What do you get when you release your debut single that contains racy lyrics and an overtly sexual record sleeve? If you are Frankie Goes To Hollywood, you get banned by the BBC!
‘Relax’ was released in October of 1983, enjoying moderate sales and radio airplay. Then, an appearance on Top Of The Pops in January of 1984 lifted sales of the single. One week later, the song was being played on Radio 1, when the DJ spotted the cover and really listened to the lyrics. He was disgusted. He allegedly stopped the song, while playing it on air, and called it ‘obscene’. Two days later, on January 13, the BBC imposed a ban on the record that helped shoot it straight to Number One in the UK charts. It stayed there for five weeks, sold nearly two million copies, and became one of the top ten best-selling records in the history of the UK Singles chart.
The dust had barely even settled from ‘Relax’, when Frankie came roaring back with their second single, ‘Two Tribes’ in May. The song went straight to Number One, and sold nearly 1.5 million copies.
As if that wasn’t enough success, FGTH released ‘The Power Of Love’, their third single from the album ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’, at the end of 1984. For the third time in less than one year, they earned the Number One spot in the charts, making them the first band to achieve chart-topping success with their first three singles, since Gerry & The Pacemakers did it in 1963.
Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there, and the band quickly disappeared from the limelight. Internal tensions, disillusionment, and the failure to equal their initial success led to the break-up of the band in 1986. Their music lives on though, and so does their T-shirt collection, which includes ‘Frankie Say Relax’ and ‘Frankie Say War Hide Yourself’…