The British Pop group Simply Red was going to appear on twelve stages in Germany, Switzerland and Austria in late 2020. Corona messed up the endeavor. Now there are new dates.
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, Gino Vannelli 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, as always. Another way of putting it would be to say the latest album takes a ‘modern’ approach.
The Entire Continent
It gets better: Simply Red are coming to Austria, Germany and Switzerland. As many as twelve concerts in the German-speaking world needed to be rescheduled, thanks to a mean thing called Coronavirus. So, the whole thing will happen in 2021.
After ‘doing’ the United Kingdom from Newcastle to London, where they will be performing at the O2 twice in a row, they will head to Paris and Antwerp on October 29th and 30th, 2021. The eastern German city of Leipzig is next, on November 2nd.
Simply Red would not be Simply Red if they had not squeezed in yet another gig the next day. This time it will be Dortmund. Then it is Cologne’s and Hanover’s turn on November 4th and 6th. On November 8th, the group is scheduled to hit Berlin, where this publication is headquartered.
Even More Gigs
Hamburg is on the plan too. They will perform there on November 9th, before heading east, towards Lodz in Poland. After Amsterdam and Milan, Simply Red will be returning to Germany. They will be in Stuttgart on November 21st, before going to Zurich. That gig takes place on the 22nd.
On the 24th and 25th, Frankfurt and Mannheim are on the agenda. Vienna and Munich will be served on the 28th and 29th of November, just before Simply Red is in Eastern Europe again, in Budapest and Bratislava, on December 1st and 2nd, 2021. All of these gigs will take place, if Mr. Corona allows it.
By the way: The publication you are reading, The Berlin Spectator, was established in January of 2019. We have worked a whole lot, as you can see. But there has hardly been any income.
As of May 7th, 2020, we made an average of 74 Euro per month since starting the project, which is far from enough.
Would you consider contributing? We would be very thankful. If you like what we do and you want to support us, you can do so by clicking here (Paypal). Thank you so much!