Empires and Dance

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Empires and Dance
Empires and Dance cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released12 September 1980
RecordedJune-July 1980
ProducerJohn Leckie
Simple Minds chronology
Real to Real Cacophony
Empires and Dance
Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call
Singles from Empires and Dance
  1. "I Travel"
    Released: September 1980
  2. "Celebrate"
    Released: April 1981

Empires and Dance is the third studio album by Scottish new wave band Simple Minds, released on 12 September 1980 by record label Arista.[2]

Recording, release and reception[edit]

Empires and Dance was recorded in Wales on the Rolling Stones mobile.[2]

While more successful than its non-charting predecessor (Real to Real Cacophony), Empires and Dance charted relatively poorly, peaking at only number 41 in the UK Albums Chart.[3] According to AllMusic, this was primarily because the record company Arista only released a small number of copies at a time before each batch sold out. This had the effect of limited availability for fans.[1]

The opening track "I Travel" was released as a single in 1980, but failed to chart. "Celebrate" was chosen as the second single due to popularity amongst fans. However, it was only released after Simple Minds had left the label. As a result, the single sold very poorly, and the picture sleeve 7" is amongst the hardest of the band's singles to find.

Following the release of this album, Simple Minds transferred to Virgin Records, where they met with much greater commercial success. Arista tried to capitalize on this success by re-releasing "I Travel" as a single in 1982, along with a compilation "Celebration". In 1983, Virgin re-released "I Travel" on 12", to coincide with the acquisition of the band's Arista catalogue. Both times, it still failed to chart.

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
NMEvery favourable[4]
Head Heritagefavourable[5]
Smash Hits9/10[7]
Martin C. Strong8/10[8]
Trouser Pressgenerally favourable[9]

Empires and Dance has been well-received critically.

NME called it as "a weird, agitating record".[4] AllMusic described the album as a "post-punk dance classic".[1]


The album cover's faux Cyrillic typeface was emulated for the cover of Manic Street Preachers' third album The Holy Bible. (While the former album reversed all Rs and Ns to resemble Cyrillic letters, the latter album, in contrast, reversed only the Rs.) Twenty years later, Empires and Dance would be cited as a key influence on Futurology, the Manics' twelfth album. It remains one of singer and guitarist James Dean Bradfield's favourite records.[10]

Imagery in Patrik Sampler's novel The Ocean Container[11] was inspired by "Thirty Frames a Second".

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Jim Kerr; all music composed by Simple Minds.

Side A
1."I Travel"4:00
2."Today I Died Again"4:36
4."This Fear of Gods"7:03
Side B
1."Capital City"6:15
2."Constantinople Line"4:43
4."Thirty Frames a Second"5:02



  • John Leckie – producer, engineer
  • Simon Heyworth – mastering
  • Hugh Jones – engineer
  • Coward – photography
  • Ruetz – photography


  1. ^ a b c d Kellman, Andy. "Empires and Dance – Simple Minds : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Record News". NME. London, England: IPC Media: 5. 30 August 1980.
  3. ^ "SIMPLE MINDS – Artist – Official Charts". Official Charts Company.
  4. ^ a b Morley, Paul (13 September 1980). "Awe and Terror from the Inner Minds". NME. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  5. ^ Parkes, Jason (4 May 2006). "Julian Cope Presents Head Heritage | Unsung | Reviews | Simple Minds – Empires and Dance". Head Heritage. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  6. ^ Tangari, Joe. "Simple Minds: Reel to Real Cacophony / Empires and Dance | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  7. ^ Smash Hits, Ian Cranna, 2 October 1980, p.29
  8. ^ The Essential Rock Discography – Volume 1: 970. 2006. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Schlosberg, Karen; Robbins, Ira. "TrouserPress.com :: Simple Minds". TrouserPress.com. Archived from the original on 30 November 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  10. ^ Price, Simon. "A Masterpiece: Simon Price On Manic Street Preachers' Futurology". The Quietus. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  11. ^ Patrik, Sampler. The ocean container (First ed.). Rome, GA. ISBN 9780979132049. OCLC 1032773267.

External links[edit]