Real Life (Simple Minds album)

Real Life is the ninth studio album by Scottish rock band Simple Minds, released in April 1991.[4] This was the first Simple Minds album recorded without keyboardist and original bandmember Mick MacNeil, who left the band shortly after the previous tour completed in 1990. The core band on this album comprise only Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill, and Mel Gaynor (who all appear on the rear cover), with the remaining personnel all being session musicians.

Real Life
Simple Minds Real Life orig.jpg
Studio album by
Released8 April 1991
StudioBonny Wee, Wisseloord, A&M, Maison Rouge, Ca Va and Townhouse Studios
GenrePop rock
ProducerStephen Lipson
Simple Minds chronology
Themes – Volume 4: February 89–May 90
Real Life
Glittering Prize 81/92
Simple Minds studio albums chronology
Street Fighting Years
Real Life
Good News from the Next World
Singles from Real Life
  1. "Let There Be Love"
    Released: March 1991
  2. "See the Lights"
    Released: May 1991
  3. "Stand By Love"
    Released: August 1991
  4. "Real Life"
    Released: October 1991
Re-issue cover
Simpleminds reallife.jpg
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2/5 stars[1]
Martin C. Strong5/10[2]
Rolling Stone2/5 stars[3]


The album features several songs that are reworkings of older material or were reworked into new songs on subsequent releases. "Let the Children Speak" is based on the 1981 Simple Minds instrumental "Theme for Great Cities" from Sister Feelings Call. A re-recorded version of that piece, called "Theme for Great Cities '91" appeared as a B-side of the "See the Lights" single. "Travelling Man" bears some resemblance to the 1983 song "Waterfront" from Sparkle in the Rain. "When Two Worlds Collide" is based on the title track as is the 1995 song "And the Band Played On" which subsequently appeared on the following album Good News from the Next World. "Women and Ghosts" [included on the US edition of 1995 single "Hypnotised"] is a reworked instrumental version of the title track.

The original album cover was replaced in later pressings by the original rear cover shot of the band (see infobox).


The album reached No. 2 in the UK,[5] and No. 74 in the United States. Four singles from the album were Top 40 hits in the UK, including the Top 10 hit "Let There Be Love". In the US, "See the Lights" reached the Top 40 and also reached No. 1 on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart.[6]

Virgin reissued the CD as part of the Simple Minds remasters in late 2002 and early 2003. On the remastered version, a couple of differences are apparent when compared to the first edition: the 2002/2003 remaster features an extended mix of "Let There Be Love", not the one used on the first edition of the album, although it is not mentioned on the cover or in the booklet; the segues between tracks have also been re-edited, so that the running time of individual tracks may differ slightly between the editions; also, the CD version of the first edition had "Banging on the Door" split into two tracks in the disc's table of contents (running time was 1:16 + 4:22), but the music as such did not indicate any break between the parts. On the 2002/2003 reissue, the track is indexed as one.

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Burchill and Kerr; except where indicated.

1."Real Life" 4:53
2."See the Lights" 4:22
3."Let There Be Love" 4:57
4."Woman"Burchill, Kerr, Lipson4:40
5."Stand By Love" 4:04
6."Let the Children Speak" 4:16
7."African Skies" 4:52
8."Ghostrider" 3:22
9."Banging on the Door (Intro)" 1:16
10."Banging on the Door" 4:22
11."Travelling Man"Burchill, Kerr, Lipson3:34
12."Rivers of Ice"Iain MacLachlan, Simple Minds3:30
13."When Two Worlds Collide" 4:01




Year Chart Position Certification
1991 UK Albums Chart 2 Platinum[7]
US Billboard 200 74 -


Single Chart (1991) Position
"Let There Be Love" UK Singles Chart 6
"See the Lights" UK Singles Chart 20
US Billboard Hot 100 40
US Modern Rock Tracks 1
US Billboard Mainstream Rock 10
"Stand By Love" UK Singles Chart 13
US Modern Rock Tracks 4
"Real Life" UK Singles Chart 34


Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[8] 2× Gold 200,000*
Germany (BVMI)[9] Gold 250,000^
Italy (FIMI)[10] 3× Gold 300,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[11] Gold 50,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[12] Gold 50,000^
Sweden (GLF)[13] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[14] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[15] Platinum 300,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Henderson, Alex. "Simple Minds: Real Life > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  2. ^ The Essential Rock Discography – Volume 1: 970. 2006. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Evans, Paul (13 June 1991). "Simple Minds: Real Life". Rolling Stone. Straight Arrow (RS 606). ISSN 0035-791X. Archived from the original on 6 May 2007.
  4. ^ "Real Life". Archived from the original on 5 April 1997.
  5. ^ "Real Life". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Real Life > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles" at AllMusic. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  7. ^ BPI Certifications Database
  8. ^ "Les Certifications depuis 1973: Albums". Retrieved 26 May 2019. (select "Simple Minds" from drop-down list)
  9. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Simple Minds; 'Real Life')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Simply Gilded" (PDF). Music & Media. 26 October 1991. p. 7. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Simple Minds – Real Life" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 26 May 2019. Enter Real Life in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  12. ^ "Sólo Éxitos 1959–2002 Año A Año: Certificados 1979–1990" (in Spanish). Iberautor Promociones Culturales. ISBN 8480486392.
  13. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  14. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Simple Minds; 'Real Life')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  15. ^ "British album certifications – Simple Minds – Real Life". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 26 May 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Real Life in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External linksEdit