Simply Red were a British soul band formed in the mid 1980s, that sold more than 50 million albums over a 25-year career. Their style drew influences from blue-eyed soul, New Romantic, rock, reggae and jazz. Best known for the hits "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)", "Holding Back the Years", and "Stars".
Since their early days the main driving force behind the band was singer Mick Hucknall, the founder and frontman, who by the time the band broke up in 2010 was the only original member left.
Simply Red originated from the notorious 1976 Sex Pistols gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England. Manchester art student Mick Hucknall was one of the many young music fans present, along with Mark E. Smith of The Fall as well as original members of the bands Joy Division, The Smiths and Buzzcocks who was inspired to form a band after witnessing that gig. The first incarnation of the band was a punk group called The Frantic Elevators, which existed for 7 years, with limited releases on local labels. They split in 1984 with only limited local attention and critical acclaim for their final single, "Holding Back the Years".
After the demise of “The Frantic Elevators”, Hucknall linked up with manager Elliot Rashman. By early 1985 Hucknall and Rashman had assembled a band of local session musicians and began to attract record company attention. Around this time the group adopted the name Simply Red (after Hucknall’s nickname, which denoted hair color, football allegiance to Manchester United and left-wing political affiliation). Simply Red signed a contract with Elektra in 1985, but after recording one track ("Red Box") David Fryman (founding member guitarist) left the group and was replaced by guitarist Sylvan Richardson, who was billed only as 'Sylvan', with the somewhat changeable line-up of Hucknall, Tony Bowers (bass), Fritz McIntyre (keyboards), Tim Kellett (brass), Sylvan Richardson (guitar) and Chris Joyce (drums).
The ongoing album releases found the group adopting an increasingly mainstream and commercial sound. Men and Women (1987) and A New Flame (1989) were followed in 1991 by Stars, which became the best-selling album for two consecutive years in Europe. It was not until the release of "Fairground" (1995) that Simply Red achieved their first No.1 single. While not a favorite with the critics, it assured the success of parent album Life.
Simply Red's most recent album (the band's tenth—and as it would turn out, final—studio album “Stay” was released on 12 March 2007), which hit No.4 on the UK album chart.
Mick Hucknall announced that the band were due to split in 2009, after a farewell tour.
Hucknall released his first solo album, “Tribute to Bobby” on 19 May 2008.
Simply Red's final concert took place at the O2 Arena in London on 19 December 2010. The concert was shown live at cinemas throughout the UK
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