As a babe of the 80s my knowledge of Frankie Goes To Hollywood isn’t just limited to that Virgin Atlantic ad. Although admittedly my childhood music taste was mainly limited to one perfectly formed Aussie Pop Temptress.
However I’ve always been excited by great melodies and interesting, progressive lyrics (especially if they are – shall we say – sexually suggestive), which FGTH and the masterful productions of Trevor Horn have in spades.
The sounds of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s 3 mega hits, ‘Relax’, ‘Power Of Love’ and ‘Two Tribes’ perfectly encapsulate all that was supreme of 80’s music. Frankie Said, released on the band’s original label ZTT is the perfect addition or entry-level collection to FGTH’s music, packaged beautifully in monocrome and gold, with a 12 page booklet.
The collection contains 16 tracks including 12 inch remixes of ‘Two Tribes’, ‘Relax’ and a beautiful lush string arrangement of ‘The Power Of Love’. Seven of the 16 tracks are previously unreleased.
It’s hard to understand in progressive 2012 why ‘Relax’ was banned by the BBC in 1984, when you compare it with what’s currently making the top spot in music today. However, homosexuality was still deeply frowned upon in the 80s and the sight of the band’s two openly gay members, Paul Rutherford and Holly Johnson romping in a gay night club in the video for ‘Relax’ and the suggestive nature of the lyrics didn’t go down well at the corporation. Although the band initially denied that the track was sexual, Mark O’Toole in the liner notes for their album Pleasuredome wrote:
“Everything I say is complete lies. Like, when people ask you what ‘Relax’ was about, when it first came out we used to pretend it was about motivation, and really it was about shagging.”
The ban didn’t hurt the single’s success – the track still made it to number 1 and number 10 in the USA and the next 2 singles managed to peak on the UK official charts. None of their other songs reached the pinnacle, their 4th single ‘Welcome To The PleasureDome’ reached number 2, but their success was on the decline and after only 7 official singles and 2 studio albums the band split in 1987.
So there you go, a piece of homosexual history for our younger readers. Go download and enjoy our forefather’s mastery.
You can order this direct from our shop at www.thegayuk.com/store or
The editor and chief of THEGAYUK. All in a previous life wrote and produced songs on multi-platinum records.