Originally recorded by The Frantic Elevators (1982).
Hit version by Simply Red (UK #51 1985 |US #1/UK #1 1986).
From the wiki: “Frontman of Simply Red, Mick Hucknall, wrote the song when he was 17, while living at his father’s house. The chorus did not come to him until many years later. Hucknall’s mother left the family when he was three; the upheaval caused by this event inspired him to write the song. Hucknall’s early group, The Frantic Elevators, first recorded the song in 1982 and band member Neil Moss is co-credited with writing the song.
“The real success for ‘Holding Back the Years’ came after Hucknall’s next band, Simply Red, released its version and it remains the group’s most successful single, having reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the UK Singles Chart in 1986. (Their recording had initially been released in the UK the year before, reaching #51.) It remains one of 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):