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24 September 2014
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Simply Red
Vintage, titian-locked lothario, Mick Hucknall dropped in to discuss fine wines, hair-dos and the new album.

What's it like to be back on TOTP
Mick Hucknall: It's great. I hope I'm on in another ten years.

Do you remember the first time that you were on TOTP?
Mick Hucknall: It was 1985 and the song was 'Money's Too Tight To Mention'.

Were you nervous?
Mick Hucknall: Probably. I've always sung it live and I find that easier. I'm not very good at lip-synching.

Are there any particular memories you have of the show?
Mick Hucknall: I think the overall memory would be the variation of hairstyles from 1985 to now. When I got an Ivor Novello last year they put up pictures from when I first started and the bit that freaked me out was the hairstyles. I was in complete shock. Some of them were quite ridiculous.

This is your first album of the Millenium. What have you been up to since the last one in 1999?
Mick Hucknall: This album has taken me two years to make. It took me eight months to write the songs and the rest of the time to record and mix the album. I spent a year in Southern Italy, working out and making wine. The first batch comes out in November. I'm quite excited about that.

What's it going to be called?
Mick Hucknall: 'Il Cantante' which is Italian for 'The Singer'.

Not 'Simply Red'?
Mick Hucknall: That's a bit supermarket, isn't it. I'm not making that many bottles.

Tell us more about your record label.
Mick Hucknall: When we did the album 'Blue' I started to talking to my manager about where I was going to go when I got out of contract. Over the years I became more disillusioned over the money I was paying for the recordings and then I didn't own them. That really bothers me. I wanted to devise a way that whatever I paid for I owned, which I think is fair enough. I wanted to start up a little cottage industry. If you start small then it can only get bigger. We're a little indie label and it's going pretty well.

  Simply Red  
  "That's a bit supermarket, isn't it. I'm not making that many bottles. "  
  Robin Gibb  
  "There's been great moments both as a songwriter and as a performer."  
  Paul Roberts - The Stranglers  
  "We certainly weren't going to call ourselves The Bay City Rollers."  
  Lisa Stansfield  
  "I just thought, how many times do I have to sing this song?"  
  Soft Cell  
  "I think it's the only time that a banjo's been played in the Ministry of Sound."  
  "Agnetha said she liked it. If I met them I would curtsey."  
  "We really surprised lots of people by simply hanging in there."  
  Kim Wilde  
  "I used to be really jealous of Claire Grogan...I thought she was gorgeous."  
  "Failure was not an option, we were materialistic and greed was good."  
  Human League  
  "We did a US tour with Culture Club and Howard Jones...solely for the cash."  
  Altered Images  
  "Women were treated as a bit of a novelty in the music business in 1981."  
  Belle Stars  
  "The pop music lark just seems like a lifetime away now."  
  Steve Strange  
  "Look, you’re playing me like a bitchy queen and I’m not like that."  
  Five Star  
  "We all grew up wanting to be famous and we lived our dream..."  
  Phillip from Ruby Flipper  
  "At my age, I'd find it difficult to get my legs where they used to go..."  
  Glen Campbell  
  "I got to work with literally everyone in the business; Nat King Cole, Sinatra..."  
  David Gray  
  "Lots of tension in the camp. We're battling Gareth Gates for the No.1 spot"  
  Robert Palmer  
  "There's this homegenised force feeding of what is hip."  
  "I think George manipulated our relationship for publicity"  
  Tom Jones  
  "I'm pulling all my old jewellery out now and comparing my rings with Wyclef"  
  Ruth From Pan's People  
  "I could show you dozens of times I forgot the moves..."  
  Badly Drawn Boy  
  "Everybody has to do what everybody else does in order to have a hit single"  
  John Otway  
  "I think the music business is probably not happy with what we've done..."  
  Jimmy Cliff  
  "I look at someone like Ms Dynamite, I come away with a positive feeling."  
  Human League  
  "We wouldn't trust anyone that didn't wear eyeliner."  
  Status Quo  
  "I probably went about four or five years with a pair of stage jeans"  
  Gary Numan  
  "There are so many things in my past that you could make fun of."  
  McAlmont and Butler  
  "We were big enough to get over any-thing that may have been exchanged."  
  Primal Scream  
  "The producer at the time told us we'd never work again."  
  "I prefer miming, I prefer if we weren’t playing live."  

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