John Hughes: Soul Sucking Destroyer Of Dreams

hughesJim Kerr, lead singer for the pop group Simple Minds, has been looking for film Director/ Producer John Hughes since 1985. That’s the year the Breakfast Club was released and that’s pretty much the year Simple Minds promising career went into the proverbial shitter.

Simple Minds were a very good group back in the day. They were an experimental art band with some progressive and electronic leanings, and released a string of critically acclaimed albums from 1979 (Reel To Real Cacophony) through 1984’s brilliant Sparkle In The Rain. They were neck and neck with U2 to be the next “Biggest Band In The World”. Seems almost funny now, in a sad way.

Musically speaking Simple Minds were far and above the better band at that point, but they made a critical error in judgment by agreeing to lend a song to John Hughes for a little movie he was working on at the time called The Breakfast Club.

“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” was a massive hit for the band and helped propel the movie to box office bliss. Written specifically for the movie, Bryan Ferry (of Roxy Music fame) was offered the song but quickly, and wisely, rejected the offer. Jim Kerr almost did as well, calling the lyrics ‘formulaic’ and ‘juvenile’.

But the lure of fast cash won the day, it became a worldwide smash (#1), ruined their bright future, and alienated them from their core fan base (myself included). In the short term they actually became quite huge, but their new teenie-bopper wannabe alternative fans were fleeting. Simple Minds poster goes down, Tears For Fears poster goes up!
And of course we all know what became of U2. Bono and the boys steered clear of anything Hughes related (as far as I know…tell me if you know different) and went on to actually become the biggest band in the world. Of course they’ve turned into the Rolling Stones now, but that’s another story.

There were others, too, who as soon as they lent their songs to a John Hughes film were immediately relegated to the “Where Are They Now Files”.

From the Pretty In Pink soundtrack: Psychedelic Furs, O.M.D., Echo and the Bunnymen.

From Ferris Bueler’s Day Off: Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Dream Academy, General Public, and to a lesser extent, Big Audio Dynamite.

From Sixteen Candles: Madness, Stray Cats, Adam Ant, Altered Images, Nick Heyward, Spandeau Ballet, Billy Idol, Thompson Twins.

All bands poised for global success but cut short in their prime by little old producer/ director/ dream smasher John Hughes!

And the actors weren’t immune from the reverse Midas touch of Hughes: poor Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Andrew McCarthy and Jennifer Grey! I even think he had something to do with the oh so early and suspicious demise of the wonderful and talented John Candy (appeared in FOUR Hughes films: Vacation/ Planes, Trains and Automobiles/ Uncle Buck and The Great Outdoors!).

OK, the John Candy thing may be pushing it, but the guy is evil incarnate, man!

The fact remains, though, that a lot (not all–Spandeau Ballet were NEVER going to rule the world!) of the afore mentioned bands had great potential and after involvement in a Hughes film they simply…vanished into a sea of faux teen angst.

Although Jim Kerr and Simple Minds continue to put out albums  you won’t hear about it unless you make a real effort to search them out. And if you do find one and download it to your ipod chances are you’ll hit the ‘delete’ button the next day. ‘Cause they, like all the other poor bastard bands who have succumbed to the Hughes curse out there, have never been able to regain that spark, that pre-1984 spark, that made them so promising.

Damn you, John Hughes.

Damn you to Hell!!!

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