Author: Alan Jones
Publish date: June 23, 1984
CERTIFIED SILVER a mere two days after release, and gold five days later, Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s second sensational single, ‘Two Tribes’ made short work of Wham! last week to clinch a chart-topping debut.
The last record to gain pole position on its first week in the chart was Duran Duran’s ‘Is There Something I Should Know’, in March 1983. And, amongst the elite band of artists who’ve had a record go into the chart at number one, none has turned the trick as early in their career as Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
The Beatles, Cliff and Elvis were all veterans by the time they accomplished the feat and even the previous record holder, Gary Glitter, had had five hits before ‘I Love You, Love Me Love’ stormed to instant chart honours in 1973.
Regular readers will recall that Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s previous single — ‘Relax’ as if you need reminding — reached the top on its 12th week in the charts, equalling the longest ever gestation period of any number one.
In the whole of chart history only Gerry And The Pacemakers (1963) and Mungo Jerry (1970-71) have reached the chart summit on their first two attempts. The latter failed at the third fence when ‘Baby Jump’ stalled at number five, but Gerry and the Pacemakers went on to secure three number ones from three releases courtesy of ‘How Do You Do It?’, ‘I Like It’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
FGTH have already covered the Pacemakers’ ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’; time will tell whether they are able to improve on their city elders’ unique introductory sequence of number ones.
Though Big Ron was in Britain when it was released, the Reagan-like voice on ‘Two Tribes’ was provided by Chris Barry who regularly impersonates the President on ITV’s ‘Spitting Image’. And advice about what to do in the event of a nuclear attack comes from 57-year-old actor Patrick Allen, who’s also seen regularly on TV – invariably leaping out of a helicopter to open another Barratt Showhome. Allen earns the dubious honour of becoming the only expatriate of the Central African Republic of Malawi to figure on a number one record!
‘Relax’ was doing OK before ‘Two Tribes’ came out, but it’s perked up even more now. At the present rate of progress, it will overhaul Human league’s ‘Don’t You Want Me’ and Culture Club’s ‘Karma Chameleon’ within three weeks to become the best-selling single of the eighties — and the 10th ranked single of all-time.
‘Relax’ first entered the chart last November, and has been there ever since. Its 33 weeks of continuous chart service is inferior to fewer than a dozen singles. ‘Release Me’ by Engelbert Humperdinck leads the way, having clocked up an uninterrupted chart run of 56 weeks in 1967/68. Then comes Acker Bilk’s ‘Stranger On The Shore’ (55 weeks), followed by Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ (42 weeks), Boney M’s double-header ‘Rivers Of Babylon/Brown Girl In The Ring’ (40 weeks), ‘Tie A Yellow Ribbon’ by Dawn and ‘I Love You Because’ by Jim Reeves (both 39 weeks), ‘Blue Monday’ by New Order and Andy Stewart’s ‘A Scottish Soldier’ (38 weeks apiece). Finally, and most at risk to ‘Relax’ are ‘I Believe’ by Frankie Laine (36 weeks), ‘I Pretend’ by Des O’Connor (36 weeks) and Middle Of The Road’s ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’, a 34 weeker.
Many of these records returned to the charts after a short pause, including ‘Blue Monday’ which finally seemed to have run its course when it bowed out on 26 May. Last week, however, it was back again to improve its cumulative weeks on chart to 57 — the same as Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around The Clock’. Only ‘Amazing Grace’ by Judy Collins (67 weeks) and Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ now outrank it.