Simple Minds - New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)

EricEric USA
edited December 2022 in Year-1982


ARTIST: Simple Minds
ALBUM: New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
LABEL: Virgin
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2003, Virgin, SIMCD 7243 813171 29


LINEUP: Jim Kerr - lead vocals * Charlie Burchill - guitars, effects * Michael MacNeil - keyboards, effects * Derek Forbes - bass

Additional Musicians: Mike Ogletree, Mel Gaynor, Kenny Hyslop - drums * Herbie Hancock - synthesizer

TRACK LISTING: 01 Someone Somewhere In Summertime * 02 Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel * 03 Promised You A Miracle * 04 Big Sleep * 05 Somebody Up There Likes You * 06 New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) * 07 Glittering Prize * 08 Hunter And The Hunted * 09 King Is White And In The Crowd


Mention Simple Minds and usually the smash 'Don't You (Forget About Me)' from the iconic 1985 film 'The Breakfast Club' comes to mind and while the boys from Glasgow later became stadia-rock kings nearly on par with U2, it's their early output that holds the most interest for the progressive minded.

That's right, prog and refreshingly unlike so many of their post-punk contemporaries, Simple Minds never bothered to hide their influences often mentioning in early interviews much to the chagrin of punk loving journalists, an undying love for Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator and a host of supposed dinosaurs.

And it showed musically from their 1979 art rocking Joy Division meets Roxy Music debut 'Life In A Day' to the avant-pop of 'Real to Real Cacophony' and the krautrock-ish 'Empires And Dance'.

Without question Jim Kerr and his band mates were no frantic cookie-cutter new wave outfit, but a thoughtful, artful band that naturally drew the attention of their idol Peter Gabriel who chose the band to support him on his 1980 tour.

The Songs

The follow-up 'New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)' was and is Simple Minds crowning glory, a neo prog tour-de-force right down to the shimmering byzantine influenced sleeve art.

At the time many long-time fans dismissed the album as a sell-out although the transition to pop was an enormous success in both the UK and Europe and while North America lagged behind, the band received triumphant accolades from the CCM press for its positive lyrics and Christian symbolism.

This reviewer invested a lot of time with the music based on a tip from a savvy record shop clerk, eventually wearing out both cassette and LP formats before the first CD issue and as one of my favourite albums of the decade, I'm still astounded by its sonic quality and grandeur thanks in large part to producer Peter Walsh previously responsible for cutting edge albums from Heaven 17 and China Crisis.

The chiming guitars of 'Someone Somewhere In Summertime' and pulsating bass of 'Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel' play to the band's melodic strengths and no more so than on 'Promised You A Miracle' which was the breakout hit and a biggie on college radio on this side of the pond.

Returning to their prog roots with the exquisite instrumental 'Somebody Up There Likes You' sounds very much like the work of Group 87 although tapping into the wellspring of golden pop with the celebratory title track and 'The Glittering Prize', the second of three singles and another big hit, finds the band in their songwriting fulcrum.

When the final notes of the percussive 'King Is White And In The Crowd' disappear, never in my opinion did Simple Minds sound as vibrant and confident as on this career-defining forty six minutes.

In Summary

Featuring a trio of drummers including Mike Ogletree from art rockers Cafe Jacques, the band finally decided on Mel Gaynor who played on the majority of the record and has carried on with Simple Minds ever since.

As the '80s wore on the band grew in stature and popularity, second only to U2 in Soccer stadium box office although for my money their studio albums became progressively weaker featuring more gospel and soul than I care for as well as a political activism that while well-intended, seemed to overwhelm their recorded output and image.

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