Honestly, I’m going to need another coffin for all the music I want to take with me to the next world. And since this is a two-LP release … 😀
There’s something to be said about Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Their group name came from a newspaper headline about Sinatra making his first film. Their musical style was a mixture of big thumping drums, hooky lyrics and content that not only challenged gender stereotypes, it hit you over the head with them and made you understand them. And although they were never as big in America as they were overseas, FGTH totally dominated any radio station that would allow their music to be played.
Case in point. Let’s take a listen to their original first release, “Relax.”
Great song, amitite? Relax, don’t do it, when you want to come … relax –
Wait, did that lyric just say “don’t do it, when you want to … ” oh yeah, it did.
And the British media went nuts. They banned “Relax” from the airwaves. Which, as you know, if you ban something, more people want to find out about it. And more people want to buy it. Thus, “Relax” zoomed up to the top of the British pop charts. And FGTH made a new version of their promotional video, which now had the band performing in front of a laser light show.
This version sorta creeped up the pop charts in America, but did nothing big. College radio loved it, we played the crap out of “Relax” every chance we could back in the day.
After this song came “Two Tribes,” a political anti-war song with a video of Ronald Reagan and Konstantine Chernenko in a wrestling match. And THIS ran up the British pop charts and the American college and alternative charts as well.
Of course, now that all this happens, someone decides that Frankie’s first song “Relax” needs to go into the soundtrack of the erotic thriller Body Double. And we get ANOTHER FGTH video for this song.
And NOW it finally gets on Top 40 radio. Meanwhile, us college kids have already moved on to two other tracks, “The Power of Love” (FGTH’s Christmas song) and “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” (another dance track of its own).
All four of these songs – along with some covers of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” and Edwin Starr’s “War” – can be found on FGTH’s double-LP Welcome to the Pleasuredome. It’s a great album all around, if you like the Trevor Horn production style – Horn was working with Yes and ABC at the time, so there’s plenty of synths and sound effects in this record. I could listen to this record today and still find some great lyrics that would make for awesome meme text – such as, “Shooting stars never stop / even when they reach the top / they go to supernova / what a pushover,” from “Welcome to the Pleasuredome.”
The crazy thing is … even after the greatness of this LP, FGTH’s follow-up album and singles were stiffs. It was as if they blew their entire output on this one project and didn’t hold anything back. But then again, if you’re able to put something like this together, you take your one shot and go for it.
Okay, let’s put this one in the casket for that audiophonic afterlife playlist, shall we?
Chuck’s coffin will sink to the magma in the core of the earth, weighted down with so much music.
One of my great regrets is that I gave away many of the Frankie 12 inch singles which came out during the course of their career. I do believe the producer was Trevor Horn and he released quite a few different variations of the Frankie songs as 12 inch singles. They’re probably collectors items now!!!
And don’t forget all the “Frankie Say” T-shirts that were a big fashion statement in the mid-80’s!
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