THE MONDAY MORNING HI-QUALITY VINYL RIP : Part Twenty Two : THE AMERICAN

Well, it is nearest Monday to the 4th of July.

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

The band’s official website advises that The American was written in a back of a van while driving through the East Coast of America in March 1981 and was first played live during the same tour. It was inspired by the bright colours of an exhibition of modern American art that Jim Kerr had visited.

It has a fairly abstract lyric:-

Here comes the shake,
The speed-decade wake.
I see you wake,
Shake,
Fit on those overalls,
What do you know about this world anyway?

I see a man,
With an airfield plan.
I caught a boy fall out of the sky.
What do you know about this world anyway?

Ameri-Ameri-Ameri-Ameri-Amer-American,
In collective fame.
Ameri-Ameri-Ameri-Ameri-Amer-American,
Nassau club day.
Ameri-Ameri-Ameri-Ameri-Amer-American,
Across a curved earth,
In collective fame.
Ameri-Ameri-Ameri-Ameri-Amer-American,
The eventful work-outs,
Nassau club days.

Here comes the flag,
I’m walking in the black.

Every time you touch this place,
It feels like sin.
Every time the handshake starts,
The face draws thin.
What do you know about this world anyway?

Here comes the sun,
The american sun,
In here the sun shines so bright,
Eyes blind.
What do you know about this world anyway?

Ameri-Ameri-Ameri-Ameri-Amer-American,
The eventful workouts,
Nassau club days.

Here comes the flag.
Hand-shake.
This world…..

The 12″ version really gives space to Derek Forbes on bass and Mick MacNeil on keyboards to demonstrate their talents, and yet the tune was largely written by guitarist Charlie Burchill. It flopped to #59 on its release in May 1981, but at that point in time was the band’s most successful single.

JC

10 thoughts on “THE MONDAY MORNING HI-QUALITY VINYL RIP : Part Twenty Two : THE AMERICAN

  1. The only real remaining question I have about early Simple Minds’ brilliance is whether their absolute peak was on Empires, Sons/Sister or New Gold Dream.

  2. I remember hearing it on Annie Nightingales 7pm show (the homework show, it was called in my house), and thought the beginning was very Cocteau Twins. Next weekend went out and bought Sons.. with Sister… as the free LP and got into the Minds like that. Still prefer some of Sisters to Sons

  3. Superb song- and I came to appreciate it very late. The lyrics are indeed abstract and impressionistic. The way he mangles the word ‘ameri- can’ is great.

  4. An incredible run of singles from this period. Sweat In Bullet was the first Simple Minds 12″ that I bought, and I worked back from there. Of the two, this is the better extended version and Steve Hillage really brought a lot to the table, production-wise. A bargain at £1.15, back in the day!

    A bit like Conrad, I gravitate between Sisters… and Sons… as my favourite of the pair, but they’re both excellent.

  5. I waited 31 years to hear this song live. It was incredible. I had been waiting to sing that chorus live for half a lifetime. What I would not give to have Kerr once more dip into such lyrical abstraction, but those days are gone. At least he pays fealty to this period now. After the fat complacency of the arena era, which is thankfully behind them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.