Simple Minds – ‘Celebrate’ UK 7″ and 12″ (Arista ARIST 394 and ARIST 12394, 1981)

Released as the second single from 1980’s ‘Empires and Dance’, the band’s third album on Zoom/Arista records, truth be told Arista appear to have largely given up on the band by this time and it seems to have been a half-hearted push at best to back the single on its release in February 1981. Hell, there seems to have been a long-running fault-line between Zoom and Arista stretching back to 1979, with music press reports of label boss Bruce Findlay looking to ditch Arista and license with another major as early as October 1979. This particular single was released near enough forty years ago, on Friday 20 February 1981. Even at the time of release, music press gossip had them down as soon to sign with either Virgin or Polydor. Within a few months they would have their first single release on Virgin records, the abrasive funk clatter of ‘The American’, and the slow but steady rise in popularity would commence. How quickly it all moved back then jumping labels and swiftly back with new material. (See Japan and their own toot de suite move from Ariola Hansa to Virgin…)

Simple Minds - 'Celebrate' UK 7" front cover design

^Simple Minds – ‘Celebrate’ UK 7″ front cover design

Regardless of that back story… With the original album version coming in at 5’03” in length, the singles feature different mixes on both 7″ and 12″. First off, the 7″ buzzcut treatment.

7″ single

A radically shorter, sub-three minute edit of ‘Celebrate’ on the A side, clocking in around 2’53”. The editing scissors are out and with some vigour, starting with the intro, so that Mick MacNeil’s lead synth melody line enters earlier in proceedings and it all moves to the chorus that bit quicker. After the second verse and second run through the chorus this edit cuts out the first guitar/synth instrumental workout and the third verse altogether and in effect jump cuts to the 4’35” point of the album mix with a swift fade out during that second guitar/synth instrumental workout. If this length of edit does it for you and you are looking for it on CD then it can be found on various Simple Minds compilations, such as ‘ Celebrate (The Greatest Hits)’ from 2013 and most recently ’40: The Best Of 1979-2019′, from 2019.

Simple Minds - 'Celebrate' UK 7" rear cover design

^Simple Minds – ‘Celebrate’ UK 7″ rear cover design

The 7″ B side featured a welcome return for the criminally ignored ‘Changeling’, though on this occasion it was the full length album version (4’12”) that was used, as opposed to the lean-and-mean 7″ single edit (3’26”) that had been crafted for its original outing on its own single release a year earlier.

Simple Minds - Celebrate UK 7" label side A

^ Simple Minds – ‘Celebrate’ UK 7″ label side A

The sleeve design for the 7″ single features a photo by Brian Griffin, which would many years later be reprinted in his book ‘POP’, which I cannot recommend highly enough – so many iconic images from the 1980s era in particular are to be found in there.

Simple Minds - Celebrate UK 7" label side B

^ Simple Minds – ‘Celebrate’ UK 7″ label side B

12″ single

The 12″ variant of the single did not come with the benefit of the picture sleeve design, instead packaged up in a standard issue black ‘Arista 12″ Single’ generic company sleeve, some copies with an additional hype sticker added. The 12″ included a new, extended mix of the track, allowed time to slowly unfold and breathe, at 6’44” in duration. (The label lists the time as 5’39”, which is incorrect.) I like this mix a lot, particularly the latter instrumental stage where it gets good and weird with the echo effects and the rhythm.

Simple Minds - 'Celebrate' UK 12"

^ Simple Minds – ‘Celebrate’ UK 12″

Side two of the 12″ single chose to recycle another earlier single as well as ‘Changeling’ – in this case, ‘I Travel’, the first single that had been peeled off of ‘Empires And Dance’ – also included here in its album form – though for this side of the 12″ both ‘Changeling’ (listed on the label as 4’10”) and ‘I Travel’ (listed on the label as 3’47”) segue into each other to form an impressive early Simple Minds dance-floor double punch. This particular combination has never been issued on CD.

Simple Minds - 'Celebrate' UK 12" label side A

^ Simple Minds – ‘Celebrate’ UK 12″ label side A

Simple Minds - 'Celebrate' UK 12" label side B

^ Simple Minds – ‘Celebrate’ UK 12″ label side B

Despite the obvious opportunity to include this extended mix as part of the ‘Themes’ CD single re-issues in the early 1990s, ‘Theme 1’ chose to go with the album mix instead. It would not be until the ‘X5’ CD boxed set in 2012 that the extended mix would be issued on CD, as a bonus track on the ‘Empires And Dance’ disc.

Simple Minds 'Empires and Dance' 'X5' CD Box Set edition - card sleeve front

^ Simple Minds ‘Empires and Dance’ ‘X5’ CD Box Set edition – card sleeve front

Simple Minds 'Empires and Dance' 'X5' CD Box Set edition - disc label

^ Simple Minds ‘Empires and Dance’ ‘X5’ CD Box Set edition – disc label

Other appearances

As well as live versions, which is outside the scope of this piece, ‘Celebrate’ was included in a demo recording version on the ‘Silver Box’ 5xCD boxed set in 2004. Although noticeably more basic a recording, the arrangement is largely already though lacks much of Mick MacNeil’s keyboards, which haven’t developed the familiar lead melody line and focus more on the background atmospherics – some nice guitar textures from Charlie Burchill though.

