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Frankie Goes To Hollywood

On the back of an enormous publicity campaign, Frankie Goes to Hollywood dominated British music in 1984. Frankie's dance-pop borrowed heavily from the then-current Hi-NRG movement, adding a slick pop sensibility and production. What really distinguished the group was not their music, but their marketing campaign. With a series of slogans, T-shirts, and homoerotic videos, the band caused enormous controversy in England and managed to create some sensations in the United States. However, the Frankie sensation was finished as soon as it was started; by the release of their second album, Liverpool, in 1986, the group's audience had virtually disappeared.

Based in Liverpool, Frankie Goes to Hollywood formed in 1980, comprising ex-Big in Japan vocalist Holly Johnson, vocalist Paul Rutherford, guitarist Nasher Nash, bassist Mark O'Toole, and drummer Peter Gill. Originally, the group was called Hollycaust, but they changed their name to Frankie Goes to Hollywood -- taken from an old headline about Frank Sinatra's acting career -- by the end of the year. The band didn't make anything of note until 1982, when they appeared on the British television program The Tube with a rough version of the video for "Relax." The appearance attracted attention from several record labels as well as record producer Trevor Horn. Horn contacted the band and signed them to his label, ZTT. Late in 1983, Frankie's first single, the Horn-produced "Relax"/"Ferry Cross the Mersey," was released. A driving dance number, "Relax" featured sexually suggestive lyrics that would soon lead to great controversy.

Around the time of the release of "Relax," Frankie's promotional director, Paul Morley, a former music journalist, orchestrated a massive, intricate marketing campaign that soon paid off in spades. Morley designed T-shirts that read "Relax" and "Frankie Says...," which eventually appeared across the country. The group began playing up their stylish, campy homosexual imagery, especially in the first video for "Relax." The video was banned by British TV and a new version was shot. Similarly, Radio 1 banned the single and the rest of the BBC radio and television networks quickly banned the record as well. Consequently, "Relax" shot to number one in January of 1984 and soon sold over a million copies. Frankie's second single, the political "Two Tribes," was released in June of 1984. The single, which was also produced by Trevor Horn, entered the charts at number one; it went gold in seven days. "Two Tribes" stayed at number one for nine weeks and eventually sold over a million copies. While it was on the top of the charts, "Relax" went back up the charts, peaking at number two.

Frankie mania had taken England by storm, yet it took a while to catch on in America. "Relax" peaked at number 67 in the spring of 1984, while "Two Tribes" just missed the Top 40 in the fall. Welcome to the Pleasuredome, the band's Trevor Horn-produced debut double album, entered the U.K. charts at number one and their third single, the ballad "The Power of Love," also reached number one. Welcome to the Pleasuredome reached at number 33 in early 1985 in the U.S., prompting the re-release of "Relax"; this time around, it made it into the American Top Ten.

"Rage Hard," the first single from their second album, peaked at number four in the U.K. during the summer of 1986. It was followed by the release of Liverpool, which reached number five on the British charts. Frankie Goes to Hollywood began their final tour in early 1987; by April, the band had broken up. Holly Johnson went on to pursue a solo career, which began in earnest in 1989, after a long legal battle with ZTT. Paul Rutherford also began a solo career, yet neither his nor Johnson's were particularly successful. Johnson was diagnosed with AIDS in the early '90s and subsequently retired from music. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Nobody would understand truly this song and the.power it holds unless you went through the eighties..
Even though the song has some sexual references, it's still a good song.
I had no idea this song was about masterbating till my BFF told me!
This song brings back CRAZY memories
Still a great song...
80's music rules.....
Love the beat of this song!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! 80's will always be around! :)
gusdlgarza
Wow 1985 that was 30 years ago
How does this swishy 80's garbage get on my Pandora station ?
A song about c**ming too soon, so funny that most have no idea that it is about that
Zoolander anyone
vic_dlg
Love this song love the 80s
i find it funny this song relax is about premature ejaculation. . .
how about two tribes
Pandora you need to beef up your Frankie how bout some remixes and extended plays.
Classic!
Frankie says RELAX!
Shot it on target, when I had 2 c*m...
jkolias2
This brings back great memories of my college days. Go 80's
Man I swear this song takes me back you gotta LOVE the 80's
find the bbc special and watch them do this live, it... is.... a kick! as well as the whole show
lguerrero91
I love the 80's! Just like back then, you can pretty much work out to any 80's song!
jedie55
Saw FGTH back in 1984 at The Greek Theatre in L.A. one of the best shows I have seen, and I have been to lots of concerts. When they played this song it was amazing. It wasn't the 12 version, but it was good enough for me. When the played RELAX that was awsome too...
Great song-doesn't get played enough
mistycara13
I used to love to dance to this song back in the day.
the closest thing to a homosexual act I ever got to was putting Relax on my ipod...lol
Frankie says! Relax!
I want to hear the song relax by frankie goes to hollywood
This reminds me of my clubbin days!
Welcome Back to 1984
invisalia
this reminds me of high school
LOVE WELCOME TO THE PLEASURE DOME, AND NOT FOR RELAX, GOOD DRIVIN, TRIPPIN MUSIC
g.clausen2
Livin' the dream!
twoslydogs
give it 2 me one tyme ! ! !

. . . . relax ! ! !
twoslydogs
well itz 'bout tyme i get to hear my song

kak-d*m-it ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

;) . . . . . . . cuz all i wanna do iz


relax

don't do it ,

wen u wanna k*m . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .! ! ! ! ! ! !
FRANKIE SAY RELAX DON'T DO IT! Hey I had that t-shirt!
twoslydogs
wut he s-?

live doz dreemz . . .

relax ! ! ! . . .

wen U wanna c*m . . .
twoslydogs
don't do it! ! !
wait ! ! !
oh dam it !?!
U din' do it! ! !
I tol' U 2! ! ! . . .
R E L A X, don' do it
twoslydogs
wut did frankie say? go to hollywood my son,
but you must "relax" first
jonathansand e r s
loooove him
kevinlbenson
Frankie Goes To Hollywood; possibly one the best 80s bands this side of the world. Despite the fact that "Liverpool" was a flop, I believe it was their best work with some of the best production ever, thanks to Trevor Horn. Fortunately I was lucky enough to see them live in Seattle in 1985....Fran k i e Say...Great Show.
I LOVE FRANKIE....

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