- Once Upon a Time (Simple Minds album)
Once Upon a Time Studio album by Simple Minds Released October 21, 1985 Genre Rock Length 40:12 (41:16 on the 2005 DVD-Audio) Label Virgin- V 2364(ROW)
Producer Jimmy Iovine and Bob Clearmountain (additionally, Roland Prent on the 2005 DVD-Audio) Simple Minds chronology Sparkle in the Rain
Once Upon a Time
Live in the City of Light
Alternative coverAlternative coverUK picture disc cover Professional ratings Review scores Source Rating Allmusic  Robert Christgau (B-) Rolling Stone (positive) Spin (unfavourable)
Although already successful in their native UK and Europe, the band had also now become popular in the US, mainly due to the Keith Forsey-penned "Don't You (Forget About Me)" which appeared on The Breakfast Club soundtrack and had become a no.1 hit there. However, the band deliberately left the track off the album due to their reluctance to record it. Four singles were taken from the album; "Alive and Kicking" (UK #7, US #3), "All the Things She Said" (UK #9, US #28), "Sanctify Yourself" (UK #10, US #14), and "Ghost Dancing" (UK #13). The album topped the UK charts, and peaked at no.10 on the US charts.
The album was available with two covers upon its original LP release. The alternate cover uses the back image for the front and vice versa. It also moves the Simple Minds logo to the right of the cover. The album cover was standardised for the original CD release and this version has since been used for the various reissues of the album. There was also a limited pic disc LP.
Virgin reissued the album as a remastered edition in 2002 (cardboard vinyl replica edition) and early 2003 (jewel-case).
Virgin reissued the album on SACD in 2003.
2005 DVD-Audio version
2005 saw yet another reissue of the album. This time Virgin released a DVD-Audio version (actually, the disc bears a DVD-Audio/Video logo), which is notable for being a completely remixed album. All the tracks were remixed in 5.1 surround sound, and additionally, a downmixed 2.0 stereo version was created for compatibility with non-surround DVD-Audio set-ups.
The listener has a choice of playing the album from the following audio streams:
- DVD-A 5.1 surround - essentially, a discrete six-channel 24-bit linear PCM stream sampled at 96 kHz (this stream may not be compatible with DVD-Video equipment),
- DTS 5.1 surround - a 24-bit DTS stream sampled at 96 kHz (this stream may not be compatible with some DVD-Video equipment),
- PCM 2.0 stereo - a linear PCM stereo stream (presumably included for compliance with the DVD-Video format).
Although the sleeve describes the 2.0 stereo stream as being a 48 kHz 16-bit PCM (which would make the disc compatible with mandatory audio requirements for DVD-Video discs), the stream itself turns out to be a 96 kHz 24-bit PCM, thus making the disc unplayable on all the DVD-Video equipment that cannot play 96 kHz 24-bit DTS (some older players would only accept a 48 kHz format) or is not DVD-Audio compliant (for the 96 kHz 24-bit PCM streams). Some DVD-Video players will only play the 2.0 stereo stream, but with distorted sound, and at wrong speed (if taking the 96/24 stream to be 48/16).
The remixed version of the album was mixed and produced by Roland Prent in 96/24 PCM.
The tracks on the remixed album differ in length in comparison to the original version. In most cases they are longer than in the original mix.
The stereo mix on the new version is noticeably different from the original one, not just in terms of length. Different takes of particular tracks may have been used for their new mixes. The bass seems slightly more prominent, while the drums seem just the opposite. Regrettably, the new stereo mix, despite being presented in a 24-bit format, which technically gives greater dynamic range than the CD-Audio, appears less dynamic than the old mix issued on the 2002/2003 remastered CD. Aggressive level compression seems to have been applied (especially to the drum tracks), greatly diminishing the pleasure of listening to the new mix. The above criticism is less apparent in the surround mix, where the overall loudness is distributed over more channels.
All the tracks on the remixed album contain material that has frequencies above the CD-Audio cut-off frequency, reaching beyond 30 kHz (a tribute to the original analogue multitrack tapes, and to the producers).
All tracks written by Simple Minds.
- "Once Upon a Time" – 5:44
- "All the Things She Said" – 4:16
- "Ghost Dancing" – 4:46
- "Alive and Kicking" – 5:25
- "Oh Jungleland" – 5:12
- "I Wish You Were Here" – 4:42
- "Sanctify Yourself" – 4:57
- "Come a Long Way" – 5:09
- "Once Upon a Time" – 6:19
- "All the Things She Said" – 4:22
- "Ghost Dancing" – 4:45
- "Alive and Kicking" – 5:14
- "Oh Jungleland" – 5:24
- "I Wish You Were Here" – 4:45
- "Sanctify Yourself" – 5:00
- "Come a Long Way" – 5:23
- Jim Kerr – vocals
- Charlie Burchill – guitar
- Michael MacNeil – piano, synthesizer
- Mel Gaynor – drums, vocals
- John Giblin – bass
- Carlos Alomar – backing vocals
- Michael Been of The Call – backing vocals
- Robin Clark – vocals
- Sue Hadjopoulos – percussion
- Frank Simms and George Simms of The Simms Brothers Band – backing vocals
- "Alive and Kicking" (20 September 1985 / VS817) - #7 in the UK / #3 in the USA
- "Sanctify Yourself" (27 January 1986 / VS830) - #10 in the UK / #14 in the USA
- "All the Things She Said" (19 May 1986 / VS860) - #9 in the UK / #28 in the USA
- "Ghost Dancing" (10 November 1986 / VS907) - #13 in the UK
Year Chart Position 1985 The Billboard 200 10 UK Charts 1
Year Song Chart Position 1985 "Alive and Kicking" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 2 1986 "All the Things She Said" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 9 "Sanctify Yourself" Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 3
Organization Level Date RIAA – USA Gold January 31, 1986 BPI – United Kingdom 4 x Platinum 1986
Art and promotions
- The alternative cover art for the UK LP was created by simply swapping the artwork on the front and back of the album.
- A collectable picture disc LP was also produced. Housed in a luxury gatefold die-cut sleeve, the record featured the mottled gold effect of the sleeve. A unique lyrics sheet was also packaged in the gatefold.
- A magnetic jigsaw puzzle was produced by Virgin Records to promote the album. This is one of the most sought after Simple Minds collectables.
The Love Songs by George Benson
UK number one album
November 2, 1985 – November 8, 1985
The Love Songs by George Benson
Simple Minds AlbumLife in a Day · Real to Real Cacophony · Empires and Dance · Sons and Fascination · Sister Feelings Call · New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84) · Sparkle in the Rain · Once Upon a Time · Street Fighting Years · Real Life · Good News from the Next World · Neapolis · Our Secrets Are the Same · Neon Lights · Cry · Black & White 050505 · Graffiti Soul Live albums Compilations Themes seriesThemes - Volume 1: March 79 - April 82 · Themes - Volume 2: August 82 - April 85 · Themes - Volume 3: September 85 - June 87 · Themes – Volume 4: February 89–May 90 · Themes – Volume 5: March 91–September 92 Related articlesDiscography · Lostboy! AKA Jim Kerr
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