IN WHICH A 12 INCHER IS WAY BETTER THAN THE 7 INCH EFFORT

A short time ago I put together, and subsequently posted, an 80s compilation as a birthday present for my young brother. There were a number of very positive comments about a number of the songs and so I’ll probably turn my attention over the coming weeks to those not previously featured on the blog before.

I was particularly taken by Echorich’s usual astute and sharp observation which on this occasion was to say that ‘Speed Your Love To Me is one of those songs that works SO well opening a set.”

I’ve defended and indeed championed Simple Minds on these page in the past. Love Song was in my 45 45s at 45 rundown and I’ll argue that their body of work from the outset through to New Gold Dream is of the highest quality and among the most innovative of any group of that particular era. My young brother came to the band round the time of New Gold Dream and he has long been a fan of Sparkle In The Rain, released in February 1984 around the time of his 18th birthday, which is why I went to that particular LP on this occasion.

It had been years – at least 10 and probably nearer 15 – since I had listened to any of the songs from that record, one which gave the band their first ever #1 album in the UK. It’s much more a rock record than anything they had done up to that point with much probably down as much to the choice of Steve Lillywhite as producer who had just completed working with U2 and Big Country. There’s a number of tracks on it that I still can’t bring myself to enjoy, not least lead-off single and stadium-rock anthem Waterfront which was a real shock to the system when I first heard it but it was clearly one for the masses as it was very quickly on heavy rotation on our local non-BBC radio station.

Waterfront actually pre-dated the LP by around three months and indeed a second single was released about a month before the LP hit the shops. My first exposure to Speed Your Love To Me was when a  flat mate came in one afternoon with a 12” copy tucked under his arm; he had heard it being played in a city centre record shop while he had been mooching around searching for bargains in the January sales and had been quite taken by it; he had bought it as the shop was selling the 12” version for the same price as the 7” and insisted on the rest of us listening to it.

First impression was that it was nothing like Waterfront; so far so good. Second immediate impression was that Kirsty MacColl had been brought into add her vocal talents to the track; so far even better; Third immediate impression was that the seven minutes plus of the 12” version seemed to enable a fine balancing act of sounding epic in that new rock way the band were pursuing but providing enough breathing space for the keyboards and the more subtle guitar style of Charlie Burchill to be on display. It got a unanimous thumbs up from the four of us.

The single, as was the norm in those days, was flipped over and the b-sides played. The first track was the edited version of the single, a version which sadly didn’t enable any of the subtleties of the 12” version to shine. First impression was that I didn’t like it all that much; it really did feel as if this was one of those instances where a piece of music really did benefit from clever production techniques and being extended beyond that you’d hear on the radio.

I would have loved for the band and the label to have put the 12” mix on the LP but they didn’t, albeit the album version was about 30 seconds longer than the single edit but that’s more down to a longer fade-out than anything else.

I listened again to the album version when thinking about tracks to use on my brother’s mixtape but found myself still disappointed by it 33 years on. However, the extended version still makes me smile at the memory of that first listen and the subsequent dances to it at the student union over the following few weeks:-

mp3 : Simple Minds – Speed Your Love To Me (extended mix)

Here’s the b-sides:-

mp3 : Simple Minds – Speed Your Love To Me (single edit)
mp3 : Simple Minds – Bass Line

What we didn’t know at the time was that the latter of the b-sides (which was and remains rather underwhelming in comparison to earlier instrumental tunes) was in fact an word-less version of a track that would appear on the parent album:-

mp3 : Simple Minds – White Hot Day

Enjoy

7 thoughts on “IN WHICH A 12 INCHER IS WAY BETTER THAN THE 7 INCH EFFORT

  1. You are not wrong JC. Speed Your Love To Me is a brilliant 12″! Your point about it giving room the subtleties of the song is so on target. The album version almost sounds like it comes in on a song already underway. The beauty of the Extended Version is the keyboards and synths of Mick MacNeil.
    I understand your aversion to Waterfront, but here in the States, SM were still just another “New Wave” band that only got play on alternative radio and late night on MTV. As an EARLY adopter of Simple Minds I was a fan from their Punk/Glam start through their visionary European modeled Empires And Dance and the Post Punk precision of their greatest moment, IMO on Sons And Fascination/SIster Feelings Call. They raised their sound to new levels on New Gold Dream and introduced muscle to that sound on Sparkle In The Rain.
    Back to Waterfront – I never thought of it as Stadium Anthem. It is Big Music, but never imagining them at that point in their careers as a Stadium Act it didn’t even cross my mind and thus color my view of the song. After seeing their panto at Live Aid I knew I would never want to see them in any larger setting than I had seen them to that point and never have.
    And my two favorite songs from Sparkle in the rain – Up On The Catwalk and ‘C’ Moon Cry Like A Baby…

  2. I agree with all the preceding comments. I am a huge fan of everything SM from the 2nd album up to and including Sparkle, but had never heard this before. It is a track I like anyway but this extended version is dynamite.

    The album after this though…… that overblown bombastic turd of an album proper broke my heart.

  3. I have all of the singles from Sparkle in the Rain in 12″ form, and I love them all. Steve Lillywhite was brilliant at the extended form during this time period. Loved what he did with all of those Big Country singles in ’83 and ’84 too. Sparkle in the Rain was the end of the line for me, but that goes without saying.

  4. Oh yeah – that’s good. A vast improvement on the album and 7″ versions of a track that’s my least favourite pre-1985 SM single. Still better than anything that followed though…

  5. Oh yes. I recall that the remix 12″ singles from “Sparkle In The Rain” finally started to get dynamic remixes that took the songs further out. “Waterfront” had been tentative, but “Speed Your Love To Me” was really lapel-grabbing stuff. I loved the ambient coda at the end where the band’s next B-side, “A Brass Band In Africa Chimes,” was teased for about a minute. My absolute favorite 12″ remix of 1984 was in fact, their next single; “Up On The Catwalk.” Then it all went pear-shaped for a decade!

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