Once Upon a Time (Simple Minds album)

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Once Upon a Time
Once Upon a Time (Simple Minds album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by Simple Minds
Released 21 October 1985
Recorded May 1985 at The Town House
Length 40:12
Simple Minds chronology
Sparkle in the Rain
Once Upon a Time
Live in the City of Light
Simple Minds studio albums chronology
Sparkle in the Rain
Once Upon a Time
Street Fighting Years
Alternative cover
Alternative cover
UK picture disc cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
CMJ favourable[2]
Martin C. Strong 8/10[3]
Robert Christgau B−[4]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[5]
Spin (unfavourable)[6]
Virgin Encyclopedia 4/5 stars[7]

Once Upon a Time is the seventh studio album by Scottish rock band Simple Minds, released in October 1985 by record label Virgin (A&M in the US).


Although already successful in their native UK and Europe, the band had also now become popular in the US, mainly due to the Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff-penned "Don't You (Forget About Me)" which appeared on The Breakfast Club soundtrack and had become a No. 1 hit there. However, the band deliberately left the track off the album due to their reluctance to record it.


Once Upon a Time was released on 21 October 1985 by record label Virgin (A&M in the US). The album topped the UK charts, and peaked at No. 10 on the US charts, spending five consecutive weeks in the Top 10 of Billboard and 16 weeks in the Top 20.

Four singles were taken from the album: "Alive and Kicking" (UK No. 7, US No. 3), "All the Things She Said" (UK No. 9, US No. 28), "Sanctify Yourself" (UK No. 10, US No. 14), and "Ghost Dancing" (UK No. 13).

The album was available with two covers upon its original LP release. The alternate cover uses the back image for the front and vice versa. It also moves the Simple Minds logo to the right of the cover. The two cover images fit together when placed side by side or above each other, and the release of the album in British record shops saw the two covers placed in a grid, alternating like the two colours on a chessboard. The album cover was standardised for the original CD release and this version has since been used for the various reissues of the album. A collectable picture disc LP was also produced. Housed in a luxury gatefold die-cut sleeve, the record featured the mottled gold effect of the sleeve. A unique lyrics sheet was also packaged in the gatefold. A magnetic jigsaw puzzle was also produced by Virgin Records to promote the album.

The album has been re-released in remastered form on several occasions, most recently in 2015. Virgin Records reissued the album as a remastered edition in 2002 (cardboard vinyl replica edition) and early 2003 (jewel-case). It was released on SACD in 2003. 2005 saw yet another reissue of the album. This time Virgin released a DVD-Audio version (actually, the disc bears a DVD-Audio/Video logo), which is notable for being a completely remixed album. All the tracks were remixed in 5.1 surround sound, and additionally, a downmixed 2.0 stereo version was created for compatibility with non-surround DVD-Audio set-ups. The tracks on the remixed album differ in length in comparison to the original version. In most cases they are longer than in the original mix. All the tracks on the remixed album contain material that has frequencies above the CD-Audio cut-off frequency, reaching beyond 30 kHz (a tribute to the original analogue multi-track tapes, and to the producers). In December 2015, multiple formats of the album were re-issued.

In 2012, the original 8-track album was included in the box set 5 Album Set, which also included four other Simple Minds albums: Sons and Fascination, New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84), Sparkle in the Rain and Street Fighting Years.


In 2008 Once Upon a Time was listed as the 864th greatest album of all time by the French retail chain Fnac.[8]

In 2013, "All the Things She Said" was featured in Grand Theft Auto V, which went on to be one of the highest-selling video games ever.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill, and Mick MacNeil.[9]

  1. "Once Upon a Time" – 5:44
  2. "All the Things She Said" – 4:16
  3. "Ghost Dancing" – 4:46
  4. "Alive and Kicking" – 5:25
  5. "Oh Jungleland" – 5:12
  6. "I Wish You Were Here" – 4:42
  7. "Sanctify Yourself" – 4:57
  8. "Come a Long Way" – 5:09


Simple Minds
Additional personnel



Year Chart Position
1985 UK Albums Chart 1
US Billboard 200 10
Canadian Albums Chart 3
Italian Albums Chart 2


Year Single Chart Position
1985 "Alive and Kicking" UK Singles Chart 7
US Billboard Hot 100 3
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 2
1986 "Sanctify Yourself" UK Singles Chart 10
US Billboard Hot 100 14
US Mainstream Rock Tracks 3
"All the Things She Said" UK Singles Chart 9
US Billboard Hot 100 28
US Mainstream Rock Tracks 9
"Ghost Dancing" UK Singles Chart 13


Organization Level Date
United Kingdom (BPI) 3× Platinum 3 July 1996
USA (RIAA) Gold 31 January 1986
Canada (RPM) 2× Platinum January 1986


  1. ^ Once Upon a Time at AllMusic
  2. ^ "Simple Minds: Articles & Reviews". simpleminds.org.uk. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  3. ^ The Essential Rock Discography - Volume 1: 970. 2006.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Robert Christgau: Simple Minds reviews
  5. ^ "Simple Minds - Once Upon a Time". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Once Upon a Time Review, Spin, January 1986, p. 28.
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin. "Review: Once Upon a Time". Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 2002.
  8. ^ "Les 1000 CD des disquaires de la fnac". Listology. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  9. ^ ASCAP database search.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Love Songs by George Benson
UK number one album
2 November 1985 – 8 November 1985
Succeeded by
The Love Songs by George Benson