News reaches me that the late John Hughes, director of the 1980s Brat Pack films who died last week, is the subject of a new documentary. Made by four young filmmakers, the movie takes the form of a road trip in search of Hughes, who left Hollywood in the early 1990s, after monstrous success, and latterly ended up a farmer in Chicago.
Not quite a celluloid Salinger, but sounds intriguing nonetheless. What’s it gotta do with Pop Junkie? The film is called Don’t You Forget About Me, which is apparently the title of a Simple Minds song, written for Hughes’ The Breakfast Club. The project proved hugely successful for both parties.
Not being a fan of the Scottish band (I thought them a poor-man’s Magazine), with a general downer on the 1980s, I thought I’d take a listen to the song. Imagine my surprise when I heard those opening bars. Oh, that one!
The band are currently celebrating 30 years in showbusiness with preparations for December’s Graffiti Soul tour (with OMD as special guests). Jim Kerr says, “When we perform ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ on the forthcoming tour, we’ll be thinking about John Hughes and how his enthusiasm for the sound of Simple Minds made us go the extra mile when we recorded it back in 1984. Everyone was hell bent on making a classic piece of pop rock, but little did we know the kind of longevity the film would have on generations to come. The Breakfast Club helped us kick the door down, and once there, no one could ever lock us out or tell us again what it felt like to be No.1 in America.”
Of course I’d heard Don’t You Forget About Me. I’ve heard it a thousand times. I just never knew what it was called. One of those insidious anthems that blared out of every pub I stepped into in that forsaken decade. Yep, that Simple Minds song, Eye of the fucking Tiger (excuse my French), Dire Straits Microwave Ovens song (which I think is called Money for Nothing), that A-Ha song (no idea of title) and, worst of the lot, Tina Turner’s Simply the Best. Oh, to think she once sang River Deep and Nutbush. If there has ever been a bigger fall from majesty in pop history…(apart from Gary Glitter, perhaps).
This was the decade in which Queen, a mildly successful pomp-rock band (a sort of rich-man’s Darkness), somehow became elevated to all-time musical gods on a par with The Beatles, Abba and Elvis and of greater stature than The Stones. How on earth did that happen? I refer you to this post by one of my fellow Pop Junkies.
Eventually I found a solution. I drank in a pub run by an ex-RUC alcoholic full of friendly, hopeless old drunks, and a jukebox packed with Irish folk; traditional and modern (There was an oft-played song with the chorus ‘I love you Mrs Thatcher’, that I never knew was heartfelt or ironic). I’m not saying this jukebox was any better, it was just a different sort of bad, before bad meant good.
Actually, I apologise to Mr Kerr and his chums. I don’t like the song, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the above mentioned music crimes. It was just ubiquitous at the time, and now, a quarter-of-a-century on, I know its title.