Tuesday 25 February Wednesday 26 February Thursday 27 February Friday 28 February Saturday 29 February Sunday 1 March Monday 2 March Tuesday 3 March Wednesday 4 March Thursday 5 March Friday 6 March Saturday 7 March Sunday 8 March Monday 9 March Tuesday 10 March Wednesday 11 March Thursday 12 March Friday 13 March Saturday 14 March Sunday 15 March Monday 16 March Tuesday 17 March Wednesday 18 March Thursday 19 March Friday 20 March Saturday 21 March Sunday 22 March Monday 23 March Tuesday 24 March Wednesday 25 March Thursday 26 March Friday 27 March Saturday 28 March Monday 30 March Tuesday 31 March Wednesday 1 April Thursday 2 April Friday 3 April Saturday 4 April Sunday 5 April Monday 6 April Tuesday 7 April We will, for the sake of sanity, overlook the reason why the box set appears here and now.
To celebrate, it is alleged, the thirtieth anniversary of the original album. A happenstance that is sufficient to induce a violent bout of the Violet Elizabeth Botts in anyone who actually remembers the event as though it were yesterday. It was back in January when an English radio disc jockey first declared that "Relax," the debut single by Liverpudlians Frankie Goes To Hollywood, was "overtly obscene" and would not, henceforth, be polluting the ether while he was on the air.
The song was already riding high in the British top 10, was already being tipped for the top. It had already had close to a hundred airings on national Radio One. The ban - which took just two days to spread from Mike Read's show alone, to the entire BBC network - could not hope to change any of that. But neither did anybody expect the resulting furor to explode in quite the way it did. Read himself is still making headlines himself. Indeed, as if to celebrate this particular moment of cultural infamy, he just release, and then personally banned, a single of his own - a calypso sung in mock-Caribbean tones, extolling the political convictions of the far right UK Independence Party.
Because they did all they needed to with the first. And with the three still-superlative, still utterly awe-inspiring, singles that spun away from it. Within a week of the ban, "Relax" was 1; within two, Frankie T-shirts were up there with it, ripping and rewrapping everybody's dreams of that year's favorite fashion and catapulting an entire country into a recherche world where the slogans were slick and Frankie dictated the lot of them.
By the end of the year, Frankie had not only been to Hollywood, he'd sold around 15 million records worldwide. And all because Mike Read said he didn't like them saying "suck" on his radio show. The fact, as it was later admitted, that the ban was all part of the hype as well, would be immaterial. For a few months in the saggy trough of the mids, what Frankie said, the world obeyed.
It really was their oyster. In truth, Frankie would have done it no matter who banned them. If ever a band was in the right place at the right time, it was them. From the moment Frankie forced their way into the nation's consciousness, imploring us to relax from a couple of million TV screens via Channel 4's The Tube , you knew that something was going on. The band was already a couple of years old at that point, one more dynastic convolution in the family tree of post-punk Liverpool.
Holly Johnson was one-time Big In Japan. The band were hot that night - literally as well as figuratively. Under the guidance of Rutherford, and the influence of Mad Max II , Frankie had finally discarded their jeans and T-shirts in favor of hard core leather'n'studs, butch bikers with an axe to grind. It was a harsh, uncompromising look, but from the moment Bob Johnson saw it he knew Frankie had something the world was going to want.
The band had been managing themselves up to this point; Johnson offered to take over that side of things, and immediately set about proving his worth with a further string of gigs and the Arista offer.
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As ever, I await further enlightenment. Also reviewed;. Absolute crap. Aggressive bass-heavy monotone thumping, overblown sound effects, pub rock turned camp, the triumph of marketing, t-shirts, slogans, computer games, and the musical forebears of Milli Vanilli. No more than a more bigged-up Sigue Sigue Sputnik. My goodness the grimness of shiny facile materialism of the mids was fully upon us.
And how horrid it was. ZTT did much better Snobbery and Decay! Frankie says…buy all the dross, and the public shamefully submits, as they often do before well-marketed dross. And later in the year, much later, something far more genuinely experimental with electronics and technology, and far more enjoyable and….
I fear that I can only give this song another one out of ten, the same that I gave to the very very different number it replaced at the top. Not a good start to the year.
But I suppose it was bleak year in many ways, in the real world as well as the world of the charts. Seems somehow fitting.Relax. Considered to be one of the most controversial and most commercially successful records of the ’s, “Relax” from British new wave male band: Frankie Goes to Hollywood.