THE SUIT HE WEARS BELONGS TO ME - SIMPLE MINDS 1980
“The Suit He Wears Belongs To Me” (HA033) is the third Simple Minds book that Hanging Around Books has published. That fact alone should be testament to our unalloyed admiration of Scotland’s finest. After more than forty years, the band continue to tour the world to sell-out venues and we remain massive fans.
In seeking out rare and previously undiscovered and unseen music-related images, the long hours of research usually begin by making contact with friends and families of both the artists and the photographers. In the case of “The Suit He Wears Belongs To Me”, a recent conversation with the supremely brilliant record producer John Leckie, proved to be fortuitous. John happened to mention that his close friend Richard Coward was not only responsible for the TV imagery that featured on the sleeve of the magnificent album John produced (“Empires and Dance”) but that he had also shot the band in Edinburgh, Glasgow and at his studio in Wapping, East London.
John informed me that Richard sadly passed away in 2014, but that his wife Siobhan was now living in Edinburgh. It has been my delight to work with Siobhan in going through Richard’s archive and digitising the negatives to bring this collection together.
As you’ll see in the book, Richard manages to capture a diversity of styles with the 1980 line-up of the band. There’s the aforementioned TV images, band line-ups in the Botanic Gardens of both Edinburgh and Glasgow, atop Edinburgh’s Calton Hill and in front of the city’s former Royal High School, as well as a series of superbly executed studio portraits. It will come as no surprise that the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland has purchased one of Richard’s portraits of Jim Kerr for their collection and it’s a fitting tribute to both a fine photographer and his subject matter.
Ronnie Gurr - Publisher, Hanging Around Books, March 2020.