Throwback Thursday! May 18th, 1985

by Gino on May 18, 2017

in Front Page News,Gino and The Magic Morning Show

The #1 Song on May 18th, 1985 was…

Simple Minds – Don’t You (Forget About Me)

  • This was featured in the 1985 movie The Breakfast Club. Directed by John Hughes, it featured many members of the “Brat Pack,” including Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, and Judd Nelson. The song is so associated with The Breakfast Club, that it is often used in movies or TV shows any time they reference the movie, often with a parody of the iconic ending shot where Judd Nelson throws his fist in the air (perhaps the most famous freeze-frame in movie history, although Rocky 2, where Rocky and Apollo are frozen mid-punch, is also up there).
  • Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff wrote this song specifically for The Breakfast Club.
  • Simple Minds had been around for five years and developed a strong following in England when this was released. The song was much more bombastic and radio-friendly than their previous material, which alienated some of their core fans, but gave them a breakthrough hit in the US, where it was by far their biggest hit. It is one of the few Simple Minds songs that they didn’t write themselves.
  • According to Keith Forsey, Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music was his first choice to record this song, but Ferry turned it down. Forsey was also a big fan of simple minds, so he tried to get them to record the song by delivering a cassette demo to the band.

    At the time, Simple Minds was gaining traction in the UK, with with three modest hits from their 1984 album Sparkle in the Rain: “Waterfront,” “Speed Your Love to Me” and “Up on the Catwalk.” In the US, however, they had no luck, in large part because their US record company, A&M, didn’t promote them. An A&R guy at the label named Jordan Harris tried to rectify that by having them record this song (The Breakfast Club soundtrack was on A&M), but the band wanted nothing to with it because:

    1) They didn’t like recording songs they didn’t write.
    2) Jim Kerr didn’t like the lyric (especially the “vanity… insecurity” line).

    So why did the band record it? They simply changed their minds. They met with The Breakfast Club director John Hughes and got a screening of the film, which put the lyric in better context. Forsey visited them in Scotland, and they got on well. While there, he convinced them to give it a go, and they recorded the track in a few hours at a studio in London.

  • Jim Kerr didn’t think this song was up to snuff when he heard the demo, but looking back on it, he’s thrilled with its impact on pop culture. “The song and the film are almost iconic to certain generations, especially in America,” he told us in 2014. “So it’s great when things come together and work so well. It’s been a pleasure to see how much joy that song gives to a lot of people.
  • This got a ridiculous amount of radio play, partly because it was played on both rock and Top 40 stations. It continues to get played on classic rock, modern rock, and even Top 40 radio stations as a solid recurrent with a huge recognition rating – when songs are tested by stations to determine if audiences like them, this consistently does very well, which keeps it on the air.
  • Molly Ringwald released an album of standards in 2013 called Except Sometimes, which featured a cover of this song. Ringwald wanted to pay tribute to John Hughes and integrate her past by covering the song.
  • The song’s “la-la-la” coda is a case of a placeholder becoming the actual lyric, as neither Keith Forsey nor Jim Kerr could think of actual words that made sense.
  • The music video was directed by Daniel Kleinman, who also did the clips for Paula Abdul’s “Knocked Out” and Wang Chung’s “Dance Hall Days.” Oddly, there was no footage from The Breakfast Club in the video, which takes place in a large room filled with the band members and various television monitors. Simple Minds were never huge on MTV, which had moved away from British acts and were more interested in artists like Madonna and Prince. It was radio that made this song huge in the States.

All Song Facts are from SongFacts.com

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