Simple Minds 'Silver Box' CD box set front cover design

^ Simple Minds ‘Silver Box’ CD box set front cover design

Simple Minds 'Silver Box' CD box set discs 1 and 2

^ Simple Minds ‘Silver Box’ CD box set discs 1 and 2

8 Responses to “Simple Minds – ‘Celebrate’ UK 7″ and 12″ (Arista ARIST 394 and ARIST 12394, 1981)”

  1. A friend of mine gave me the 7″ in the 80s but I mail ordered the 12″ when I was getting very serious about the Simple Minds collection some 20 years ago. I was astounded by the dubby 12″ A-side but shellshocked by he segued B-side, which there was nary a mention on the primordial web [or my printed materials] of at the time! I recently digitized/denoised my 7″ A-side for a personal boxed set of SM rarities from 1978-1984, but the “Celebrate” 7″ was a little far gone with surface noise when I played it for the 7″ mix. So I undertook the pleasant task of taking the CD rip of the track and editing it down to match the cuts on the vinyl myself. Something I’ve also done with JAPAN and Kraftwerk material for those hard to get 7″ mixes in top quality.

  2. admin says:

    I’ve been doing the same thing with Kraftwerk and Japan, funnily enough. In the case of Kraftwerk, the UK 7” B side remix of ‘Numbers’ was a surprisingly easy one to slice and dice from the original album cuts of that and ‘Computer World 2’. (A quandary about honouring the re-pitching faster or leave as is – just feels wrong that it is re-pitched.) Next one to tackle will be the promo-only 7” edit of the original 1978 ‘The Robots’. A particularly elusive one is Japan’s ‘Art of Parties’ 7” edit, which has a sneaky bit of guitar soloing on the outro fade, which isn’t present on the CD available long version. Still, I am merely dabbling around the edges in all these things by comparison to the meticulous BSOG efforts of the Monk!

  3. Actually, “Art of Parties” 7″ edit was taken from my recording of the 12″ single from vinyl. As you’re aware, John Punter produced the single version released early on before the album came out, as opposed to the Steve Nye re-recording for the album. It was lots of laborious editing, but the 7″ usually sounds terrible compared to a 12″.

    In many cases, I have the 7″ single, which I bought used years later and they usually sound trashed. Never mind the higher quality sound on a 12″. 7″ers just seem to get worse for wear. The first 30 seconds usually has lots of surface noise! Probably down to their sleeves being thin on protection while many 12″ singles are packaged like an LP with heavy jacket and inner sleeve. The first thing I do when obtaining a 7″ is to put the disc in a heavy kraft paper sleeve and put the disc and cover into a bag, rotated 90 degrees to hold off any dust.

    The Kraftwerk edit I did was after getting the UK 7″ and replicating the 2:39 edit from a CD rip of “Autobahn.” That was my first 7″ edit replication and it’s tedium, but also enjoyable work, if that makes any sense! It’s a zen like endeavor that calms me down, though I once tried to replicate the Visage “Fade To Grey: The Singles Collection Dance Mix Album” from its component parts. That was getting in over my head! In the end, I lived with my LP rip, though the EQ jumps on that I originally put down to the groove crammed, ancient vinyl in VG condition. Thank goodness for Rubellan Remasters CD of that one. It proved that the EQ zaniness was in fact, on the original master tape. I was getting worked up over nothing!

  4. admin says:

    The 7″ singles and quality – probably a whole article there on its own – straight off the top of my head, I’ve always found anything on PolyGram labels with moulded labels much more prone to background noise – which made me super keen to track down, for example, Siouxsie and the Banshees Wonderland label era releases with the early paper label pressings rather than moulded… That edit and clean-up for Visage does sound well above the call of duty!

  5. Polygram pressings, whether PRS in the UK or MPO in France were often problematic. EVERY UK Polydor Fiction release I have by The Passions are unplayable due to the noise! My friend bought UK Chrysalis injection molded 7″ers by Ultravox that were so thin they would break in their sleeves untouched!

  6. admin says:

    Never had that problem with the Chrysalis Ultravox 7” singles – but that was another example of tracking down the early pressing clear vinyl/paper label editions for better quality. First one of those I knew was ‘Passing Strangers’ – was a nice surprise to take the record out the bag post-purchase and find it see-through. Wasn’t until a few years later that I even found out that ‘Sleepwalk’ has also been available on clear.

  7. Paul Rymer says:

    Japan’s Art Of Parties 7″ version IS available on CD, but only on the Belgian release Dance – The Alternative Volume 2 (Universal 541.573-2). It’s a great compilation with several hard-to-find tracks.

  8. admin says:

    Yes indeed – been keeping an eye out for a reasonably priced copy for a while, but no luck so far – I wonder if bands have secret allies who know know their stuff when it comes to mixes yet to appear on CD and are able to source them for obscure compilations. In that respect, Japan have scored with the likes of single/promo edits of ‘Nightporter’ and single edit of ‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’, for example.

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