STREET FIGHTING YEARS BOX SET
CELEBRATING THE BAND’S FOURTH NUMBER ONE ALBUM
CO-PRODUCED BY TREVOR HORN
INCLUDES EDITS, B-SIDES & REMIXES, A PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED LIVE CONCERT AND A BOOKLET FEATURING NEW INTERVIEWS WITH JIM KERR, CHARLIE BURCHILL, MICK MACNEIL AND TREVOR HORN
FORMATS: 4-CD BOX SET, 2-CD DELUXE, SINGLE CD AND 2-LP
On 6th March, UMC will release a box set of Simple Minds’ 1989 album, Street Fighting Years.
Produced by Trevor Horn (and Stephen Lipson), Street Fighting Years was the band’s fourth number one album in the UK and featured their first UK number one single, Belfast Child.
An artistically ambitious and elegant album, it arrived at a time of personnel changes. It saw the band reduced to a trio of Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill and Mick MacNeil with session musicians playing the bass and most of the drum roles (notably Manu Katché from Peter Gabriel’s band and former Police drummer, Stewart Copeland).
Recorded in Scotland between 1988 and 1989, it was also a stylistic departure from the sound of Simple Minds’ previous album, Once Upon a Time. After 10 years of recording and releasing music, the band had learnt their craft, becoming skilled musicians and songwriters. This resulted in an album with a sense of drama and cinematic in quality.
Having recently turned 30 years of age, and at the end of an incredibly divisive decade in British politics – not to mention global tensions – an outward-looking maturity emerged in frontman Jim Kerr’s lyric writing, which found him confronting major themes of the times.
“I was 30 years old and I wanted to write about Belfast….Apartheid and I wanted to write about the policies of Margret Thatcher. I’m glad I wanted to do that.” Jim Kerr
This is demonstrated on songs that tackle such subjects as Apartheid (Mandela Day, and a cover of Peter Gabriel’s Biko), the on going troubles in Northern Ireland (Belfast Child), knife crime (Street Fighting Years – a very personal lyric about the loss of a Kerr family close friend), as well as the Poll Tax, Berlin Wall and nuclear submarines off the coast of Scotland.
Musically, where Once Upon a Time was influenced by American soul and gospel, Street Fighting Years was a much more atmospheric album, incorporating many styles, including Celtic and folk influences. It was Trevor Horn who recognised a folk quality about the band, especially in Kerr’s voice, and encouraged them to explore new territory.
Standout songs on the album include This Is Your Land, which saw the band fulfil a teenage dream, as it featured one of their heroes and biggest influences – Lou Reed, and Mandela Day. Approached by Jerry Dammers to write a song celebrating Nelson Mandela (who was still imprisoned at that time), Mandela Day was completed in under an hour and recorded in less than a day. It made it’s live debut not long after at the Nelson Mandela 70th birthday tribute at Wembley Stadium, in June 1988.
Street Fighting Years will be released in multiple formats which are all fully endorsed by the band. These include a 4 CD box set including the Verona live show, a 2CD set and single CD versions.
The album was remastered at Abbey Road studios by Andrew Walters and contains the album as well as a bonus disc of B-sides, edits and 12 remixes and a previously unissued Verona show from 1989 round the set off.
The booklet was designed by long time contributor Stuart Crouch and contains sleeve notes by Daryl Easlea who interviewed the band and producer Trevor Horn extensively for the set. They provide a fantastic insight into how the album was recorded and produced.
To celebrate their 40th anniversary, Simple Minds embark on an 11-month world tour in early 2020. Beginning in Europe in February, they tour the UK in April:
14th Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
15th Bournemouth International Centre
17th London The SSE Arena Wembley
18th Leeds First Direct Arena
20th Brighton Centre
22nd Dublin 3 Arena
24th Birmingham Resorts World Arena
25th Glasgow The SSE Hydro Arena
Due to demand extra shows recently announced for August 2020:
13th Aberdeen P&J Live
14th Hull Bonus Arena
15th Newcastle Utilita Arena
21st Nottingham Motorpoint Arena
22nd Liverpool M&S Bank Arena