80’s Mania Mondays: Wasted All Those Years

This is probably an easy one to guess from the title. The lyrics are pretty memorable; so much so it was difficult to try and pick one that wouldn’t jump out at you.

The act could technically be included as part of the 80’s British Invasion, but they sounded quite different than many of those memorable groups and artists. This band had a sense of R&B mixed in with their pop sound. And in Mick Hucknall, a very soulful lead singer. His vocal and thissong turned into their first big hit.

Today’s 80’s Mania Monday song is “Holding Back The Years” by Simply Red.

Simply Red was formed from the ashes of a band called the Frantic Elevators, formed in 1977 after a concert by the Sex Pistols. The group were together for seven years, releasing several local singles and getting some local acclaim but never making a big break internationally. The last single the group made was a version of “Holding Back The Years.” Hucknall took that song and re-made it, and that’s the version that we know and love today.

Hucknall and his new manager, Elliot Rashman, assembled a group of local session musicians and started making new music. Naming the new group Simply Red, they were signed by Elektra Records in 1985 and began recording their debut album, Picture Book. The first single released by the new group, a remake of the Valentine Brothers'”Money’s Too Tight To Mention,” was fairly successful in the UK and Ireland, then became a top 30 hit in the U.S. after today’s song hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Reminiscent of one of the old soul ballads, the song began rise to fame of Simply Red and Hucknall as well. By the time Simply Red split up in 2010, Hucknall was the only original member left; many of the group’s later albums were performed by session musicians, with Hucknall’s vocals. Today’s song has produced a number of covers, with quite a few having been done by R&B and Smooth Jazz artists, such as Angie Stone, Alyson Williams, Pieces Of A Dream, Randy Crawford, The Isley Brothers and Rick Braun. In 2015, Hucknall reformed Simply Red with new musicians primarily for touring: first for a 30th Anniversary tour in 2015, and a 25th Anniversary tour for the release of their album Stars, which proved to be their biggest international hit (it didn’t do quite as well in the United States).

Even today, this song still resonates with me; I can remember getting the album while I was in college on the strength of this song alone. There are other cuts from the album that still stick with me, and I followed the group with their subsequent albums, with A New Flame and the aforementioned Stars becoming two more of my favorites by Simply Red.

Do any of you have memories of this song? If so, leave them in the comments. As always, thanks for reading and listening.

25 Replies to “80’s Mania Mondays: Wasted All Those Years”

  1. Holding Back the Years….every time it came on, you couldn’t help but sing along with it. However, it’s not my fav of theirs. I am partial to their song, Stars. The lyrics really grab you. “I want to fall from the stars, straight into your arms..” It doesn’t get anymore romantic than that, imho!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Susan, I will agree with you. In fact, the Stars album is my favorite by them. Unfortunately, it was released in 1991, so it kinda misses the mark for this series.

      They have a few other songs from the 80s that I like just as much as “Holding Back The Years.” I actually think “You Got It” from A New Flame, is better. I chose this because so many people had covered it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmm. I’ll definitely make note of this for future reference! True Story: when I heard about Jarreau’s passing, I mentally noted to do something about him for Tuesday. It may be part of my usual #RomanticTuesday, but I’m thinking it will be a bit more wide-ranging than that.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a cassette tape of the Simply Red album with this song on it and I totally WORE IT OUT from playing it in my car. The girls I carpooled with threatened to kill me if I played it any more. Thanks for bringing back that memory. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joan, I had that same cassette tape and I wore my copy out too. It wasn’t just this song; there was “Heaven,” which I likened to one of those old soul classic ballads my mom used to play. Really the whole thing was so good, there was no skipping while it was playing. I don’t know if I irritated my dorm mates because I played it a lot there, though!

      You’re very welcome for the flashback, too!

      Liked by 1 person

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