Belfast Child

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Belfast Child / Ballad of the Streets"
Single by Simple Minds
from the album Street Fighting Years
B-side "Mandela Day"
"Biko"
Released 6 February 1989 (1989-02-06)
Format 5" CD, 3" CD, cassette, 7" vinyl
Genre Alternative rock, Irish folk, world
Length 6:39
Label Virgin
Writer(s) Music: traditional
Lyrics: Simple Minds
Producer(s) Trevor Horn,
Stephen Lipson
Simple Minds singles chronology
"Don't You (Forget About Me)"
(Reissue)
(1988)
"Belfast Child"
(1989)
"This Is Your Land"
(1989)

"Belfast Child" is a song by Simple Minds, first released as the lead track on the "Ballad of the Streets" EP on 6 February 1989.[1] The EP also included "Mandela Day" (originally its B-side). The record reached number 1 on the UK Singles Chart.[2]

Style and influence[edit]

The song uses the music from the Irish folk song "She Moved Through the Fair", but has completely different words.

Jim Kerr recalled in 1000 UK Number 1 Hits why he used the melody, "I first heard the melody (of She Moved Through The Fair) a few days after the Enniskillen bombing (when a bomb planted by the IRA exploded during a Remembrance Day service at Enniskillen in County Fermanagh, killing 12 people and injuring at least 63), and like everybody when you see the images I was sick. In the second part of the song, I'm trying to relate to people in Northern Ireland who lost loved ones. I'm trying to talk about the madness, the sadness and the emptiness. I'm not saying I have any pearls of wisdom, but I have a few questions to ask".[3]

Reception[edit]

The song received rave reviews, receiving a five-star review in Q magazine. In a retrospective review of the single, AllMusic journalist Dave Thompson described "Belfast Child" as being "an epic, heartstring-tugging song. The piece gains even more power in its second half, when the drums and guitar kick in, and the arrangement billows out with instrumentation."[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video to the song was shot in black and white and displays poignant footage of children and deprivation in Belfast. It was directed by Andy Morahan and edited by Mark Alchin.[5]

B-sides[edit]

The B-side of the single was "Mandela Day", a song recorded to commemorate and performed at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert on 11 June 1988 though not released commercially until its inclusion on this single. The CD single and the 12" editions added a cover of Peter Gabriel's "Biko"

Track listings[edit]

7" vinyl[edit]

  • UK, Germany: Virgin / SMX 3
  • France: Virgin / 90496
Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Belfast Child"   Traditional music, lyrics by Simple Minds 6:39
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
2. "Mandela Day"   Simple Minds 5:42

12" vinyl[edit]

  • UK: Virgin / SMXT 3
  • UK: Virgin / SMX BS (limited edition box set, including 4 black-and-white photographs from the music video)
  • France: Virgin / 80432
  • Germany: Virgin / 611 998
  • Yugoslavia: Jugoton /MXSVIRG 18016
Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Belfast Child"   Traditional music, lyrics by Simple Minds 6:39
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
2. "Mandela Day"   Simple Minds 5:42
3. "Biko"   Peter Gabriel 7:31

CD[edit]

  • UK: Virgin / SMXCD3 (3")
  • UK: Virgin / SMXCDT3 (5")
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Belfast Child"   Traditional music, lyrics by Simple Minds 6:39
2. "Mandela Day"   Simple Minds 5:42
3. "Biko"   Peter Gabriel 7:31

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[6] 12
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[7] 1
Ireland[8] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[9] 9
Spain (AFYVE)[10] 8
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[11] 1
Preceded by
"Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart" by Marc Almond featuring Gene Pitney
UK Singles Chart number-one single
19 February 1989 (1989-02-19) – 26 February 1989 (1989-02-26)
Succeeded by
"Too Many Broken Hearts" by Jason Donovan
Preceded by
"Buffalo Stance" by Neneh Cherry
Dutch Top 40 number one single
11 March 1989 (1989-03-11) – 18 March 1989 (1989-03-18)
Succeeded by
"Alles kan een mens gelukkig maken" by René Froger
Preceded by
"Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart" by Marc Almond featuring Gene Pitney
Irish Top 40 number one single
16 February 1989 (1989-02-16) – 23 February 1989 (1989-02-23)
Succeeded by
"Leave Me Alone" by Michael Jackson

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Never Mind". Record Mirror (London, England: Spotlight Publications): 4. 21 January 1989. 
  2. ^ "1989 Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive – 25th February 1989". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Kutner, Jon; Leigh, Spencer (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-8444-9283-1. 
  4. ^ Thompson, Dave. "Belfast Child - Simple Minds : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Simple Minds Belfast Child on Vimeo". Vimeo.com. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, New South Wales, Australia: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 978-0-6461-1917-5. 
  7. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Simple Minds search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  8. ^ "irishcharts.ie search results". Retrieved 7 March 2009. 
  9. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Simple Minds – Belfast Child". VG-lista.
  10. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  11. ^ "February 1989/ Archive Chart: 25 February 1989" UK Singles Chart.

External links[edit]