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
Genre Rock, alternative rock, new wave
Length 40:12 (41:16 on the 2005 DVD-Audio)
Label Virgin- V 2364(ROW)
A&M Records(US)
Producer Jimmy Iovine and Bob Clearmountain (additionally, Roland Prent on the 2005 DVD-Audio)
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 Simple Minds, released in 1985.

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-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. Four singles were taken from the album; "Alive and Kicking" (UK No. 7, US #3), "All the Things She Said" (UK No. 9, US #28), "Sanctify Yourself" (UK No. 10, US #14), and "Ghost Dancing" (UK #13). The album topped the UK charts, and peaked at No.10 on the US charts (5 consecutive weeks in Top 10 of Billboard and 16 weeks in Top 20).

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 limited edition picture disc album was also released.

The album has been re-released in remastered form on several occasions, most recently in 2015.

Remasters and re-releases[edit]

2002 remaster[edit]

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 remaster[edit]

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 listener has a choice of playing the album from the following audio streams:

  • DVD-A 5.1 surround - essentially, a discrete six-channel 24-bit linear PCM stream sampled at 96 kHz (this stream may not be compatible with DVD-Video equipment),
  • DTS 5.1 surround - a 24-bit DTS stream sampled at 96 kHz (this stream may not be compatible with some DVD-Video equipment),
  • PCM 2.0 stereo - a linear PCM stereo stream (presumably included for compliance with the DVD-Video format).

Although the sleeve describes the 2.0 stereo stream as being a 48 kHz 16-bit PCM (which would make the disc compatible with mandatory audio requirements for DVD-Video discs), the stream itself turns out to be a 96 kHz 24-bit PCM, thus making the disc unplayable on all the DVD-Video equipment that cannot play 96 kHz 24-bit DTS (some older players would only accept a 48 kHz format) or is not DVD-Audio compliant (for the 96 kHz 24-bit PCM streams). Some DVD-Video players will only play the 2.0 stereo stream, but with distorted sound, and at wrong speed (if taking the 96/24 stream to be 48/16).

The remixed version of the album was mixed and produced by Roland Prent in 96/24 PCM.

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).

2012 repackaging[edit]

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 Fascinations, New Gold Dream, Sparkle in the Rain and Street Fighting Years.

2015 box set[edit]

In December 2015, multiple formats of the album will be re-issued:[8]

  • The original 8-track album on one CD (remastered)
  • The original 8-track album on one LP (remastered)
  • 2CD Deluxe edition (2-CD set, second CD includes single mixes, b-sides, remixes and live recordings)
  • Blu-ray version of the album (audio only), with surround mixes of the album
  • Super Deluxe 5CD/1DVD set (includes both discs from the 2CD Deluxe Edition, plus another disc of rarities, b-sides and remixes, two discs featuring Live in the City of Light. DVD contains 5.1 Surround and Stereo mixes of the original album plus promo videos)


In 2008 Once Upon a Time was listed as the 864th greatest album of all time by the French retail chain Fnac.[9]

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

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill, and Mick MacNeil.[10]


  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


  1. "Once Upon a Time" – 6:19
  2. "All the Things She Said" – 4:22
  3. "Ghost Dancing" – 4:45
  4. "Alive and Kicking" – 5:14
  5. "Oh Jungleland" – 5:24
  6. "I Wish You Were Here" – 4:45
  7. "Sanctify Yourself" – 5:00
  8. "Come a Long Way" – 5:23


Additional personnel[edit]



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

Art and promotions[edit]

  • The alternative cover art for the UK LP was created by simply swapping the artwork on the front and back 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 produced by Virgin Records to promote the album. This is one of the most sought after Simple Minds collectables.


  1. ^ Once Upon a Time (Simple Minds album) 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. ^ SimpleMindsShop.com, 4 October 2015
  9. ^ "Les 1000 CD des disquaires de la fnac". Listology. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  10. ^ ASCAP database search.
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