Frankie goes to No.1
The Frankie Goes To Hollywood story as told through No.1. Remember where you read it first!
On October 29, 1983, a half page advert appeared in No.1. “Frankie Goes To Hollywood Have Come,” it said. While everyone else’s eyes were on E.T, a new and more powerful little fellow had arrived.
A month later Frankie appeared for the first time, in person, in No.1. “Hooray For Hollywood,” we gaily cried as Mr Holly Johnson told us why he liked Culture Club and Doris Day.
By Christmas the rest of the country was starting to catch on. ‘Relax’ moved up the charts, Mike Read moved heaven and earth to stop it. And by the end of January Frankie Goes To Holywood had completed a double that was to be repeated often over the next year or so…
Frankie were both No.1 in the charts and No.1 on the cover.
In fact through ‘84/85 Frankie would spend 14 weeks at No.1 and seven weeks on the cover of No.1 (nothing like living up to your name, eh?).
So as a tribute to possibly the most important alliance since David Bowie and Bing Crosby, No.1 presents Frankie —
Nov 5, 1983. The ad.
“This nineteen inches makes Wham seem like Pinky and Perky, makes Big Country seem like a back garden in St Helen’s, makes Style Council seem like the last line of a Barbara Cartland novel.”
Nov 26. The first interview with Holly.
“Culture Club write the best crafted pop tunes around, they perk you up, don’t they?
“I saw George’s face on the cover of Ritz… winking at me. I went, ‘Alright there, George lad! How does it feel?’”.
Jan 21, 1984. Frankie’s first No.1 cover and an interview with the lads in Liverpool.
Nash: “Paul and Holly would rather hang out in the Armadillo Tea Rooms where everyone sits around going ‘Oh Andy Warhol, yah’, pretending it’s London.”
Mark: “Frankie is about sex and having a good time at somebody else’s expense.”
And Holly: “My job is to manipulate sensationalism. We want front pages.”
And on the ban: “We don’t think it’s shocking. It depends on your attitude and your age.”
March 24. Paul Rutherford in No.1’s Modern Love feature, on Frankie’s gay image.
“We didn’t want people going to the bar or the toilet halfway through the set. It was the clothes that we personally liked.
“A lot of the fuss about ‘Relax’ was because of the way we were marketed. I don’t think we were particularly happy with some of it. It made us out to be a bit narrow.”
April 21. Holly previews the bang to come.
“The album will be the record of 1984. I believe this is our time, we’re on a wave. ‘Two Tribes’ pisses all over ‘Relax’.
“Frankie’s message for 1984 is have a good time, every minute of the day. I’ll have to go now, I left a pan of scouse on the stove.”
Nash: “My attitude is I’ve done it once with ‘Relax’, so if ‘Two Tribes’ isn’t a hit it won’t kill me. Only Gerry And The Pacemakers ever their their first three consecutive singles get to No.1…”
And then of course No.1 had a little break due to an industrial dispute. Just before that ‘Two Tribes’ went to No.1. And it was still there when No.1 came back. Here’s what the lads had to say about their reign at the top…
Aug 4. “It’s dead borin’ being at No.1,” Ped lies. “They’ve told us to do ‘War’ on TOTP this time. Sod that.”
Paul Rutherford: “If I had a fiver for every interview I’ve done, I’d have ooh, lots of money…”
Ped: “If I ‘ad a fiver for every interview I’d done I’d have nuthin’.”
Holly: “Every time I see someone in one of those T-shirts I think… whoa! that’s another 27½p in the coffers.
“It’s very summer of 1984, which pleases me. We’ve put our mark on it, like Roxy Music did in 1973.”
Nov 24. Frankie Hits America, naturally with No.1’s Max ‘Relax’ Bell.
Holly (to the American audience): “Now, what do Frankie say again?”
Dec 1. Holly: “I love New York and I hate it. New York is ‘Hello I love you, give me some work’. Everyone wants a dollar —
“The only time we’re alone (in America) is in the back of a limo or I just before a gig… we’re coping with each other, we’re riding the storm, but I must say I’m homesick.
“I’m having a good time but I wanna go home.”
Ped: “Tell No.1 that the lads are the heaviest band in the world.”
Trevor Horn sets the record straight: “People have said I’m a Hitler in the studio, that the album was all my work. That’s complete rubbish. I wouldn’t tell anyone my trade secrets but honestly felt like getting the press in at one stage and playing them the band’s demos and mixes just so they could see how wrong those criticisms were.
“A lot of the talk I put down to industry or press jealousy of Paul Morley.”
Paul Rutherford: “We did a press reception in Montreal and this ugly fat guy said: ‘I’ve just got one question for you and that is, do you think you’re doing us a favour talking to us?’, and Holly said, ‘Yeah, we are, so get out!’ The next day he was on the radio yelling Frankie Go Home!”
