If You Don't Know Me By Now - Simply Red

If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Simply Red | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop(#1) & Adult Contemporary; 1989

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

1972 was a banner year for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who’s new label placed three singles in the pop Top 10, all of which hit #1 on the R&B side: Me And Mrs. Jones, Backstabbers, and If You Don’t Know Me By Now. For the latter, Gamble and Huff drew upon their real-life marital problems to craft a stunning ballad originally slated for The Dells. When that deal fell through, Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes – with drummer Teddy Pendergrass on lead vocals – scored their first crossover hit with it. Sixteen-plus years later Manchester, England’s Mick Hucknall and his band Simply Red decided to cover Teddy’s classic on their third album. Whereas Gamble and Huff framed Teddy’s voice with one of their majestic productions, Red producer Stewart Levine scaled things back so Hucknall’s vocal was very front and center. On July 15th, Simply Red slid into the top slot, besting the Blue Notes’ #3 peak, and helping G&H grab a Grammy for Best R&B Song.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produce by:

  • Stewart Levine

Lyrics Written by:

  • Kenny Gamble
  • Leon Huff


  • Nominated for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at the 30th Annual Grammy Awards in 1988