to respect them for making such a u-turn musically." - Stephen Lipson

It was first track recorded and finished for the album. Lipson immediately realised it should open the album as a statement of intent.

"In 1988 a younger friend of ours, the brother of one of my closest friends, was stabbed to death. In the wrong place at the right time there was no apparent reason for the attack other than the fact that the guilty ones were high on glue and brandishing knives."

"A horrifying experience for all who knew him, as well as for his family whom I know have never been able to get over the death of their youngest son, it was the pointlessness of the whole act that reverberated the most, chilling me even now as I look back on it."

"Speechless at the time and with no words that I could conjure to offer the depth of my sympathy, I did later somehow manage to write something that was part poem and part letter, which in turn surfaced as the basis for the lyric that I used on the title track of our Street Fighting Years album, released a year or so later." - Jim

"... Some years later, a song called "Street Fighting Years" took a lot more out of me. Never in a million years coming across as a radio tune, it was a stunning piece. But it followed no previous musical path that I was familiar with, and as will be plain to you who know the track, I was no longer in the world of simple pop arrangements. Indeed where I was on that occasion as I grasped with the challenge of writing something complementary that would sit with it - is better described as unknown territory."

"To explain. Mick MacNeil had come up yet again with this "thing" that was beautiful and dramatic, but also far too long-winded to be a regular song. It had no real certified verse or chorus parts that would work to any regular degree, and as it unfolded it sounded more like the soundtrack to a widescreen movie – one that is yet to be made."

"The melody was glorious and proud for sure. It was sublime in fact. But somehow, like most (national) anthems, it was not in anyway comfortable to sing with. My problem in truth was that I had no idea what the "movie it suggested" would be about - nevermind how it could begin to be told. But begin I did, sat by a window in a house on the edge of Loch Earn in March’ 88."

"Thinking about it again, there is no other song that I can think of that is reminiscent in its shape and form - to "Street Fighting Years". And as a puzzle, it nearly got the better of me."

"Recalling now the instrumental music to "Street Fighting Years" as originally presented, the crux of the problem was that I could not tell if what I was listening to was a happy song, or a sad song, a song of victory or a lament? The mood of the tune seemed to contain various experiences, like the same photographic landscape shot in all four seasons and then superimposed on each other. The feel of it reminded me of the expression of duality that the Japanese have and refer to as the "Day Of The Fox’s Marriage." Used to describe those days typically witnessed at end of March/April when it can be both bright and sunny as well as cold and rainy, and all at the same time."

"In the end with "Street Fighting Years" and due to its scope, I decided it would be a song mirroring someone’s inner emotions during a massive end of summer storm. Occurring outside the window and from a position of relative safety, the character of the song in turn is using the display on show as a metaphor for the turbulence often so real within his and all our lives."

"The fact that the track shifted in many different musical parts meant that I had the chance to use a different kind of narrative than that of the stock rock song. One that was primarily detailing the character’s thoughts as they moved through his brain, slowly at first, before then racing to an emotional climax."

"The final part of "Street Fighting Years" hopefully evokes a feeling that is known to anyone who has witnessed true and personal tragedy, and knows not whether to feel victorious having survived, or be swallowed in the sense of loss that has fallen on others either close to us, or those with whom we cannot help but empathise." - Jim, simpleminds.com, 17th January 2010


lyrics
Chased you out of this world, didn't mean to stop,
I turned around and suddenly you were gone.
Like some bird from paradise, the fire and ice,
We turned around and suddenly you where gone, gone, gone.
And now summer burns a hole inside and years are golden once again,
My thoughts return to you my dear young friend.

Oh come this way.
Will you look down this way?
I go down on the street,
Where the wild wind's blowing,
Here comes a hurricane.

I say come down this way.
Will you look down this way?
I need you tonight.
I need you around me.

I'm looking through the windows,
And my mind goes in a whirl,
Well there's a multitude of candles,
Burning in the windows of this world.
I'm looking at the colours,
Checking out the straights,
I'm counting out the numbers,
Will tomorrow never change?

Still I hear you and I love you,
And I'll follow you elsewhere,
And I'll remember this occasion,
I'll remember being aware.

'Cause we've got panic in the evening,
We've got fall-out in the streets,
And I hear you and I follow you,
And I'll call out and I'll say.
That I can hear your sister call out,
And I hear her call your name,
They're calling sweet surrender,
And things won't be the same.
And don't you think that I don't care,
And don't you think that I don't know,
And don't you hear them calling out,
In a place not far from here.

And I hear big wheels are turning,
Some things are not to fear.
They say this is the time and place,
They call street fighting years.

