Michael James Hucknall, commonly known as Mick 'Red' Hucknall, was the lead singer of the British soul-pop band 'Simply Red'.
Mick was born in St Mary's Hospital, Manchester and, after living very briefly in Bredbury, his family settled in Denton, a working class area to the east of Manchester city centre. Mick attended Audenshaw School and has always been a staunch Manchester United supporter.
Mick was raised single-handedly by his father Reg, who was barber by profession. His mother, Maureen, left when Mick was only three years old. Mick’s incredibly close to his father and still stays with him whenever he is in Manchester.
Mick has said that being abandoned by his mother and being bullied at school left him with huge insecurities. He has tried to remedy this by recreating a sense of self-worth, partly through being on stage.
He met his mum only once, when she asked to see him before she died. Mick didn't want a relationship with her, as he was concerned for his father’s feelings. He thought it would be a kick in the teeth to his father if he did form a relationship with her, after all his father’s hard work over the years as a single parent.
Mick’s dad wasn't a fan of his music and apparently told him to become a marine biologist, but luckily he followed his heart and a legend was created.
He began his music career in the late 1970s by forming the punk-inspired 'Frantic Elevators'. The band released four singles, including a version of ‘Holding Back The Years’, which he later recorded with 'Simply Red'. Mick’s fondest memory of his time with the 'Frantic Elevators' was being ‘severely gobbed on in Middlesborough’ which apparently was a mark of respect!
Following the split of 'Frantic Elevators', Mick formed 'Simply Red', in 1984, with 3 ex-members of ‘Durutti Column’. The group signed to Elektra Records in 1985 and released 'Picture Book' in October that year.
The single ‘Holding Back The Years’ caused the 'Picture Book' album to go platinum, and made the group one of the major successes of 1986.
The album ‘A New Flame’ (1989) went gold due to the cover of the 1972 Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes hit 'If You Don't Know Me By Now', which hit number one and became a gold single.
Simply Red’s line up has changed dramatically over the years. By the 90s 'Simply Red' effectively became Mick Hucknall accompanied by various musicians.
‘Stars’ was the best-selling album of 1991 topping the charts for 19 weeks, and spawned the Top Ten hits 'Stars' and 'For Your Babies' and the Top 40 hits ‘Something Got Me Started,’ ‘Thrill Me,’ and ‘Your Mirror.’
Worldwide, ‘Stars’ sold eight-and-a-half million copies by the second quarter of 1993 and outsold much-hyped efforts by Michael Jackson, U2, Dire Straits and Guns N'Roses.
Life (1995) proved more of a success at home than in America. The band returned to the charts in 1996 and 1997 with cover versions of Aretha Franklin's 'Angel' and Gregory Isaacs' 'Night Nurse'.
The Album released in 1999, 'Love And The Russian Winter', was branded a failure in the press and broke the band's run of UK chart-toppers.
Mick broke away from mainstream record labels and set up his own simplyred.com where he released the album ‘Home’ in 2003.
He had previously set up reggae label ‘Blood and Fire’ in 1993 with Steve Barrow, Bob Harding, Elliot Rashman and Andy Dodd. They wanted to bring the standard of reggae reissues up to the level of the best in jazz, blues, R&B and to ensure that both artists and producers were paid for their work.
Mick is as famous for his personal life as he is his music. He is renowned for his ability to attract beautiful women, despite once being voted Sky One’s No. 1 British celebrity minger!
He has slept with hundreds of women but has only had three proper relationships, one of which, most famously, was with Catherine Zeta-Jones.
After the split, they stayed friends and Mick went to Catherine’s wedding to Michael Douglas and performed an impromptu "super group" on stage with Art Garfunkel, Gladys Knight and Bonnie Tyler.
Mick loves being a bachelor and stories of threesomes and other shenanigans are commonplace in the media. Mick isn’t bothered by kiss-and-tell stories; however he was once at the centre of a rape allegation where he was found to be completely innocent. He feels that he will always be guilty by implication and that he’ll never see an end to it being written about.
Mick attributes his mother's desertion to be the root of his reluctance to marry - "I might come from a broken home, but I don't want to create another one!". In June 2007 Mick and his partner Gabriella Wesberry had a daughter, Romy True Hucknall and in May 2010 the couple married in Scotland.
Simply Red announced they were to quit in 2010 after a farewell tour.