Originally recorded by The Frantic Elevators (1982).
Hit version by Simply Red (UK #51/#8 BEL/#3 NETH 1985 |US #1/UK #2/CAN #6/IRE #1/AUS #22 1986).
From the wiki: “Frontman of Simply Red, Mick Hucknall, first began writing ‘Holding Back the Years’ when he was 17 while living at his father’s house. Hucknall’s mother left the family when he was three; the upheaval caused by this event later inspired him to write the song while he was a fine arts student at Manchester School of Art. The chorus did not come to him until many years later. Hucknall’s early group, The Frantic Elevators, first recorded the song in 1982. Bandmate Neil Moss was also co-credited with the song’s composition.
“The real success for ‘Holding Back the Years’ came after Hucknall’s next band, Simply Red, released its arrangement. It remains the group’s most successful single, though initially released in 1985 with modest results. Reissued in 1986, ‘Holding Back the Years’ topped the Billboard Hot 100, also going Top 10 in the UK and Canada. It remains one of only two Simply Red songs (the other being their cover of ‘If You Don’t Know Me by Now’) to reach #1 in the US.”
Simply Red, “Holding Back the Years” (1985):