And I love you, I look for you,
And I walk to you, I walk to you.
And I hear big wheels are turning,
Is there no way out of here?
They'll be calling out tomorrow.

discography
Album Version (6:26)
Produced by: Stephen Lipson and Trevor Horn
Engineers: Heff Moraes, Robin Hancock
Assistant Engineers: Danton Supple, Martin Plant

Street Fighting Years Promo 7" Box Set Street Fighting Years Promo MC Box Set Street Fighting Years Promo CD Box Set Street Fighting Years LP Street Fighting Years MC Street Fighting Years CD Street Fighting Years Australian Promo MC Street Fighting Years US Promo MC Street Fighting Years Limited Edition MC Box Set Street Fighting Years Limited Edition CD Box Set Five Album Set Classic Album Selection
Live Version (15th Sep 89) (8:02)
Recorded: Verona, Italy
Producer: Stephen Lipson

Themes Volume Four Themes 18-20 Promo CDR Themes Volume One - Five

Live Version (3rd November 2009) (7:12)
Recorded: Arena, Vienna, Austria
Mixed By Concert Online

Boxed USB Stick Boxed MP3 Player

Live Version (5th November 2009) (7:11)
Recorded: Saschall, Florence, Italy
Mixed By Concert Online

Boxed USB Stick Boxed MP3 Player

Live Version (6th November 2009) (7:13)
Recorded: Neon Concept Club, Ancona, Italy
Mixed By Concert Online

Boxed USB Stick Boxed MP3 Player

Live Version (7th November 2009) (7:08)
Recorded: Atlantico, Rome, Italy
Mixed By Concert Online

Boxed USB Stick Boxed MP3 Player

Live Version (8th November 2009) (7:06)
Recorded: Gran Teatro Di Padova, Padova, Italy
Mixed By Concert Online

Boxed USB Stick Boxed MP3 Player

Live Version (18th November 2009) (6:55)
Recorded: La Riviera, Madrid, Spain
Mixed By Concert Online

Boxed USB Stick Boxed MP3 Player

Live Version (19th November 2009) (6:46)
Recorded: Kursaal, San Sebastian, Spain
Mixed By Concert Online

Boxed USB Stick Boxed MP3 Player

Live Version (22nd November 2009) (7:26)
Recorded: Falconer Theatre, Copenhagen, Denmark
Mixed By Concert Online

Boxed USB Stick Boxed MP3 Player

Live Version (23rd November 2009) (7:04)
Recorded: Solnahallen, Stockholm, Sweden
Mixed By Concert Online

Boxed USB Stick Boxed MP3 Player

Live Version (26th November 2009) (7:24)
Recorded: Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Mixed By Concert Online

Boxed USB Stick Boxed MP3 Player

Live Version (28th November 2009) (6:42)
Recorded: Forest National, Brussels, Belgium
Mixed By Concert Online

Boxed USB Stick Boxed MP3 Player

Live Version (2nd December 2009) (6:52)
Recorded: NEC, Birmingham, UK
Mixed By Concert Online

Boxed USB Stick Boxed MP3 Player Limited Edition Boxed Gold USB Stick

Live Version (29th March 2013) (7:06)
Recorded: Sands Centre, Carlisle, UK
Mixed By Concert Live
Remastered By Derrick Carter

Simple Minds Live Generic CD Simple Minds Live Specific CD




videography
Live Version (15th Sep 89) (7:25)
Recorded: Verona, Italy
Producer: Stephen Lipson

Verona Promo Video Verona Video Seen The Lights - A Visual History Promo DVD Seen The Lights - A Visual History DVD Seen The Lights - Live In Verona Promo DVD Seen The Lights - Live In Verona DVD Gift Pack - Limited Edition 2xCD 1xDVD Gift Pack - 2xCD 1xDVD




downloads
Live Version (3rd November 2009) (7:12)
Recorded: Arena, Vienna, Austria
Mixed By Concert Online

Concert Online Download

Live Version (5th November 2009) (7:11)
Recorded: Saschall, Florence, Italy
Mixed By Concert Online

Concert Online Download

Live Version (6th November 2009) (7:13)
Recorded: Neon Concept Club, Ancona, Italy
Mixed By Concert Online

Concert Online Download

Live Version (7th November 2009) (7:08)
Recorded: Atlantico, Rome, Italy
Mixed By Concert Online

Concert Online Download

Live Version (8th November 2009) (7:06)
Recorded: Gran Teatro Di Padova, Padova, Italy
Mixed By Concert Online

Concert Online Download

Live Version (18th November 2009) (6:55)
Recorded: La Riviera, Madrid, Spain
Mixed By Concert Online

Concert Online Download

Live Version (19th November 2009) (6:46)
Recorded: Kursaal, San Sebastian, Spain
Mixed By Concert Online

Concert Online Download

Live Version (22nd November 2009) (7:26)
Recorded: Falconer Theatre, Copenhagen, Denmark
Mixed By Concert Online

Concert Online Download

Live Version (23rd November 2009) (7:04)
Recorded: Solnahallen, Stockholm, Sweden
Mixed By Concert Online

Concert Online Download

Live Version (26th November 2009) (7:24)
Recorded: Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Mixed By Concert Online

Concert Online Download

Live Version (28th November 2009) (6:42)
Recorded: Forest National, Brussels, Belgium
Mixed By Concert Online

Concert Online Download

Live Version (2nd December 2009) (6:52)
Recorded: NEC, Birmingham, UK
Mixed By Concert Online

Concert Online Download




live history
Street Fighting Years Tour: 1989
Alive And Kicking Tour: 2003
Graffiti Soul Tour: 2009
Greatest Hits +: 2013