Promised You A Miracle - Simple Minds Ft. KT Tunstall
‘Promised You A Miracle’ was the first song I ever heard by Simple Minds – way back in 1982, watching Top of the Pops in my living room. I loved the track and pretty much became an instant fan of the band. But I can honestly say I’d never have imagined years later I’d be working with them, and producing their records.
In fact, Promised You A Miracle was not only the first song of theirs I’d ever heard, it would go on to be the first that I’d have the opportunity to work on – and so it opened the door to the relationship I have with the band to this day.
In 2010, I was asked to produce a song for Oxfam International – promoting safe childbirth around the less-developed world. The song chosen was Promised You A Miracle, and it had been decided it would be a stripped-down version featuring a duet with Martha Wainright.
The production and recording process turned out to be a big success, and Jim and I hit it off really well – so much so that Jim got in touch afterwards and asked if I’d be interested in working on some of the upcoming Simple Minds stuff. Naturally I said yes – and this lead on to myself and production partner Gavin Goldberg producing 2014’s ‘Big Music’ with them.
DJ Chris Evans gave Big Music the most fantastic reception when it was released – and invited Jim and Charlie into the studios at Radio 2 to do a couple of tracks from the album live. The session was to be acoustic, and it turned out to be a really great one. Chris loved it, and told the band that they really ought to record an acoustic album – which planted the seed, I think, in their minds.
Paradoxically, the band have always been known for the sheer size of their sound – lots of big guitars and synths and drums – so the idea of playing acoustically was not immediately an obvious fit.
They were invited to play at the Unplugged festival in Zermatt - which I went out to see – in part, to assess the viability of doing that kind of a record at some point in the future. And little by little, we decided to move forward with the idea, and the band put together the right line-up for it with Ged, Gordy, Sarah Brown and Cherisse.
The recording for the album was really organic and developed very naturally with the band once we’d decided on the repertoire. It was a really energising and exciting process – and Jim wanted to reprise the duet idea for Promised You A Miracle. He had recently been introduced to KT Tunstall, and decided to invite her to record the track with the band.
She came in like a whirlwind on the day – full of ideas and suggestions and wanting to play and re-play everything she could get her hands on. She changed a small harmony in the chord progression, too, which was great. We all had a great time and the vibe of the session was really exceptional.
After the album was completed, the BBC staged a live concert with the band at the Hackney Empire, the whole performance broadcast live on Radio 2.
Subsequently, Promised You A Miracle was made single of the week on Radio 2 – so it turned out to be a really great success.
The combination of Jim’s voice and KT’s works incredibly well – and KT went on the band’s European tour which followed, and was a brilliant support act – as well as taking to the stage to sing the duet live.