Saturday, January 28, 1984

Frankie Goes to Hollywood hit #1 in the UK with “Relax”

First posted 11/13/2019.


Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Writer(s): Peter Gill/Holly Johnson/Brian Nash/Marc O'Toole/Paul Rutherford (see lyrics here)

Released: October 24, 1983

First Charted: November 26, 1983

Peak: 10 US, 13 CB, 10 RR, 15 UK, 11 CN, 5 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales *: 1.0 US, 2.15 UK, 3.20 world (includes US + UK)

Radio Airplay *: --

Video Airplay *: 41.8

Streaming *: --

* in millions


“Merseyside-based group Frankie Goes To Hollywood…first premiered this track on pivotal [UK] music show The Tube. It sounded like late-Seventies funk. So they hooked up with producer Trevor Horn…[who] made three versions, before finally hitting on his fourth version as the final cut…frontman Holly Johnson says it inspired the dance boom. Oddly, the only presence of the group on the final cut – apart from Johnson’s lead vocal – is the sound of them all jumping into a swimming pool.” MG

“As the record’s prospects were mounting, with it finally entering the Top 40 after more than a month on sale, the BBC banned it” MG from daytime radio airplay in Britain after Radio 1 DJ Mike Read refused to play it DR because of “its sexually orientated lyrics.” MG Of course, that immediately made people curious about the song, “ensuring its swift rise from #35 into the [UK] top ten (#6) the following week, and on to #1 two weeks later.” MG

Astonishingly, after it had started slipping, Frankie took the song back to #2 “in June 1984…while their second single ‘Two Tribes’ had soared off record store shelves in its first week and gone all the way to #1…’Relax’ spent 48 consecutive weeks on chart. It later re-entered to bring the weeks on chart total to 52, and a 1993 re-issue brought the current total to 59 weeks.” MG

The band will also “be remembered for the record’s unique marketing technique: the t-shirts. Paul Morley, co-director with Horn of ZTT Records, dreamt up the idea, and sold it to the band for £200-300. Soon everybody had snapped up a t-shirt, emblazoned with phrases such as ‘Frankie Says ‘Relax!’” MG

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