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Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1983)

Courtesy of Channel Four International

Main image of Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1983)
From The Tube, Channel 4, tx. 18/2/1983
6 minutes, colour
ProducersMalcolm Gerrie
 Paul Corley

Presenter: Jools Holland; performance: Frankie Goes to Hollywod

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Controversial band Frankie Goes to Hollywood perform an early version of 'Relax' at the State Ballroom, Liverpool, and are interviewed by Jools Holland.

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1984 was Liverpool band Frankie Goes to Hollywood's year, kicked off by the band's debut single, 'Relax' enjoying five weeks at number one on the back of a counterproductive ban on BBC television and radio due to its 'sexual content'. Follow-up singles 'Two Tribes' and 'The Power of Love', also hit the top of the charts - making Frankie Goes to Hollywood the first act to achieve three consecutive number ones since Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1963 (Frankie paid tribute to their Liverpool predecessors by covering 'Ferry Cross the Mersey' on their Welcome to the Pleasuredome LP), and in the summer of that year 'Frankie Says...' t-shirts were ubiquitous on Britain's streets.

This filmed insert for Channel 4's The Tube (1982-87) catches a youthful Frankie in February 1983, still unsigned but already sporting their provocative leather-and-bondage look and accompanied by a pair of far from politically correct female dancers brandishing whips (an ironic gesture given that the two most prominent members of the band, singer Holly Johnson and backing singer/dancer Paul Rutherford, were very openly gay). Filmed in Liverpool's very grand State Ballroom, the band perform a version of 'Relax' that is barely recognisable from the highly polished, heavily reworked version - the result of weeks of tinkering by producer Trevor Horn - which would be so familiar by the end of the year. This is followed by an interview by Tube presenter Jools Holland, who admits to being 'just off the train' and is visibly unsettled by the band's presentation.

Mark Duguid

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Video Clips
Complete film (6:06)
Tube, The (1982-87)
Liverpool: Sounds of the City