Monday, October 21, 1985

Simple Minds’ Once Upon a Time released

First posted 7/9/2010; updated 10/9/2020.

Once Upon a Time

Simple Minds

Released: October 21, 1985

Peak: 10 US, 11 UK, 3 CN, 7 AU

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.9 UK, 2.49 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: alternative rock


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

  1. Once Upon a Time
  2. All the Things She Said (3/22/86, 28 US, 9 AR, 9 UK, 65 CN, 46 AU)
  3. Ghost Dancing (11/15/86, 13 UK, 72 AU)
  4. Alive and Kicking (10/12/85, 3 US, 2 AR, 7 UK, 3 CN, 21 AU)
  5. Oh Jungleland
  6. I Wish You Were Here
  7. Sanctify Yourself (12/28/85, 14 US, 3 AR, 10 UK, 17 CN, 46 AU)
  8. Come a Long Way

Total Running Time: 40:12

The Players:

  • Jim Kerr (vocals)
  • Charlie Burchill (guitar)
  • Mick MacNeil (keyboards)
  • John Giblin (bass)
  • Mel Gaynor (drums)
  • Robin clark (backing vocals)


4.048 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)

About the Album:

Simple Minds had been around since 1979, releasing seven albums. They’d found success in the UK, reaching #3 with 1982’s New Gold Dream and #1 with 1984’s Sparkle in the Rain. Those two albums charted in the U.S., but neither cracked the top 60. However, the band’s fortunes changed in America after their chart-topping song “Don’t You Forget About Me” from 1985’s The Breakfast Club soundtrack.

Before the close of the year, the band followed up that success with their seventh studio album, 1985’s Once Upon a Time. The album “captured the heart-wrenching excitement found in bands such as U2.” MW Part of the success was attributable to Jimmy Iovine, who produced the album. He’d previously worked with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, and U2. He pushed for a more guitar-driven sound and for “more energetic vocals” WK from Jim Kerr. The band’s heavy synth-pop beats had relaxed a bit and Charlie Burchill’s charming playing style was most noticeable.” MW “This album was one of their best, most likely leading the pack in the band’s album roster, because it exuded raw energy and solid composition not entirely captured on previous albums.” MW

The “bombastic pop rock sound” WK resulted in a trio of top-40 hits for the band in the U.S.: the “arena-friendly” WK Alive and Kicking (#3), Sanctify Yourself (#14), and All the Things She Said (#28). All three also reached the top 10 in the UK and on the Billboard album rock chart in the U.S.

Notes: A deluxe edition added a second disc of B-sides and rarities, including “Don’t You Forget About Me.”

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