Simply Red to split

Simply Red is splitting up a quarter of a century after the band was formed, Mick Hucknall revealed today.

Simply Red is splitting up a quarter of a century after the band was formed, Mick Hucknall revealed today.

Announcing the end of the pop and soul group, Hucknall, 47, who recently became a father for the first time, said that 25 years was "long enough for anybody".

Simply Red first made their mark on the UK charts with the single 'Money's Too Tight (to Mention)', which reached number 13 in 1985.

Hucknall was inspired to form the band after watching the Sex Pistols perform at the legendary 1976 Lesser Free Trade gig in Manchester.

Hucknall's first outfit, The Frantic Elevators, split after seven years in 1984.

In the same year, Simply Red was formed with local session musicians.

The band's name was inspired by Hucknall's love of Manchester United, his Left-leaning political affiliations and the colour of his hair.

The band became an international chart-topping success, with hits like 'Holding Back The Years', 'If You Don't Know Me By Now', 'Fairground', and 'Stars', selling more than 50 million albums.

In recent years, the line-up has changed and their success has failed to match that of earlier times.

'Stay', which came out this year, was the band's third album to be released under their own label, and reached number four in the UK charts.

Today Hucknall said 'Stay' would be Simply Red's final studio album, and they would split after a tour already planned for 2009.

Hucknall told Gold Radio: "There will be an end to Simply Red. I've kind of decided that the 25 years is going to be enough, so I intend that the 2009 will be the last Simply Red tour."

Hucknall said: "I've just recorded an album that is a tribute to Bobby Bland, a blues and R&B artist.

"It's a solo project and I've really enjoyed it so much that I feel the time has come now to just put a book-end to the story and the album 'Stay' will be the last Simply Red studio album.

"The song 'The World And You Tonight' (released last month) will be the last Simply Red single release.

"I feel good with that, I feel very comfortable with that," he said.

"It's not a very big deal but I can't change the music under the name of Simply Red and the second half of the 'Stay' album has an edgier feel and I want to explore that side more.

"I want to be more influenced by R&B of the 60s and try my slant on it, and try to invent a new form of music.

"It's a big challenge but I can't do it under the name of Simply Red."

He said: "I just want to use my name from 2010 and try and explore something new that's got a bit more of an edge and a little more drive and I think that 25 years is long enough for anybody and I think it's worth celebrating in that sense."

Girlfriend Gabriella Wesberry gave birth to Hucknall's first daughter Romy True in June.

Hucknall once had a reputation as a womaniser, dating model Helena Christensen, actresses Tracy Shaw, Martine McCutcheon and Catherine Zeta Jones.

The singer is also not known for his self-effacement, recently saying: "I am one of the best singer-songwriters this country has produced. Ever.

"If people don't like me saying that, tough s***. You can't sell 50 million albums without something.

"Tom Jones told me only a few singers have got the pipes, and he's right. He has. Sinatra did. I have."

The interview on Gold Radio is broadcast on Saturday.

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