The group Simply Red, led by enigmatic singer Mick Hucknall, signed to Elektra Records and released "Picture Book" in 1985, featuring "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)," a Top 40 cover of a 1982 R&B chart single by the Valentine Brothers, and "Holding Back the Years," a Hucknall original that topped the US charts. The success of the single took the album platinum, and made the group one of the major successes of 1986.

The third album, "A New Flame" (February 1989), went gold due to the cover of the 1972 Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes hit "If You Don't Know Me By Now" that hit number one and became a gold single. "It's Only Love" and "A New Flame" also made the Top 40.