Thursday, December 31, 2015

don't you (forget about me)

Simple Minds worked through their troubles and doubts to achieve their greatest success with the adolescent angst of this artful anamnesis.   The Scottish group had developed over a half dozen albums (Life in a Day  and  Real to Real Cacophony in 1979,  Empires and Dance in 1980,  Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call in 1981,  New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84) in 1982,  and  Sparkle in the Rain in 1984) from post punk  to experimental art rock to electronic dance to new wave with increasing visibility and sales in Europe and Australia; but they had failed to break through in the United States.  

Lead singer Jim Kerr says the band was at "a crossroads. There's loads of reasons why, but you just can't compare 1981 to the age of MTV. The game had changed and so had we. Once we'd gone to America there was a sense of: 'You know what, why don't we just break it here? Why can't we?'"

The opportunity afforded itself with a song written by producer Keith Forsey and arranger Steve Schiff, who had worked together on Nina Hagen's Angstlos / Fearless album.   Forsey had been the drummer on Donna Summer's  Bad Girls, had produced Billy Idol's first two albums, and  co-wrote the smash hit "Flashdance... What a Feeling".   Cy Curnin, Bryan Ferry, and Billy Idol were all approached to record "Don't You (Forget About Me)" for the soundtrack to John Hughes' coming-of-age film The Breakfast Club; but they all refused.  Then Schiff suggested Simple Minds.  

Kerr reveals:   "We were not [keen to record it]. It was presented in the wrong fashion. This cassette came our way. The song wasn't bad. It didn't resemble in any way the record that you know, but the melody was there, the words were there. It wasn't bad. But I've got to be honest, it didn't feel up to scratch with what we were working on of our own stuff ... So we turned it down a couple of times, and they kept coming back at us, the record company, the film company. And then once we met both the producer, Keith Forsey, and the director, John Hughes, and spoke to them, we then understood the context of it and were a lot more free to the idea of doing it ... The big bad record company - were saying, 'You don't understand, this is going to be the movie of a generation, and he's the Zeitgeist and all that'. We were like, 'Really?'...It wasn't that even they cajoled us, because we were sticking to our ground. But the fellow who produced the song, Keith Forsey, he came up to Glasgow and said, 'I know you're not going to do it, but can I hang out, because I'm a fan of the band, and maybe we'll work together in the future?'...We said sure - we were working, he said, 'Let me hang out for a week'. We liked Keith more than we liked his song. You know when you like someone and you're in the pub...He was very clever. He said, 'Why don't we do it... if it's good, great, if it's not, it'll get the record company off your back'. So we did in a drafty studio in an afternoon, and thank God we did."

"Don't You (Forget About Me)" became an international smash hit going to number seven in the UK;  six in Australia; four in Germany;  three in Ireland and New Zealand;  two in Belgium and Italy; and number one in Canada, the Netherlands, and the US.    The song was not included on their album Once Upon a Time released later that year, and, by that time, bassist Derek Forbes had left the band; but the momentum from their hit single made it the best selling release of their career.   The flip side was that they were accused of selling out by some fans; but they will forever be tied to John Hughes' iconic film.

Kerr considers:  "I'd hate to seem begrudging of success, but at the same time I'd like to be honest enough to say maybe we shouldn't have cashed in all the chips. It's a bit overwhelming when your band is no longer your own, you become an industry within an industry, but I'm very wary of going 'poor us'. C'mon, it's what you dream of. We wanted to be a great band and take it around the world, that's still what we work for ... I've got to say that ["Don't You (Forget About Me)"] fit beautifully [with the movie]. I don't know if it was coincidence or what, but you've got to say that it really worked. I mean, the song and the film are almost iconic to certain generations, especially in America. So it's great when things come together and work so well. It's been a pleasure to see how much joy that song gives to a lot of people ... But musically I think when you hear it coming on the radio, I think we put our Simple Minds heart into it. It'll never be one of ours, but in a way it's a song that belongs to everybody now. It's not bad to have one of them either."

Don't You (Forget About Me)

Hey, hey, hey ,hey

Won't you come see about me?
I'll be alone, dancing you know it baby

Tell me your troubles and doubts
Giving me everything inside and out and
Love's strange so real in the dark
Think of the tender things that we were working on

Slow change may pull us apart
When the light gets into your heart, baby

Don't You Forget About Me
Don't Don't Don't Don't
Don't You Forget About Me

Will you stand above me?
Look my way, never love me
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down

Will you recognise me?
Call my name or walk on by
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down, down

Hey, hey, hey, hey

Don't you try to pretend
It's my feeling we'll win in the end
I won't harm you or touch your defenses
Vanity insecurity

Don't you forget about me
I'll be alone, dancing you know it baby
Going to take you apart
I'll put us back together at heart, baby

Don't You Forget About Me
Don't Don't Don't Don't
Don't You Forget About Me

As you walk on by
Will you call my name?
As you walk on by
Will you call my name?
When you walk away

Or will you walk away?
Will you walk on by?
Come on, call my name
Will you call my name?

I say
la la la la
la la la la
la la la la la la la la la la

extended remix

Live Aid in Philadelphia with new bassist John Giblin

The Breakfast Club 

four minutes


full soundtrack

1. Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds
2. Waiting – E.G. Daily
3. Fire in the Twilight – Wang Chung
4. I'm the Dude (instrumental) – Keith Forsey
5. Heart Too Hot to Hold – Jesse Johnson & Stephanie Spruill
6. Dream Montage (instrumental) – Gary Chang
7. We Are Not Alone – Karla DeVito
8. Reggae (instrumental) – Keith Forsey
9. Didn't I Tell You? – Joyce Kennedy
10. Love Theme (instrumental) – Keith Forsey

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