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Simply Red

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Manchester, United Kingdom (1985 – present)

Simply Red is an English pop band, formed in the mid 1980s.

Simply Red’s roots originate from the notorious 1976 Sex Pistols gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester. Manchester art student Mick Hucknall was one of the many young music fans present (along with original members of The Fall, 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 group called The Frantic Elevators. This band existed for 7 years, with limited releases on local labels, but 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). They signed to Elektra in 1985, with the somewhat changeable line-up of Hucknall, Tony Bowers (bass), Fritz McIntyre (keyboards), Tim Kellett (brass), Sylvan Richardson (guitar) and Chris Joyce (drums). Their first single, released in 1985, was “Money’s Too Tight (To Mention)”, a cover of a soul standard originally recorded by The Valentine Brothers. This single had moderate success, reaching the UK Top 20.

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