Michael James "Mick" Hucknall (born 8 June 1960) is an English pop singer and songwriter. Formerly the lead singer of the modestly successful punk rock band the Frantic Elevators, Hucknall achieved international fame in the 1980s as the lead singer and songwriter of the soul-influenced pop band Simply Red, with whom he enjoyed a 25-year career and eventually sold over 50 million albums. Hucknall is recognisable for his smooth, distinctive voice and wide vocal range, as well as his red curly hair. He has been described by critic Trevor J. Leeden as "one of the truly great blue-eyed soul singers".
Hucknall was born at St Mary's Hospital in Manchester, as an only child. His mother left him when he was three; the upheaval caused by this event inspired him to write "Holding Back the Years," which would become one of Simply Red's biggest and best-known hits. He was brought up by his father, Reginald (1935-2009), a barber in Stockport. He attended Audenshaw School. It would not be until the mid-1990s that he would finally reconnect with his mother, Maureen, who was by then living in Dallas. As of a 2008 interview, he had only seen her on two occasions since she first abandoned the family.
Hucknall was among the people present at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester in June 1976 where the Sex Pistols were playing. His interest in the music scene led to the launch of his career in the late 1970s, when he was part of the formation of the band Frantic Elevators.
The Frantic Elevators released four singles, including a version of "Holding Back the Years", which he later recorded with Simply Red.
As lead singer and core member of Simply Red, he became the identifiable face of the band. His face and long curly red hair were featured prominently on album artwork and in videos.
Hucknall is also one of the founders and financial backers of the successful reggae label Blood and Fire. He also manages the record label simplyred.com.
In October 2007, on David Jensen's show on the Gold network, he announced Simply Red would split in 2009.
On 19 May 2008 Hucknall released his first solo album Tribute to Bobby, a tribute to the blues musician Bobby "Blue" Bland.
In June 2009, Hucknall took part in Songbook as part of the Sky Arts series, whereby music artists reflect on their favourite compositions and their background history in music.
In October 2009, Mick appeared at a charity performance as vocalist for a re-formed version of Faces, replacing Rod Stewart. In May 2010, it was announced that the new Faces line-up with Mick as frontman would be performing festival shows in 2010, followed by a world tour in 2011.
In October 2012, he released American Soul, a collection of his favourite music re-recorded with his vocals. During a series of interviews promoting the American Soul album, Hucknall revealed that he has also been working on an album of original material, to be released after American Soul has reached the end of its life cycle.
Hucknall is active in politics and is a prominent celebrity supporter of the UK Labour Party. In 1997, he declared his support for the Labour Party at that year's general election - which it won by a landslide under the leadership of Tony Blair to return to government after 18 years in opposition. In 1998 Hucknall was named in a list of those who donated more than £5,000 to the party. In 2003, Hucknall backed Tony Blair's stance on Operation Iraqi Freedom, claiming he had "more respect for Blair than ever" and pointed out that British critics of the war were lucky to be living in a country where they could express their opinions. However, he claimed in 2008 that his conscience prevented him from donating to the party again because of the war, although he would still vote for them.
Hucknall has commented that derogatory references to his red hair are a form of bigotry.
Hucknall was a guest on the panel for the BBC's political discussion series Question Time, broadcast on 27 March 2014, and declared his support for same-sex marriage.
Hucknall and his partner, Gabriella Wesberry, had a daughter, Romy True Hucknall, in June 2007. Hucknall and Wesberry married on 25 May 2010, at the 16th-century Forter Castle in Glenisla, Perthshire, Scotland. He spends a considerable amount of time in Ireland, where he purchased the Glenmore Estate near the village of Cloghan, County Donegal, with bandmate Chris De Margary. Hucknall and De Margary are keen fishermen, and operate a fishing and hunting tourism business from the estate.
He co-owns Ask Property Development, a company that constructs city squares and public buildings.
He spends much time in Catania, Sicily, where he produces wines under the label "Il Cantante" (The Singer).
Hucknall is a Manchester United fan.
He has dated a handful of celebrities throughout his career. In 2010, Hucknall admitted that in his most successful years, between 1985 and 1987, he would have sex with about three women a day and described himself as a sex addict.
See also: Simply Red discography
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