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