Oh my – this was before Simple Minds became a bloated stadium band. They were humble electro folk when ‘I Travel’ was released and I picked up my single in Small Wonder Records in Walthamstow. Might be wrong, but I thought Mr Kerr once said he would never play monster venues – but anyway, he did and his bank manager has been thanking him ever since.
So – an innocent and very young Simple Minds.
You know the kind of movie you’re ashamed to say you like and for some reason need to watch on DVD with the curtains drawn every three or four years – like Sliver or 13th Warrior for example. Well, Times Square also fits the bill. I mean, the story line is so arch that it’s hard to imagine how this got past the pitch stage.
Basically, two girls from a loony bin escape to New York though they are very different – one tomboy and one not – they form a punk band and start to enjoy success until the powers that be close in on them.
Bonkers film about bonkers people. But the soundtrack, which I remember having at the time, included some classics including the lovely Patti Smith singing ‘Pissing in the River’ – which I adored. Robert Stigwood was the brains behind it, having produced Saturday Night Fever which might explain the rather incongruous presence of a Bee Gees track in what’s otherwise a punk/new wave soundtrack for the movie.
A merger made in hell
Who could forget the spring of 1980 – May to be exact – when prog rockers Yes announced that they were to merge with electro-poppers, Buggles. Geoff Downes would take over Rick Wakeman’s role on keyboards while Trevor Horn would be lead vocalist instead of Jon Anderson.
I saw this musical calamity at Hammersmith Odeon, as the venue was called in 1980, and from the start – the mood in the audience was ugly as hell. The lights went up and the boys waved – goodbye might have been an idea.
I’ve never been to a gig where people shouted “Bring back Rick Wakeman!” but this was the one. Then my poor ears had to endure Trevor Horn struggling manfully – or not so manfully – to reach the falsetto highs of Jon Anderson.
The ‘Drama’ album wasn’t that bad. Tempus Fugit had a good bass line. But little wonder that when Anderson re-joined the band he didn’t perform the numbers from that LP.
The only good thing about this whole episode was that it finally killed off any warm residual feelings I had towards prog rock. Suddenly, they really were the sad and tragic dinosaurs that the NME had warned us they were since the dawn of punk.