Mick Hucknall

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Mick Hucknall
Simply Red crop.jpg
Hucknall performing in 2009
Background information
Birth name Michael James Hucknall
Born (1960-06-08) 8 June 1960 (age 58)
Manchester, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
  • piano
Years active 1979–present
Associated acts
Website simplyred.com

Michael James Hucknall[1] (born 8 June 1960) is an English singer and songwriter. Hucknall achieved international fame in the 1980s as the lead singer and songwriter of the soul-influenced pop band Simply Red, with whom he enjoyed a 25-year career and sold over 50 million albums. Hucknall has been described as "one of the truly great blue-eyed soul singers".[2]

Early life[edit]

Hucknall, born at St Mary's Hospital, Manchester,[3][4] was an only child. His mother abandoned the family when he was three; the upheaval caused by this event inspired him to write "Holding Back the Years", which would become one of Simply Red's biggest and best-known hits. He was brought up by his father, Reginald (1935–2009),[5] a barber in Stockport.[6] He attended Audenshaw School.[7] It would not be until the mid-1990s that he would finally reconnect with his mother, Maureen, who was by then living in Dallas.[8] As of a 2008 interview, he had only seen her on two occasions since she first abandoned the family.[9]

Music career[edit]

Hucknall in 2010

Hucknall was among the people present at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester in June 1976 where the Sex Pistols were playing.[10] His interest in the music scene led to the launch of his career in the late 1970s, when he was part of the formation of the band Frantic Elevators.

The Frantic Elevators released four singles, including a version of "Holding Back the Years", which he later recorded with Simply Red.

As lead singer and core member of Simply Red, he became the identifiable face of the band. His face and long curly red hair were featured prominently on album artwork and in videos.

In 1997 Hucknall won an Outstanding Achievement award from the Music of Black Origin Awards (MOBO Awards) despite being white.[11]

Hucknall is also one of the founders and financial backers of the successful reggae label Blood and Fire. He also manages the record label simplyred.com.

In October 2007, on David Jensen's show on the Gold network, he announced Simply Red would split in 2009.[12]

In 2008 Hucknall released his first solo album Tribute to Bobby, a tribute to the blues musician Bobby "Blue" Bland.[13]

In June 2009, Hucknall took part in Songbook as part of the Sky Arts series, whereby music artists reflect on their favourite compositions and their background history in music.[citation needed]

In October 2009, Mick appeared at a charity performance as vocalist for a re-formed version of Faces, replacing Rod Stewart. In May 2010, it was announced that the new Faces line-up with Mick as frontman would be performing festival shows in 2010, followed by a world tour in 2011.[14] In October 2011, Hucknall was awarded with a BASCA Gold Badge award in recognition of his contribution to music.[15]

In October 2012, he released American Soul, a collection of his favourite music re-recorded with his vocals. During a series of interviews promoting the American Soul album, Hucknall revealed that he has also been working on an album of original material, to be released after American Soul has reached the end of its life cycle.


Hucknall is active in politics and is a prominent celebrity supporter of the UK Labour Party. In 1997, he declared his support for the Labour Party at that year's general election – which it won by a landslide under the leadership of Tony Blair to return to government after 18 years in opposition.[16] In 1998 Hucknall was named in a list of those who donated more than £5,000 to the party.[17] In 2003, Hucknall backed Tony Blair's stance on Operation Iraqi Freedom, claiming he had "more respect for Blair than ever" and pointed out that British critics of the war were lucky to be living in a country where they could express their opinions.[8] However, he claimed in 2008 that his conscience prevented him from donating to the party again because of the war, although he would still vote for them.[18]

Hucknall has commented that derogatory references to his red hair are a form of bigotry.[19]

Hucknall was a guest on the panel for the BBC's political discussion series Question Time, broadcast on 27 March 2014, and declared his support for same-sex marriage.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Hucknall and his partner, Gabriella Wesberry, had a daughter, Romy True Hucknall, in June 2007.[21] Hucknall and Wesberry married in 2010, at the 16th-century Forter Castle in Glenisla, Perthshire, Scotland.[22] He spends a considerable amount of time in Ireland, where he purchased the Glenmore Estate near the village of Cloghan, County Donegal, with bandmate Chris De Margary. Hucknall and De Margary are keen fishermen, and operate a fishing and hunting tourism business from the estate.[23][24] In March 2014, Hucknall settled the hunting and fishing rights lawsuit, ongoing for 5 years, with a neighbour in Ireland. As the case opened in 2009, Judge O'Hagan had instructed both sides to go away and talk about reaching an agreement or else it would drag on for years.[25]

