Can't Hold Back The Years

Like it or not, it's been 25 since Simply Red's hit in this week's Forgotten Videos
  • Simply Red's Mick Hucknall in "Holding Back The Years"
June 02, 2011 -- 7:00 am PDT
GRAMMY.com

Welcome to Forgotten Videos. For some, these videos are forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Whichever category you fall into, each week we'll feature a video that's possibly been collecting dust when what it really deserves is a fresh look. Or vice-versa…. We're not here to judge, we just want to take you on a little trip down memory lane. Yep, you'll remember when hair was really that big, when drums were that up front in the mix, when video was young(er) and so were you.

Simply Red
"Holding Back The Years"
1986

When we first see Simply Red lead singer Mick Hucknall in the video for the band's most memorable hit, "Holding Back The Years," he's packing part of his collection of…cassette tapes. Yes, try as he might, there's no holding back the years after all.

But as we enter the second decade of digital music, this bit of Brit soul has held up quite nicely. Pulled from the group's first album, Picture Book, the song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and its understated soulfulness still sounds timeless, especially for a mid-'80s, MTV-era recording.

Hucknall and his mates — bassist Tony Bowers, drummer Chris Joyce and keyboardist/brass player Tim Kellett (all three former members of the experimental rock group Durutti Column), along with guitarist Sylvan Richardson and keyboardist Fritz McIntyre — formed Simply Red in Manchester, England, in 1984 with a penchant for American soul and Hucknall's signature mane of floppy red curls.

Their first single, "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)," was a remake of an uncharted '80s album track by R&B group the Valentine Brothers. It hit No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100, helping Simply Red secure their lone U.S. platinum album.

For the remainder of Simply Red's career, the group was far more successful in their native England than in the United States. Though they took a cover of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes' "If You Don't Know Me By Now" to No. 1, they otherwise had little more American chart success. But at home their fourth album, 1991's Stars, became a huge hit. It was the year's best-selling album, topped the charts for 19 weeks and gave rise to Top 10 hits "Stars" and "For Your Babies," and Top 40 hits "Something Got Me Started," "Thrill Me" and "Your Mirror." Worldwide, it sold more than 8 million copies.

Judging from the video clip for "Holding…," the song is a melancholy recollection of the effects of a childhood that was unhappy in some unspecified way. Apparently, because Hucknall was "strangled by the wishes of pater." But he's holding on and riding into his equally unspecified future, one that would prove quite successful.  

Are you holding back the years? Strangled by the wishes of pater? Got any Forgotten Video recommendations? Leave us a comment.

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