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Answers below – but don’t cheat!:
1. Which band recorded a sassy anti-Reaganite tune with the lyric, “We’re talkin’ about the dollar bill/And that old man that’s over the hill”?
2. Which band is forever linked to Molly Ringwald?
3. Which band’s lead singer had mad curly hair?
4. Which band’s lead singer was married to Chryssie Hynde?
5. Which band originated in Glasgow?
6. Which band formed as a result of seeing the Sex Pistols play live?
7. Which band had more #1 hits in the US?
1. SIMPLY RED. The song, called “Money’$ Too Tight to Mention,” is a hoot and a half for those of us who grumbled through the Reagan years (yes, even those of us who were too young to vote). Mick Hucknall, the singer and chief artistic force behind the group, even name drops the First Lady: “Yeah, I’m talkin’ Nancy.”
2. SIMPLE MINDS. The Breakfast Club. “Don’t You Forget About Me.” From “Go fix me a turkey pot pie!” to “Did ya slip her the hot beef injection?”, Judd Nelson’s finest celluloid hour. Shockingly, this movie is still good over two decades later. Let’s face it, Pretty in Pink doesn’t hold up well, and Sixteen Candles is actually an affront to humanity, The Geek notwithstanding. But the nerd, the jock, the princess, the freak and the criminal have proven immortal. (For the record, Simple Minds did not write “Don’t You Forget About Me,” and the song was actually offered to Billy Idol first. That would have been…something.)
3. BOTH. Hucknall’s hair was more plentiful and, as in the band’s name, red, but Jim Kerr rocked his own slightly effeminizing mop as well…which makes the answer to the following question especially interesting… (BTW, Brits are insanely prejudiced against redheads in a way that suggests a collective form of retardation. British comics tell jokes about “gingers” and send their audiences into fits of laughter so inappropriate you almost feel like you’re watching a Nazi-era performance of The Merchant of Venice.)
4. SIMPLE MINDS. I have never quite been able to wrap my mind around this. Chryssie Hynde seems far, far too badass to have consorted with the guy who flailed around in an oversized trench coat in all those videos, but there’s a kid to prove it. Kerr must have some amazing kind of magnetism going on, because after he and Chryssie divorced, he got together with blonde British bombshell Patsy Kensit. After that marriage broke up, Patsy wed Oasis singer Liam Gallagher. So Chryssie Hynde’s privates are only two degrees of separation from those of Oasis. The implications are frightening.
5. SIMPLE MINDS. Perhaps there is something in the water in Scotland that makes even the wimpy weirdos among their men irresistible to women? Or is it just the burr?
6. SIMPLY RED. Not that you could tell it from their eventual musical output, which established them as Britain’s premier blue-eyed soul group of the 1980s, but Mick Hucknall was present at the Pistols’ legendary 1976 Manchester gig, along with Morrissey and future founders of the Buzzcocks and Joy Division, all of whom got inspired to be rock stars. (Let us pause and offer up a prayer to whatever gods there are that this gig took place.)
7. SIMPLY RED. Simple Minds hit #1 in America only once, thanks to Judd, Molly and Emilio. Simply Red managed it twice, with “Holding Back the Years” (a.k.a. the “years/tears/keep holding on” song) and a cover of R&B classic “If You Don’t Know Me by Now.” Seems like cheating somehow.