After 25 years, Simply Red is now simply over; the British soul-pop band played their final show at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday, December 26, 2010. At the end of the final song of the evening, lead vocalist Mick Hucknall announced: “Good night, adios, Simply Red are no more,” before walking off stage. The farewell show was broadcast live in more than 70 movie theaters around Britain and many across Europe. The show opened with “Come To My Aid,” the opening track on the band’s debut album; Hucknall and a six-piece band followed with a 90-minute set featuring great tracks like “Stars”, “Sad Old Red”, “For Your Babies” and “The Right thing” – just a sampling of the pop hits and ballads that made Hucknall and Simply Red such a big success worldwide. It was Hucknall, 50, who founded Simply Red in 1984; from there its been 55 million records sold worldwide and 31 Top 40 singles in the UK alone. Earlier on in the performance, the smooth-singing Hucknall told the crowd: “I want to thank you so much for your support over the last 25 years. It’s been the most wonderful ride.” The Simply Red Farewell: The Final Tour began in April in Brazil. Since then, it has bounced all over the globe through Britain, Italy, Hong Kong, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg and finally landing at the O2 in London. There wasn’t much of a U.S. presence on the goodbye tour (see: none) because, frankly, Simply Red’s soulful/jazzy/romantic style never pushed them to mega status in the states. Popular, for sure, but not ’super duper popular.’ Everywhere else the band has remained ridiculously huge all these years, but in the U.S. just minor, especially when looking over their 25 years making music. They did have two #1 hits in the U.S., “Holding Back the Years” in 1986 and the Harold Melvin cover “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” in 1989. Both songs remain staples on adult contemporary radio. Predictably, yet perfectly, Hucknall closed the last show – and the book on Simply Red – with a gentle version of their timeless hit “Holding Back the Years,” performed solo on guitar.
Hucknall, who recently replaced Rod Stewart in a revamped version of The Faces, is now planning to start a solo career.