Showing posts with label Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Show all posts

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Rage hard - Frankie goes to Hollywood

Looking back over 50 years of pop history, only the last three decades have seen 12" singles and extended remixes being released. Out of the thousands and thousands of those remixes there could be a small selection deemed as 'classic'. And I would say that the extended remix of 'Rage hard', included on this disc, should be one of them.

Entitled 'Young person's guide into the 12" mix', it is an introduction to instruments and certain remix techniques, using the aforementioned Frankie goes to Hollywood track as an example. As far as I know, this remix was never released on cd - at least not entirely. This original version lasts for 12 minutes, a shorter version appeared on a Frankie goes to Hollywood compilation cd in 1994.

My collection: 12" single no. 208
Found: Record exchange, London, October 1994
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'Rage hard [Young person's guide into the 12" mix]' / 'Suffragette city', 'Don't lose what's left (of your little mind)', ['Rage hard (reprise)']

Saturday, 26 December 2009

The power of love - Frankie goes to Hollywood

Frankie goes to Hollywood built the beginning of their career and their first three single releases on the three pillars of controversy: sex ('Relax'), war ('Two tribes') and religion ('The power of love'). This third single was a stark contrast to the busy, almost aggressive songs that went before: it was the epitome of tranquility.

The music video accompanying the single was directed by Godley & Creme and told the nativity story. The sleeve of the single featured the Assunta by Titian, a XVI century painting in the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari of Venice. In the UK an extra outer sleeve (pictured above) was added, wrapping up the single like a Christmas present. The single became the UK's Christmas number 1 in 1984 and reached number 9 in the Dutch Top 40.

My collection: 7" single no. 1467
Found: London, June 30, 1991
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'The power of love' / 'The world is my oyster'

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Relax - Frankie goes to Hollywood

ZTT Records signed Frankie Goes to Hollywood after producer and co-founder Trevor Horn saw the band play on the TV show The Tube, where they played an early version of 'Relax'. Once the band was signed, ZTT co-founder Paul Morley mapped out the marketing campaign fashioned as a 'strategic assault on pop'. He opted to tackle the biggest possible themes in the band's singles ('sex, war, religion'), of which 'Relax' would be the first, and emphasised the shock impact of Frankie members Holly Johnson and Paul Rutherford's open homosexuality in the packaging and music videos.

Horn dominated the recording of 'Relax' in his effort for perfectionism. The band were overawed and intimidated by Horn's reputation, and thus were too nervous to make suggestions. Johnson said in his autobiography, 'Whatever he said we went along with'. When attempts to record with the band proved unsatisfactory, Horn hired former Ian Dury backing band the Blockheads for the sessions. When the results of these sessions didn't sound modern enough, Horn then constructed a more electronic-based version of the song with session musician Andy Richards and with rhythm programming assistance from J. J. Jeczalik of Art of Noise. Horn developed this version of the recording in his West London studio while the band remained in their hometown of Liverpool. Ultimately lead vocalist Johnson was the only band member to perform on the record. Horn completed the recording having spent £70,000 in studio time. As Horn explained years later, 'I was just... Look, 'Relax' had to be a hit.'

My collection: 7" single no. 4263
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 21, 2009
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Relax' / 'One September Monday'

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Two tribes - Frankie goes to Hollywood

People who grew up in the Eighties are usually familiar with the music video for Frankie goes to Hollywood's second single 'Two tribes', in which two actors playing Ronald Reagan and Konstantin Chernenko are in a wrestling match.

The track itself is equally famous for its hasty tempo and loud production by Trevor Horn. The single was released at the height of the cold war, when general fears about global nuclear warfare were at a peak. According to Frankie's frontman Holly Johnson: 'There's two elements in the music - an American funk line and a Russian line. It’s the most obvious demonstration of two tribes that we have today.' The single went number 1 in the UK singles chart and the Dutch Top 40 in the summer of 1984.

My collection: 7" single no. 4240
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 21, 2009
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Two tribes' / 'One February Friday'

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Relax - Frankie goes to Hollywood

I don't have many Frankie goes to Hollywood singles (though that may still change when I get a chance), but this is one of them: the 1993 re-release of 'Relax', originally the band's debut single in 1983. It was re-released to promote the compilation album 'Bang! The Greatest hits of Frankie goes to Hollywood'.

The single featured a new 1993 version of 'Relax' on the B-side, although that one is basically just a slightly sped up version of the track. The single reached number 5 in the UK singles chart and number 8 in the Dutch Top 40. Both peak positions were lower than ten years before.

My collection: 7" single no. 2059
Found: Melody Maker, Den Haag, December 3, 1993
Cost: 6,5 guilders
Tracks: 'Relax' / 'Relax MCMXCIII'

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Rage hard - Frankie goes to Hollywood

Frankie goes to Hollywood were confronted with the 'difficult second album syndrome' after the phenomenal success of their debut album 'Welcome to the pleasuredome' and its accompanying singles. They recorded their second album 'Liverpool' in Amsterdam, and released 'Rage hard' as the first single from the album.

The single was released as a limited edition with a popup sleeve. It reached number 4 in the UK singles chart, number 1 in Germany and number 7 in the Dutch Top 40.

My collection: 7" single no. 2282
Found: London, 1996
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Rage hard' / '(Don't lose what's left) Of your little mind'

Sunday, 24 May 2009

P-Machinery medley with Relax - Propaganda for Frankie

This is an interesting one. Propaganda for Frankie is an Italian producer/DJ outfit that decided to profit from the ongoing popularity of the bands Propaganda and Frankie goes to Hollywood. Their track 'P-machinery medley with Relax' is what people would nowadays call a 'mashup'. The difference being that the songs are performed by other, unnamed, artists.

Although the concept is the same as Club House's 'Do it again with Billie Jean', this single didn't become a Europe-wide hit. Instead, it has become some sort of item for Italo House afficionados.

My collection: 7" single no. 3729
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, May 23, 2009
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'P-Machinery medley with Relax' / 'Deejay'

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Do they know it's Christmas? - Band Aid

The song that embodied the Christmas spirit in the Eighties was Band Aid's 'Do they know it's Christmas?'. The project initiated by Midge Ure and Bob Geldof started when the two met up and worked out this song Bob had written in a rather rudimentary way. They phoned up the musician friends they knew and before you knew it you had a media spectacle of unprecedented size.

I bought the single as soon as it came out, although, strangely, I didn't like the song that much. There were just so many of my eighties idols participated that I felt I couldn't pass up on this historic single. Two decades later, it's somehow reassuring (or troubling) that everything has stayed the same in Africa: it's still a continent of war, hunger and drought.

My collection: 7" single no. 249
Found: Wouters, Den Haag, 1984
Cost: 6 guilders
Tracks: 'Do they know it's Christmas?' / 'Feed the world'
Download: 12" single 'Do they know it's Christmas?', including both tracks (password: )
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