Belfast Child

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"Belfast Child / Ballad of the Streets"
Belfast Child.jpg
Single by Simple Minds
from the album Street Fighting Years
B-side
Released6 February 1989 (1989-02-06)
Format5" CD, 3" CD, cassette, 7" vinyl
GenreAlternative rock, Irish folk, world, progressive folk[1]
Length6:39
LabelVirgin
Songwriter(s)Music: traditional
Lyrics: Simple Minds(Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill and Mick MacNeil)
Producer(s)Trevor Horn,
Stephen Lipson
Simple Minds singles chronology
"Don't You (Forget About Me)"
(1988)
"Belfast Child / Ballad of the Streets"
(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.[2] The EP also included "Mandela Day" (originally its B-side). The record reached number 1 on the UK Singles Chart.[3]

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".[4]

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."[5]

A cover version by Sydney Wayser was used for the trailer of the 2014 film Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Music video[edit]

The music video to the song was shot in black and white and displays footage of children and deprivation in Belfast. It was directed by Andy Morahan and edited by Mark Alchin.[6]

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". All three tracks appeared on the band's Street Fighting Years album, released three months later.

Track listings[edit]

7" vinyl[edit]

  • UK, Germany: Virgin / SMX 3
  • France: Virgin / 90496

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Belfast Child"Traditional music, lyrics by Simple Minds6:39
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
2."Mandela Day"Simple Minds5:42

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.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Belfast Child"Traditional music, lyrics by Simple Minds6:39
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
2."Mandela Day"Simple Minds5:42
3."Biko"Peter Gabriel7:31

CD[edit]

  • UK: Virgin / SMXCD3 (3")
  • UK: Virgin / SMXCDT3 (5")

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Belfast Child"Traditional music, lyrics by Simple Minds6:39
2."Mandela Day"Simple Minds5:42
3."Biko"Peter Gabriel7:31

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McAlphine, Fraser (20 November 2017). "10 British chart-toppers that no one talks about anymore". BBC. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Never Mind". Record Mirror. London, England: Spotlight Publications: 4. 21 January 1989.
  3. ^ "1989 Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive – 25th February 1989". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  4. ^ Kutner, Jon; Leigh, Spencer (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-84449-283-1.
  5. ^ Thompson, Dave. "Belfast Child - Simple Minds : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  6. ^ "Simple Minds Belfast Child on Vimeo". Vimeo.com. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Simple Minds – Belfast Child". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  8. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, New South Wales, Australia: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 978-0-646-11917-5.
  9. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Simple Minds – Ballad of the Streets" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Ultratop.be – Simple Minds – Belfast Child" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  11. ^ "Lescharts.com – Simple Minds – Ballad of the Streets" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Musicline.de – Simple Minds Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  13. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Belfast Child". Irish Singles Chart.
  14. ^ a b "I singoli più venduti del 1989". HitParadeItalia.it (in Italian). Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  15. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Simple Minds – Belfast Child". VG-lista. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Simple Minds" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  17. ^ "Charts.nz – Simple Minds – Ballad of the Streets". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  18. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  19. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Simple Minds – Ballad of the Streets". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  20. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Simple Minds – Ballad of the Streets". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  21. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  22. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts - Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  23. ^ "JAAROVERZICHTEN - Single 1989" (in Dutch). Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  24. ^ "End Of Year Charts 1989". Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  25. ^ "SWISS YEAR-END CHARTS 1989". Retrieved 24 March 2018.

External links[edit]