Picture Book (Simply Red album)

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Picture Book
Studio album by Simply Red
Released October 1985
Recorded Soundpush Studios in Blaricum, the Netherlands
RAK Studios, London, 1985
Genre Pop rock, soft rock, blue-eyed soul
Length 44:21
Label Elektra
WEA Records
Producer Stewart Levine
Simply Red chronology
Picture Book
Men and Women
Singles from Picture Book
  1. "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)"
    Released: June 1985
  2. "Come to My Aid"
    Released: August 1985
  3. "Jericho"
    Released: February 1986
  4. "Holding Back the Years"
    Released: May 1986
  5. "Open Up the Red Box"
    Released: July 1986

Picture Book is the debut album by British pop group Simply Red, released in October 1985. It contains the #1 single "Holding Back the Years", the band's most successful single, and a cover of The Valentine Brothers' "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)". Three other singles were released from the album: "Come to My Aid", "Jericho", and "Open Up the Red Box". The album includes 'lively' and 'energetic' groove beats and ballad orientated keyboard undertones that help songs such as "Holding Back the Years" to be so effective. Members Tim Kellett and Fritz Mcintyre are acclaimed by Hucknall to be the most influential in the album based on the distinctive sound of their playing.

The album is included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. The album helped Simply Red earn a 1987 Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. "Holding Back The Years" was also nominated for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals.

The album has been commercially successful, appearing in the top 30 album charts of 12 different countries, and achieving platinum certification sales in four different countries, including America and the UK.


Robert Christgau felt there were only two good songs on the album, "Money’s Too Tight (to Mention)" and "Heaven", but that Hucknall and the band carry off the album "on mood and groove alone".[1]

William Ruhlmann in a retrospective review in Allmusic felt that Simply Red produced "a steady R&B groove reminiscent of '60s Stax house band the MG's" and that Hucknall was a "big-voiced soul singer".[2]

Andy Robbins, in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, writes that the album was led by the blue-eyed soul of the Valentine Brothers' song "Money’s Too Tight (To Mention)", though he feels that its commercial success in both America and the UK was due to Hucknall's own song, "Holding Back The Years" – the vocal performance of which he feels that Hucknall has never managed to equal.[3] As well as soul, Robbins feels that the album also contains rock influenced songs in "Look At You Now" and "No Direction", and jazz influenced songs in "Sad Old Red" and "Heaven".[3]

Track listing[edit]

Side one

  1. "Come to My Aid" (Mick Hucknall, Fritz McIntyre) – 4:03
  2. "Sad Old Red" (Hucknall) – 4:33
  3. "Look at You Now" (Hucknall) – 3:02
  4. "Heaven" (David Byrne, Jerry Harrison) – 4:32
  5. "Jericho" (Hucknall) – 6:03

Side two

  1. "Money's Too Tight (to Mention)" (John Valentine, William Valentine) – 4:13
  2. "Holding Back the Years" (Hucknall, Neil Moss) – 4:30
  3. "(Open Up the) Red Box" (Hucknall) – 3:56
  4. "No Direction" (Hucknall, Dave Fryman) – 3:41
  5. "Picture Book" (Hucknall, Fritz McIntyre) – 5:49

2008 Collector's Edition bonus tracks[edit]

Side one: remixes

  1. "Money’s Too Tight (to Mention)" (Valentine, Valentine) [The Cutback Mix] – 8:29
  2. "Come to My Aid" (Hucknall, McIntyre) [Survival Mix] – 6:40
  3. "Holding Back the Years" (Hucknall) [Extended Mix] – 5:48
  4. "Jericho" (Hucknall) [Extended Mix] – 6:47
  5. "Open Up the Red Box" (Hucknall) [Extended Mix] – 6:24

Side two: Live at Montreux Jazz Festival (8 July 1986)

  1. "Grandma's Hands" (Bill Withers)
  2. "Sad Old Red" (Hucknall)
  3. "Open Up the Red Box" (Hucknall)
  4. "The Right Thing" (Hucknall)
  5. "No Direction" (Hucknall, Fryman)
  6. "I Won’t Give Up" (Hucknall)
  7. "Holding Back the Years" (Hucknall, Neil Moss)
  8. "Picture Book" (Hucknall, McIntyre)
  9. "Love Fire" (Bunny Wailer)
  10. "Jericho" (Hucknall)
  11. "I Won't Feel Bad" (Hucknall, McIntyre, Tim Kellett, Chris Joyce, Tony Bowers, Sylvan Richardson)
  12. "Suffer" (Hucknall, Lamont Dozier)
  13. "Infidelity" (Hucknall, Dozier)
  14. "Money's Too Tight (to Mention)" (John Valentine, William Valentine)
  15. "Come to My Aid" (Hucknall, McIntyre)
  16. "Jericho" [Instrumental] (Hucknall)
  17. "Heaven" (Byrne, Harrison)
  18. "Move on Out" (Hucknall)
  19. "Look at You Now" (Hucknall)


Guest Musicians

  • Ian Dickson – tenor saxophone on "Jericho", "Sad Old Red" and "Heaven"
  • Ronnie Ross – baritone saxophone on "Jericho", "Sad Old Red" and "Heaven"
  • Francis Foster – congas on "Come to My Aid" and "Look at You Now"
  • David Fryman – guitar and backing vocals on "Open Up the Red Box"
  • Ian Kirkham - touring saxophonist and percussionist


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Austria (IFPI Austria)[4] Gold 25,000x
France (SNEP)[5] Gold 100,000[6]
Germany (BVMI)[7] 3× Gold 750,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[8] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[9] Platinum 50,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[10] 5× Platinum 1,500,000^
United States (RIAA)[11] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


Preceded by
Promise by Sade
New Zealand Chart number-one album
25 January – 1 February 1986
Succeeded by
Promise by Sade


  1. ^ Robert Christgau (2012). "Robert Christgau: CG: simply red". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  2. ^ William Ruhlmann (2012). "Picture Book – Simply Red : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Andy Robbins (5 Dec 2011). 1001 Albums: You Must Hear Before You Die. Hachette UK. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Simply Red – Picture Book" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter Simply Red in the field Interpret. Enter Picture Book in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  5. ^ "French album certifications – Simply Red – Picture Book" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  6. ^ "Les Albums Or". infodisc.fr. SNEP. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  7. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Simply Red; 'Picture Book')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  8. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Simply Red – Picture Book" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  9. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Simply Red; 'Picture Book')". Hung Medien. 
  10. ^ "British album certifications – Simply Red – Picture Book". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Picture Book in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  11. ^ "American album certifications – Simply Red – Picture Book". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  12. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  13. ^ "austriancharts.at Simply Red – Picture Book" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  14. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2011-10-31
  15. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Simply Red – Picture Book" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  16. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1986" (in Italian). hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 2011-10-12. 
  17. ^ "charts.org.nz Simply Red – Picture Book" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  18. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Simply Red – Picture Book" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  19. ^ "swedishcharts.com Simply Red – Picture Book" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  20. ^ "Simply Red – Picture Book – hitparade.ch" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  21. ^ "Chart Stats – Simply Red – Picture Book" (PHP). UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  22. ^ "allmusic ((( Picture Book > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  23. ^ "Album Search: Simply Red – Picture Book" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
  24. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1986". RPM. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  25. ^ "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  26. ^ "Billboard.BIZ – Year-end Charts – Billboard 200 – 1986". billboard.biz. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 

External links[edit]