Mark O’Toole: “At the moment I don’t know what time it is or what day it is. Like I phoned me ma up and everything sounds dead normal at home, you known they’re watching Corrie and I’m on Madison Avenue!”
Dec 15. Ped, on winning No.1 New Act in our Readers’ Poll:
“We’ve won the best new act. That figures. We are. Do we get a prize? I want a gold-plated turd.
“It doesn’t bother me that Duran and Wham beat us out in best act overall. These matters are up to the fans. We’ve still had a great year. It’s been a laff.”
Nash on the end of the US Tour:
“I expected to be knackered but I’m not. I think we’ve handled it quite well for our first major tour. It’s better that we can make a few cock-ups-here cos it won’t matter so much. They’re not hardcore fans.”
Ped on Santa:Continue »
“He doesn’t exist, does he? I saw me mum kiss me auld fella once when he had the red gear on, but it was obviously still the auld fella, cos he was pissed as a rat.”
Ped’s Xmas joke for No.1:
“One up who?”
Jan 12, 1985. Mark O’Toole reacts to Frankie playing Liverpool at Xmas:
“The first gig was great because there was loads of tension and everybody was panicking. The second night was a bit of an anticlimax because we’d done it before.
“But tonight was great because there were loads of tricks. The crew stitched us up spraying us with the crazy foam and the silly string. It was brilliant. And musically it was better tonight.”
Mar 2. Paul Rutherford’s first cover to himself:
“I think you should always be as honest as possible. I certainly don’t want to live a lie… We’re never going to be pretentious, because we’ve got nothing to be pretentious about.
“Morley had the bigger ideas for us. Even before he got to know us he thought, if I can market this band, get people to like them, then I’m a happy man. And I think he’s done it.
“I think we’ll come back with something that’ll make people’s lips curl, feel a bit sick, like, cos I know what we’re like.
“And I do feel that we should have a change soon. We should become like warrior braves again. And we will do.”
Paul on his role in the band:
“The day they get bored with me and want me to leave, I’ll leave, because I’m quite a gracious being. But I think they like being around me, and like me being around.”
April 6. Mark O’Toole’s first cover to himself.
Mark on their first British tour:
“Y’know, three weeks ago, none of this was happening. Now all five of us are getting loads of screams. It’s very weird.”
April 13. The Mark O’Toole interview.
“I only every had one job, working as an apprentice carpenter for the Liverpool Corporation… I got sacked because’ was always havin’ to take time off to record ‘Relax’ and do TOTP and things.
“I remember when ‘Relax’ first got to No.1. We couldn’t even go to the party the record company had to celebrate because we were suddenly workin’ so ‘ard. I thought f***ing hell, it’s not going to be like this all the time, is it? An’ it is!
“This woman from a national newspaper asked me recently what’s it like being a sex symbol. What can you say to that!
“I don’t feel good lookin’ —
Nov 5, 1983. Mark Cooper reviews a new single called ‘Relax’.
“The sound of leather boys at pleasure, Frankie’s debut single takes the boys town style out of safe hands and into a hard and dangerous night…”
THE BEEB SAY…
“The record hasn’t been banned. It just isn’t being played.”
June 9, ‘84. Sunie reviews ‘Two Tribes’.
“It’s a noisy and rather exhausting melee of HM power, disco fever and Afro beat. Totally unstoppable… I can’t wait ‘till they get around to religion.”
Nick Rhodes reviews the Frankie LP.
“I wanted to like the album and I do like some of it —
“The album begins in a grand orchestral/operatic manner. This is followed by something not dissimilar to Asian elevator music with somebody impersonating sheep.
“‘The Power Of Love’… what? Continue »
“If side two was coupled with side four, minus ‘The Power Of Love’, adding ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’, it would have made a considerably better and more pleasurable debut album.”
WHILE No.1 SAY…
Debbi Voller reviews it for good measure.
“An ambitious and epic production/presentation which will be hailed as the Ben Hur of the pop charts… It almost sounds too big it fit in your living room.
“Frankly, Frankie, I don’t give a damn who deserves more praise for all of this originality —
Sunie reviews ‘The Power Of Love’.
“Led Zeppelin do a ballad! Gosh these boys are versatile… 70s kitsch seems to be the flavour of the month, but a pomp rock revival I can live without.”
AND FINALLY No.1 SAY…
Paul Bursche reviews ‘Welcome To The Pleasure Dome’ —
“‘Welcome’ is in fact saying goodbye. On the B-side may lie the future… Quirky, whimsical, ‘Happy Hi’ is genunely different. I’ll put my head on the chopping block to predict that Frankie won’t be a one-year wonder after all.”