He co-owns Ask Property Development, a company that constructs city squares and public buildings.[26]

He spends much time in Catania, Sicily, where he produces wines under the label "Il Cantante" (The Singer).[27]

Hucknall is a Manchester United fan.[28]

Solo discography[edit]


Year Album Chart positions Certifications
2008 Tribute to Bobby

  • Released: 19 May 2008
18 39 37 25 23 29
2012 American Soul

  • Released: 29 October 2012
6 11 12 22 15 18 Gold (BPI)


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
2008 "Poverty" Tribute to Bobby
"Farther Up the Road"
2011 "Happy This Christmas" Non-album single
2012 "That's How Strong My Love Is" 118 American Soul

Other appearances[edit]

In 1986, he provided backup vocals for the musical film Little Shop of Horrors.

Year Song Album
1999 "Ain't That a Lot of Love" Reload (with Simply Red and Tom Jones)
2002 "T-Bone Shuffle" Jools Holland's Big Band Rhythm & Blues[31]
2012 "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" Jools Holland And His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra – The Golden Age Of Song
Year Song Album
1997 "Someday in my Life" Leggera (Mina)
2012 "One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)" Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International
2015 "Streets of Arklow" Duets: Re-Working The Catalogue (Van Morrison)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hucknall Michael James". Broadcast Music, Inc. Retrieved 14 November 2014. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Leeden, Trevor J. "Mick Hucknall – American Soul". Rhythms. Archived from the original on 15 October 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "BIOGRAPHY: Mick Hucknall". Lifetime. Archived from the original on 18 November 2014. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Michael Hucknall". Findmypast. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "Reginald Hucknall 1935–2009 R.I.P." Mick Hucknall – Simply Red – Official Site. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  6. ^ Davies, Hugh (19 June 2001). "Simply Red star cleared after arrest for rape". The Daily Telegraph. UK. Retrieved 11 October 2008. 
  7. ^ Cassidy, Sarah (9 August 2008). "Traditional values pay off for school with best results". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 5 October 2008. 
  8. ^ a b Ellen, Barbara (23 March 2003). "The mother of all bachelors". The Observer. London. 
  9. ^ 2008 Mick Hucknall Exclusive article
  10. ^ Hodgkinson, Will (21 March 2003). "What thrills me". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 5 October 2008. 
  11. ^ Staff writer (20 September 2006). "Are the Mobos good for black music?". BBC News. Retrieved 24 December 2017. 
  12. ^ "Pop group Simply Red to split up". BBC News. 24 October 2007. 
  13. ^ "BBC music review of Tribute to Bobby". 20 May 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2008. 
  14. ^ "Hucknall named Faces new singer". 
  15. ^ "Gold Badge Awards in pictures". M Magazine. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2018. /
  16. ^ Matthews, Jenny (21 April 2005). "Who's backing whom at the election?". BBC News. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  17. ^ "'Luvvies' for Labour". BBC News. 30 August 1998. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 
  18. ^ Hastings, Chris (20 April 2008). "Mick Hucknall has nothing to hide any more". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  19. ^ Richard Jinman, 5 July 2003, "Taking the Mick" , Sydney Morning Herald, Archived 8 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ "BBC hears how over 600,000 ignored on gay marriage". The Christian Institute. 28 March 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  21. ^ "Mick Hucknall and Gabriella Westberry Are Having a Baby" Archived 19 March 2007 at Archive.is Dot Spotter
  22. ^ Culley, Maureen (29 May 2010). "Mick Hucknall marries in exclusive Scottish ceremony". Daily Mail. UK. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  23. ^ "Mick Hucknall in dispute over rights on Donegal estate" (requires paid subscription to view the full article). The Irish Times. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  24. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin (5 December 2009). "Something got him started: Hucknall takes neighbour to court". The Independent. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  25. ^ "Simply Red duo settle hunting and fishing rights case". The Irish Times. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  26. ^ Boulos, Nick (20 December 2009). "Fame & Fortune: Mick Hucknall". The Sunday Times. UK. Retrieved 2 August 2010. 
  27. ^ "Mick's red is not so simple". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 April 2004. Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  28. ^ "Simply Dread! Fergie and Hucknall holding back the tears after late Fulham equaliser". Daily Mail. 10 February 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  29. ^ a b c d e f Mick Hucknall at acharts.us acharts.us
  30. ^ Peak chart positions for singles in the United Kingdom:
  31. ^ Koda, Cub. Jools Holland's Big Band Rhythm & Blues – Jools Holland at AllMusic. Retrieved 25 November 2011.

External links[edit]