Number Ones: #105


  • SIMPLE MINDS Promised You A Miracle (Virgin)
  • Week Ending 4th July 1987
  • 1 Week At #1


Here’s another Pointless-style piece of pointless trivia to do with the early years of my Top 40 Chart; which Simple Minds single was their first to reach #1?

When you think of all the contenders – Waterfront, Alive & Kicking, Don’t You (Forget About Me), Sanctify Yourself, Speed Your Love To Me, All The Things She Said, Up On The Catwalk – it’s downright bizarre that none of these are the answer to that particular question. No, in fact it was a Live version of an old (albeit seminal) hit, released to help promote a Live Double Album of bombastic, fantastic stadium pomp-rock.

These were the decisions I made, and I am bound by them!

Live In The City Of Light was the crowning artefact of Simple Minds’ admission into the big league of the major players; the bands who embraced grand gestures in even larger stadiums across the globe. A transformation that began with 1984’s Sparkle In The Rain and really took off with 1985’s Once Upon A Time, reached a kind of zenith by the end of the World Tour to promote the latter opus. The Live album captured that phase of their career, while offering clues as to where they, and their sound, might be headed next.

The majority of Live In The City Of Light epitomised all the cliches of how bombast and a lack of subtlety had robbed Simple Minds’ music of the dreamy, ethereal magic and lyrically opaque ruminations that made New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) one of the 1980s’ touchstone releases for a lot of people, and characterised most of their work up to 1985. Yet it packed a mean punch (rumours abound that it was significantly enhanced during “post-production” in the studio), and only an ill-advised, cack-handed medley of Dance To The Music and Sun City spoiled the show.

Promised You A Miracle was given extra testosterone, and a whacking great drum kit, to bring into line with the later Once Upon A Time material. But it proved more successful than expected, thanks to the elongated coda which brought to mind that old “shimmering shards of sepulchral majesty” chestnut; a gorgeous, chiming comedown from the heady rush of the chorus, replete with synth strings and Jim Kerr discovering the “whisper” vocal style he’d favour on the band’s subsequent albums.

In the space of four minutes, then, it gave us the past, present and future of Simple Minds circa 1987.




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