"Sanctify Yourself" by Simple Minds
by Mark Nobes, chief editor
"Sanctify Yourself" was released as the second single from Simple Minds' hugely successful seventh studio album Once Upon A Time. Featuring a kick ass bass line by John Giblin, the band were heavily influenced by the American band Sly & The Family Stone for this track, which was produced by Jimmy Iovine and Bob Clearmountain. It features a powerful, stadium rock drum sound, which is present throughout much of the album.
The single is an edited down version (3:55) of the full album track which lasts for exactly 5 minutes. The B-side of the 7" vinyl featured an instrumental version, with the 12" featuring an extended mix (7:10) on the A-side and dub version (6:10) on the B-side.
The single entered the UK singles chart at No.17 on 26th January 1986, while a-ha were at No.1 with "The Sun Always Shines On TV". It reached No.10 the following week, before slipping back down to No.18. The lead single from the album, "Alive and Kicking", reached No.7.
Additional backing vocals are provided by Michael Been, the lead vocalist of the American rock band, The Call. The band were the opening act on one of Simple Minds tours. Robin Clark from Chic and also provides backing vocals. The song itself was developed mostly by Jimmy Iovine.
The lyrics for "Sanctify Yourself" have an uplifting vibe. Religion often plays a part in the song lyrics penned (or partly penned) by Jim Kerr, and this song is no exception. The whole theme of the song oozes holiness, and there is a reference to God in the lines "But you can pour back the love, sweeping down from above, giving hope and making more chances. Well, I hope and I pray that maybe someday you'll come back down here and show me the way", which possibly refers to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Kerr sings the lyrics with conviction, too. It's true to say that lyrics with such a strong emphasis on religion could easily have been subject to ridicule by the music critics. Unlike Cliff Richard, who was often slated by the critics, Kerr mostly got away with it. In my eyes, however, an artist should be free to sing about their religious beliefs without ridicule.
It's true to say that lyrics with such a strong emphasis on religion could easily have been subject to ridicule by the music critics. Unlike Cliff Richard, who was often slated by the critics, Kerr mostly got away with it. In my eyes, however, an artist should be free to sing about their religious beliefs without ridicule.
The video features the band performing on a stage in front of fans. Jim Kerr is wearing a military style beret (possibly as a reference to the marxist revolutionary Che Guevara) and an over-sized white shirt held in by a belt. There is also black and white film of the band, including Jim Kerr holding a white dove (maybe symbolising peace) and walking across a bridge doing a fist salute.