The British Pop group Simply Red will hit twelve stages in Germany, Switzerland and Austria in 2020. The bad news is that it will take six months until it finally happens.
In 1977, The Frantic Elevators were founded. This Punk band delivered tunes that pretty much took the opposite approach of Simply Red. Why would this matter at all? Because a man named Mick Hucknall was the front man of The Frantic Elevators before he founded the other band in 1985.
The new act he established with Elliot Rashman in 1985 was named after the color of Hucknall’s hair. But ‘Red’ was not enough, to his opinion. That is why he added the word ‘Simply’. The rest is history. Simply Red became Hucknall’s life project. Hardly any band on the face of the Earth sells 50 million albums. But they did.
What Simply Red delivered had absolutely nothing to do with aggressive or depressive Punk. High-quality Pop music with Soul and Funk elements would be an accurate description of their music. In the mid-1980s, it was about time for some uplifting sounds when Simply Red came along.
‘Rhythms’ magazine accurately called Mick Hucknall “one of the truly great blue-eyed Soul singers” many years ago. Apart from him, there are not many artists who fit that description. Singers like Van Morrison, Boz Scaggs, Bobby Caldwell or David Clayton Thomas may be in Hucknall’s category, but took different approaches and do not sound like him. Nobody does.
Simply Red’s first album ‘Picture Book’ made landfall in 1985, with hits like ‘Holding Back the Years’, ‘Money’s Too Tight to Mention’ and ‘Look at You Now’. The next recordings were partially even more successful. Of course the group started touring like crazy and sold out most venues because they were brilliant, and due to the fact that Simply Red appealed to regular Pop fans and Soul lovers alike, meaning their audiences consisted of both radio listeners and quality music folks.
‘Blue Eyed Soul’ is Simply Red’s 12th album. It was released in the summer of 2019, nine years after the band was disbanded, and four years after it was re-formed. On this latest recording, Mick Hucknall and the band took the James Brown approach (‘Thinking of You’) and they came up with good Soul ballads like ‘Sweet Child’.
All in all, the latest album might be a little sterile from the perspective of die-hard Soul and Funk lovers like the author of these lines, and it contains parts that might sound a little too familiar. But Mick Hucknall does a great job, as he always has. His voice saves the album. He is not just Simply Red, but simply great.
The Entire Continent
It gets better: Simply Red are coming to Austria, Germany and Switzerland. As many as twelve concerts have been scheduled in the German-speaking world. After ‘doing’ the United Kingdom from Newcastle to London, they will hit Hamburg on October 29th, 2020. Hanover and Leipzig are next.
In November of 2020, Berlin, Dortmund, Cologne and Frankfurt are listed on the tour plan. So are Mannheim, Munich, Stuttgart, Vienna and Zurich. On top of these cities, Simply Red will also appear in Antwerp, Amsterdam, Paris, Milan, Bratislava, Prag, Budapest and Warsaw. In short: They will cover the entire continent, if Corona lets them. One of two Amsterdam gigs is already sold out.