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Simply Red

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Led by the vocalist Mick Hucknall, the English blue-eyed soul band Simply Red became international stars with their debut album, Picture Book. On the hit ballad "Holding Back the Years," Hucknall proved that he could sing soulfully without affectation, while their cover of the Valentine Brothers' "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)" proved that they could do light funk capably. With each album, their fan base expanded, especially in the U.K. The band was formed in 1984 by singer Mick "Red" Hucknall (born Michael James Hucknall, June 8, 1960, Manchester, England) with three ex-members of Durutti Column -- bassist Tony Bowers (born October 31, 1952), drummer Chris Joyce (born October 11, 1957, Manchester, England), and keyboardist/brass player Tim Kellett (born July 23, 1964, Knaresborough, England) -- plus guitarist Sylvan Richardson and keyboardist Fritz McIntyre (born September 2, 1956, Birmingham, England). The group signed to Elektra Records and released Picture Book (October 1985), which featured "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)," a Top 40 cover of a 1982 R&B chart single by the Valentine Brothers, and "Holding Back the Years," a Hucknall original that topped the U.S. charts. The single caused the album to go platinum, and made the group one of the major successes of 1986. Men and Women (March 1987), which featured two collaborations between Hucknall and soul songwriter Lamont Dozier, was less popular, though it generated the Top 40 hit "The Right Thing." (In the U.K., "Infidelity" and a cover of Cole Porter's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" also made the Top 40.) Richardson left in 1987 and was replaced by guitarist Aziz Ibrahim, who was replaced by Heitor T.P. (born in Brazil). The third album, A New Flame (February 1989), went gold due to the cover of the 1972 Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes hit "If You Don't Know Me by Now" that hit number one and became a gold single. (In the U.K., "It's Only Love" and "A New Flame" also made the Top 40.) By the time of the fourth album, Stars (September 1991), Bowers and Joyce had left, with Shaun Ward joining on bass and Gota on drums, and saxophonist Ian Kirkham had become a permanent member. Stars was a relative commercial disappointment in the U.S. (though it spawned Top 40 hits in "Something Got Me Started" and "Stars" and eventually went gold), but it became a major success elsewhere, especially in the U.K., where it was the best-selling album of 1991, topped the charts for 19 weeks, and spawned the Top Ten hits "Stars" and "For Your Babies" and the Top 40 hits "Something Got Me Started," "Thrill Me," and "Your Mirror." Worldwide, it had sold eight and a half million copies by the second quarter of 1993. Ward and Gota were gone by the release of Simply Red's fifth album, Life (October 1995), leaving a lineup of Hucknall, McIntyre, Heitor T.P., Kirkham, and backup singer Dee Johnson. The album again proved more of a success at home than in America, topping charts all over Europe, as did its leadoff single, "Fairground," while spending only three months in the U.S. charts. Blue followed in May 1998. It topped the British charts and spawned Top Ten hits in "Say You Love Me" and a cover of the Hollies' "The Air That I Breathe" at home, but was a negligible seller in the U.S. In November 1999, Simply Red issued Love and the Russian Winter, which reached the U.K. Top Ten, with the single "Ain't That a Lot of Love" (a cover of a Sam & Dave song) hitting the Top 20. After establishing the simplyred.com label, the band released Home in April 2003. It reached number two in the U.K., with the singles "Sunrise" and a cover of the Stylistics' "You Make Me Feel Brand New" becoming Top Ten hits. Two years later came Simplified, a collection of old and new songs that hit number three in Britain and number two in the Eurochart. Another two-year absence followed before the notable Stay in April 2007. It hit number four in the U.K. and number two in the Eurochart. By the time of its release, the lineup of Simply Red consisted of Hucknall, Kirkham, Sarah Brown (background vocals), David Clayton (keyboards), Peter Lewinson (drums), Steve Lewinson (bass), Kevin Robinson (trumpet), and Kenji Suzuki (guitar). Hucknall then decided to retire Simply Red but he revived the band in 2015, making a splash with the new album Big Love. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & William Ruhlmann
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Albums by
Simply Red

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    10 songs

    On Air

    Picture Book (Expanded)

    18 songs

    On Air

    Blue [Bonus Tracks]

    16 songs

    On Air

    Men and Women [Bonus Tracks]

    15 songs

    On Air

    Life

    15 songs

    On Air

    Home

    11 songs

    On Air

    Love and the Russian Winter

    12 songs

    On Air

    Blue [US Release]

    11 songs

    On Air

    Life

    10 songs

    On Air

    Stars

    10 songs

    On Air

    A New Flame

    10 songs

    On Air

    Men and Women

    10 songs

    On Air

    Picture Book

    6 songs

    On Air

    You Make Me Feel Brand New

    12 songs

    On Air

    Love and the Russian Winter

    13 songs

    On Air

    Big Love

    1 song

    On Air

    Love Gave Me More

    1 song

    On Air

    Coming Home

    13 songs

    On Air

    Something Got Me Started

    4 songs

    On Air

    Perfect Love

    2 songs

    On Air

    Something Got Me Started

    7 songs

    On Air

    Sunrise [European Single]

    12 songs

    On Air

    Songs of Love

    6 songs

    On Air

    Home Mixes

    15 songs

    On Air

    Home Mixes, Vol. 1

See All Albums

Top Songs by
Simply Red

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Holding Back the Years
  3.   If You Don't Know Me by Now
  4.   So Not Over You
  5.   Stars
  6.   Stay
  7.   Positively 4th Street
  8.   Something Got Me Started
  9.   You've Got It
  10.   Sunrise
  11.   You Make Me Feel Brand New
  12.   When You've Got a Good Friend
  13.   Me and the Devil Blues
  14.   Money's Too Tight (To Mention)
  15.   Never Never Love
  16.   Funk on Out
  17.   Sugar Daddy
  18.   Groovy Situation
  19.   Fairground
  20.   Shine On
  21.   I Have the Love
  22.   Money in My Pocket
  23.   Enough
  24.   More
  25.   The Right Thing
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Simply Red

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    55 Songs You Think Suck

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    Smooth Jazz

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    Ricky Martin: I Am The DJ

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    '80s #1 Hits

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    Classic Soft Hits

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    Vocal Hits

    On Air

    Janet Jackson: DNA

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    Old School R&B

    On Air

    Coffee House

    On Air

    Nothing But Love Songs

    On Air

    '80s Hits

    On Air

    Adult Chill

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    Grand Theft Radio

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    Bob Dylan: DNA

    On Air

    Classic Hits

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    Adult R&B


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