Originally released in 1982 by Arista in the U.K. and reissued on CD by the Dutch Disky imprint in 2001, Celebration serviceably culls some of the better moments from Simple Minds' first three albums: 1979's Life in a Day and Reel to Real Cacophony and 1980's Empires and Dance. Given the sadly neglected status of the band's early catalog -- meaning anything that was released prior to 1982's breakthrough New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) -- through the early 2000s, it is doubly unfortunate that a compilation like this remained out of print for an extended period of time. And though the studio albums remained in print in the U.K., Simple Minds' early years hardly received the red carpet compilation treatment that their later works did. While nothing here came close to approaching the stadium-pleasing popularity of later smashes like "Don't You (Forget About Me)," "Alive and Kicking," or even "Promised You a Miracle," Celebration might provide a little shock to an initiated someone who snaps up a copy. It's a near-definite that plenty of people who own New Gold Dream and/or the Glittering Prize 81/92 compilation remain oblivious to the fact that Simple Minds released five albums that ranged from good to spectacular between 1979 and 1981, before New Gold Dream came along with its perfect balance of art and pop to connect with a mass audience. Not only was 1979-1981 a prolific period for the band, but it was a period that witnessed them blossoming from a decent guitar-based post-punk band to a far more rhythmic and experimental entity that gradually shed their influences while ambitiously building on them. And as the few brave souls who have remained devout Simple Minds fans from day one might tell you, Celebration has stood the test of time better than Glittering Prize track-for-track.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman