Friday song: "Don't You (Forget About Me)"

"Mad About Music" is closing down, so we're featuring one last song as a farewell

By Kent Anderson

In August, Rick Anderson and I launched this e-newsletter, “Mad About Music,” in hopes it would catch fire and create enough momentum to last years. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and some very kind support from many of you, our results have fallen far short of expectations, and we have decided to stop producing new content after today.

Our love of music will not abate, and we will continue to write about music and music topics in our other pursuits.

In accord with this, we’re going to feature as our swan song a tune many our age associate with the film The Breakfast Club, a 1985 sensation that gave the world the “Brat Pack” and launched the career of Simple Minds, the band that performed this influential and enduring song.

The song is one of the few Simple Minds recorded which they didn’t write themselves. It was written for the film by Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff. Forsey also co-wrote the song “Flashdance — What a Feeling” from the film Flashdance. Schiff had been a guitarist in Nina Hagen’s band and co-wrote one of her biggest songs, “New York / N.Y.”

Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music were the first choice to perform the song, but they turned it down. Simple Minds at first resisted recording the song, because they didn’t write it and didn’t like some of the lyrics. But upon seeing a screening of the film, and after further discussions, they agreed to give it a go, and recorded the song in a few hours one day. It gave them their first #1 hit, and made them a major act in the US for a few years.

John Hughes, the director of The Breakfast Club, wasn’t done changing lives. In 1984, Forsey, the song’s co-writer, took over as drummer for the Psychedelic Furs and produced their album “Mirror Moves” that year. When Hughes found out that Forsey wrote “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” he delved deeper into the Psychedelic Furs’ music and discovered the group’s 1981 song “Pretty In Pink.” He made that the title song to his next movie, which was released in 1986. This gave the Psychedelic Furs a huge career boost and a surprising hit.

The song’s “la-la-la-la” coda is a case of a placeholder becoming the actual lyric, as neither songwriter could think of actual words that made sense to end the song.

Before we go, we’d like to thank everyone who read, subscribed, and participated. We truly appreciate the support. We will be donating any remaining proceeds to local charities for the holidays.



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