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Hanging Around with Simple Minds: Fabulous photobooks documenting the band’s early days

On Saturday October 15th, White Hot Day, the Simple Minds Fan Convention is happening at the Classic Grand in Glasgow, check out our previous blogs for more info (see links below).


Graeme Thomson, author of Themes for Great Cities: A New History of Simple Minds, has written one of our favourite books this year, so we wanted to draw your attention to some other brilliant Simple Minds publications from Hanging Around Books .Hanging Around is an independent book publisher specialising in music-related photobooks — A5 sized paperbacks and photozines — that carry on the legacy of Hanging Around a punk fanzine founded by Ronnie Gurr in 1977.  We’ve bought a fair few and they’re real high quality. Feast your eyes on these beauties:

So Far, So Distant and So Long Ago: Simple Minds in Berlin 1980 features photographs of Simple Minds taken in September 1980 by Ronnie Gurr in the then East and West Berlin and by the Berlin Wall on the band’s day off supporting Peter Gabriel on his European tour. With foreword written by Simple Minds’ frontman Jim Kerr.

a man riding a skateboard up the side of a building

Simple Minds -Pleasantly Disturbed: Glasgow & Edinburgh 1978 photographs by Laurie Evans. In 1978, Laurie Evans was the in-house music photographer for the Edinburgh “what’s on” magazine City Lynx. As such, Laurie was on hand to capture some of the earliest images of Simple Minds at various gigs at Glasgow’s Mars Bar and the Astoria in Edinburgh’s Abbeyhill.

a man holding a microphone

The Suit He Wears Belongs To Me-Simple Minds 1980  Ronnie Gurr says:

“In seeking out rare and previously undiscovered and unseen music-related images, the long hours of research usually begin by making contact with friends and families of both the artists and the photographers. In the case of “The Suit He Wears Belongs To Me”, a recent conversation with the supremely brilliant record producer John Leckie, proved to be fortuitous. John happened to mention that his close friend Richard Coward was not only responsible for the TV imagery that featured on the sleeve of the magnificent album John produced (“Empires and Dance”) but that he had also shot the band in Edinburgh, Glasgow and at his studio in Wapping, East London.

John informed me that Richard sadly passed away in 2014, but that his wife Siobhan was now living in Edinburgh. It has been my delight to work with Siobhan in going through Richard’s archive and digitising the negatives to bring this collection together.

As you’ll see in the book, Richard manages to capture a diversity of styles with the 1980 line-up of the band. There’s the aforementioned TV images, band line-ups in the Botanic Gardens of both Edinburgh and Glasgow, atop Edinburgh’s Calton Hill and in front of the city’s former Royal High School, as well as a series of superbly executed studio portraits. It will come as no surprise that the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland has purchased one of Richard’s portraits of Jim Kerr for their collection and it’s a fitting tribute to both a fine photographer and his subject matter.”

a group of people sitting at a table

Thanks to Hanging Around Books for allowing us to use the images and please do check them out.

You can read more about White Hot Day here