Saturday, May 18, 1985

Simple Minds hit #1 with “Don’t You Forget About Me”

First posted 1/25/2021.

Don’t You Forget About Me

Simple Minds

Writer(s): Keith Forsey, Steve Schiff (see lyrics here)


Released: February 20, 1985


First Charted: February 23, 1985


Peak: 11 US, 12 CB, 12RR 36 AC, 13 AR, 1 CO, 7 UK, 11 CN, 6 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.6 UK, 0.75 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 228.9 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

The Scottish new wave rock band Simple Minds formed in 1977 and found popularity in the UK where they hit #1 with their 1984 album Sparkle in the Rain. That same year, they landed their fourth top-20 hit in the UK. However, they had yet to dent the United States’ Billboard Hot 100. That changed in 1985 with “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”

The song, featured in the hit movie The Breakfast Club, soared to #1 in the US and gave Simple Minds their first top-10 hit in the UK. It wasn’t written by the band, but by producer Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff, who was a guitarist and songwriter with the Nina Hagen band. Forsey also wrote the #1 hit “Flashdance…What a Feelin’” for the 1983 movie Flashdance and would later write “Shakedown” for Bob Seger, a #1 song from Beverly Hills Cop II. SF Forsey and Schiff’s original demo opens the movie while Simple Minds’ version closes things out. WK

There’s some dispute as to whether the song was written for Simple Minds or for Bryan Ferry. In any event, both said no. Simple Minds thought they should only record material they had written. The song was also rejected by Billy Idol and Cy Curnin of the Fixx. WK The record company suggested Corey Hart, but Forsey didn’t think he was right for the song.

Simple Minds eventually agreed to record the song, although there are varied stories as to why. One version says that Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, persuaded Jim Kerr, the lead singer of the band and her then-husband, after Forsey called her. WK Another account says John Hughes, the director of The Breakfast Club, screened the film for the band. SF Either way, the band still initially thought it would be “a throwaway song on the soundtrack to a forgettable movie.” WK Once they recorded it, however, some of the band members now thought the song had “genuine commercial potential.” WK


Resources and Related Links:

Monday, May 13, 1985

Dire Straits released Brothers in Arms

First posted 3/7/2008; updated 11/24/2020.

Brothers in Arms

Dire Straits


Released: May 13, 1985


Peak: 19 US, 114 UK, 118 CN, 134 AU


Sales (in millions): 9.0 US, 4.15 UK, 32.6 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. So Far Away [5:12] (4/20/85, 17a US, 20 UK, 29 AR, 3 AC)
  2. Money for Nothing (Knopfler/ Sting) [8:25] (6/1/85, 1 US, 1 AR, 4 UK, 1 CN, 4 AU)
  3. Walk of Life [4:12] (6/1/85, 6a US, 6 AR, 4 AC, 2 UK, 7 CN, 11 AU)
  4. Your Latest Trick [6:33] (3/3/86, 26 UK)
  5. Why Worry [8:30]
  6. Ride Across the River [6:58] (1/11/86, 21 AR)
  7. The Man’s Too Strong [4:40]
  8. One World [3:40] (8/24/85, 8 AR)
  9. Brothers in Arms [6:59] (10/26/85, 16 UK, 57 AU)

All songs written by Mark Knopfler unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 55:07


The Players:

  • Mark Knopfler (vocals, guitar)
  • John Illsley (bass, vocals)
  • Alan Clark (keyboards)
  • Guy Fletcher (keybards, vocals)
  • Omar Hakim, Terry Williams (drums)

Rating:

4.225 out of 5.00 (average of 21 ratings)


Quotable: “The first album to sell one million copies in the CD format” – Wikipedia


Awards:

About the Album:

“Dire Straits were fortunate enough to be the right band at the right time with the right product to benefit fro a new music medium.” TB “When the clamour of punk began die down at the beginning of the eighties ex-pub rockers Dire Straits emerged with a lucrative brand of laid-back rock tailor-made for the more mature end of the market and the fledging CD format.” PR At a time when most albums were still recorded on analog equipment, Arms was recorded digitally making it a “must-have record for serious audiophiles.” ZS It was “the first album to sell one million copies in the CD format and to outsell its LP version.” WK “Industry insiders suggested everyone who owned a CD player also owned a copy of this disc.” PR The one downside – due to limitations of the latter’s format, tracks had to be edited to fit.

