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  • Writer's pictureGraeme Thomson

Themes for Great Cities: A New History of Simple Minds

A deep and thrilling dive into some of the greatest musical minds to have come out of Scotland in modern times.” Ian Rankin

"The definitive biography of this most mercurial of bands. Thomson knows how to take it apart – without demystifying the mystery, he gives us the art school band that never had an art school, but went instead on an endless adventure and took a bit of all of us with them.” Alan Warner

An illuminating new biography of one of Britain’s biggest and most influential bands, written with the full input and cooperation of Simple Minds, shedding new light on their dazzling art-rock legacy.

Themes for Great Cities features in-depth new interviews with original band members Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill, Mick MacNeil and Derek Forbes, alongside key figures from within their creative community and high-profile fans such as Bobby Gillespie, James Dean Bradfield and Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite. The book reclaims and revivifies the magnificence of Simple Minds’ pioneering early albums, from the glitchy Euro-ambience of Real to Real Cacophony and Empires and Dance to the pulsing, agitated romance of Sons and Fascination, New Gold Dream and beyond.

Emerging in 1978 from Glasgow’s post-punk scene, Simple Minds transitioned from restless art-rock to electro Futurism, mutated into passionate pop contenders and, finally, a global rock behemoth. They have sold in the region of 60 million records and remain a worldwide phenomenon. The drama of their tale lies in these transformations and triumphs, conflicts and contradictions.

Themes for Great Cities tells the inside story of a band becoming a band. Inspiring, insightful and enlightening, it celebrates the trailblazing music of one of Britain’s greatest groups.


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Eric Dion
Eric Dion
Mar 18, 2022

Finally, a serious book on this fantastic group. At their best, they were so, so good. Can't wait to read the book.

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