I was genuinely surprised that a couple of the very nice comments left behind when I posted Speed Your Love To Me mentioned that it was the first time some folk had ever heard that song in its extended version. But then again I do forget that only if you bought the 12″ release at the time, (or have since gotten a second-hand copy), would you really ever get the chance to hear it given it was never put on the album and may not even ever have a had a subsequent CD release.

Maybe it’s the same for many of you with this single from May 1981, which appeared in edited form when included on Sister Feelings Call:-

mp3 : Simple Minds – The American (12″ version)

Once again, the decision to record a near seven minute version (which isn’t far off being double the length of the album version) really pays off. It’s a song which reminds me a lot of Magazine, albeit there’s huge vocal differences between Jim Kerr and Howard Devoto, as the keyboards, guitar, drums and bass lines wouldn’t have been out-of-place on any of the albums of the Manchester-based group. It was maybe no coincidence that Simple Minds had been lured across to Virgin Records just as Magazine had broken up and left the label.

I really had high hopes that The American would provide the band with their breakthrough hit. It was their first single for Virgin and sounded tailor-made for radio with its sing-a-long chorus coming amidst a tune that somehow simultaneously felt futuristic and contemporary.

It was a 12″ that I had on very heavy rotation as I came towards the end of my schooldays and began to dream of what life might be at university in a few months time. I certainly had ambitions of meeting folk who loved music as much as me and I couldn’t wait to get myself along to the multi-storey student union where at least one of the floors was legendary for offering a disco where they played punk/post-punk/new wave and championed bands like Simple Minds. I wasn’t to be disappointed…..unlike Simple Minds and the good folk at Virgin who watched as The American stalled at #59 and neither of the two superb follow-ups – Love Song and Sweat in Bullet – did much better. But their day would of course come.

The b-side was a largely instrumental track that would subsequently be unaltered when it was included on Sister Feelings Call on its release in September 1981;-

mp3 : Simple Minds – League of Nations



  1. With Kaggsy on this one – all time fave Simple Minds tune (although I was never sure if it’s putting down Americans, or any particular Americans). And, in my continued banging on about under-heralded bassists of the day, let’s not forget to mention Derek Forbes!

  2. The thumping bass lines were what made Simple Minds so good in those days – Forbes was never as good in Propoganda and the least said the better about his rejoing Simple Minds for Neopolis!

  3. By the time of Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call (I can’t separate the two – I purchased them as a two for one and they remain one body of work for me) Simple Minds were soaring above so much of the music that was being released. I point to these albums and the stand out tracks like The American as being some of the best examples of Post Punk. The mixture of Charlie Burchill’s crystalline guitar, Mick MacNeil’s keyboards/synths and Derek Forbes muscular bass on the album version take the song soaring above the listener. The martial/motorik drums of Brian McKee come forward on the 12″ version to keep the extended version “in line.”

  4. This is probably their best 12″ ever, together with I travel which also is a great song in it’s original form, and then ever better as 12″. Magnificent!

  5. Used to stare longingly up at the section of the Union St Virgin Megastore wall stocked with Simple Minds 12 inch singles thinking I will get them all one day. I never did but bought all the albums.

    Even though they have sucked for so long, listening to one of these vintage tracks like this one (in extended form for first time) it’s like being transported back to a happy time.

    They are still in this phase my spirit band.

    Thanks for the post, JC. If you want to put up any others you may have……(he asks hopefully)

  6. this was the b side on the American twelve inch for Promised You A Miracle, started my journey of love for this band, btw, yes Speed Your Love To Me is awesome with a furious pace and drum rhythm

  7. Good lord, how I waited for 31 years to finally see Simple Minds in concert where they actually played this amazing number live so that I could chant along with that brilliant chorus while levitating with my good friend Echorich right next to me as we soaked this up like sponges.

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