Brothers in Arms brought the atmospheric, jazz-rock inclinations of Love Over Gold into a pop setting, resulting in a surprise international best-seller.” AMG The album topped the charts in 25 countries. TB One of the keys to their success “was that their music wasn’t too dynamic, nor demanding.” PR “It rocks – but not too much – and it doesn’t scream at you, so millions who would normally never buy a rock album bought it.” TB “Knopfler’s laid-back guitar licks looked back to Clapton, Rory Gallagher, and Martin Barre of Jethro Tull” PR and “his mid-Atlantic drawl reminded older fans of J.J. Cale, Springsteen, and Bob Dylan” PR positioning Knopfler s “an unpretentious Man Of The People.” TB

“Of course, the success of Brothers in Arms was helped considerably by the clever computer-animated video for Money for Nothing.” WK With its “indelible guitar riff,” AMG the “harmonic-popping distant relative of ‘Jumping Jack Flash’” TB and “the album’s liveliest track” TB was a #1 hit. The song grew out of overhearing a “New York appliance salesman's anti-rock-star, anti-MTV rant.” RS Ironically, it became one of the most played videos of all time. “It is the only Dire Straits song on a studio album to not be solely credited to Mark Knopfler. Sting was given a co-writing credit because his vocal hook, ‘I want my MTV,’ is the same melody as The Police’s ‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me.’” WK

What sent the album into the stratosphere was the band’s development on the first half of the record “of their unique brand of arena rock which had evolved in their music since the 1980 album Making Movies.” WK This is best exemplified by Knopfler’s “incisive songwriting and lush guitar riffs on Walk of Life and So Far Away,” RS which did well on the pop and rock charts. The latter “is a catchy up-tempo boogie variation on ‘Sultans of Swing,’” AMG that “was nearly left off the album, but was included after the band out-voted producer Neil Dorfsman.” WK

“The melodies of the bluesy ‘So Far Away’ and the down-tempo, Everly Brothers-style Why Worry were wistful and lovely.” AMG “The jazzy Your Latest TrickAMG is also a standout. Dire Straits had never been so concise or pop-oriented, and it wore well on them.” AMG “The whole album maintains the original Dire Straits’ bluesy and laid back guitar-based sound whilst retaining a more lavish and bombastic production and overall sound.” WK

However, “the second half consists of more folk-influenced material.” WK These “semi-acoustic folk-rock tracks…have an enduring and unassuming appeal.” PRRide Across the River is built on an off-beat rhythm. The song uses immersive Latin American rain forest imagery, accompanied by pan flute and eerie background noises, to allude to the elements of guerilla warfare.” WK The Man’s Too Strong and Brothers in Arms are also “lyrically focused on the guerrilla wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua of the 1980s. The title of the album was inspired by a conversation in which Knopfler’s father remarked, ‘We shouldn’t be at war with our brothers in arms.’” WK That title track “is one of Knopfler’s greatest moments. Refusing to show off, he wrests from the Les Paul something magisterial. Rarely has the electric guitar possessed such dignity.” TB

Brothers in Arms remains one of their most focused and accomplished albums, and in its succinct pop sense, it’s distinctive within their catalog.” AMG It “perfectly evokes its period (great for flashbacks to Miami Vice) with a terrific mix of commercial pop…and musical exploration crafted in an atmosphere of power and mystery.” ZS

Resources and Related Links:

  • Dire Straits’ DMDB Music Maker Encyclopedia entry
  • AMG All Music Guide review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
  • PR Paul Roland (2001). CD Guide to Pop & Rock. B.T. Batsford LTD: London.
  • RS Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
  • TB Thunder Bay (2005). Albums: The Stories Behind 50 Years of Great Recordings. Thunder Bay Press; San Diego, CA. Page 228-9.
  • WK Wikipedia
  • ZS Zagat Survey (2003). Music Guide: 1,000 Top Albums of All Time. Coordinator: Pat Blashill. Music Editor: Holly George-Warren. Editors: Betsy Andrews and Randi Gollin. Zagat Survey, LLC: New York, NY. Page 88.