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The 100 best British isles No 1s: No 13, Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Take it easy | Music


In 1983, Margaret Thatcher swept to common election victory on a moralistic platform of “Victorian values”. The Victorians are very well-remembered for their lifestyle of sexual repression, and – as a immediate outcome – their obsession with sex and erotica. So maybe Thatcher should have viewed it coming: mere months later on, the country’s No 1 single was the most gloriously filthy in chart-topping historical past.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Rest, the best banger about banging, built minimal effect on its first launch on ZTT Data in late 1983. But just after a performance on Prime of the Pops in January 1984, it shot to the major of the charts and stayed there for 5 months, beginning a yr of complete chart dominance for the Liverpool group. It remains the sixth bestselling solitary in British history, crushed only by Band Help, Candle in the Wind, Bohemian Rhapsody and some novelty music. Its huge good results proves that, besides charity, absolutely nothing brings the Uk collectively really like intense horniness.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood: Relax – video

With not only its flagrant innuendo, but its large-open synths, and swooning, psychedelic disco composition, the tune was a complete wildcard – and the band executing it even additional so. Frontmen Holly Johnson and Paul Rutherford have been both of those overtly homosexual, nevertheless a rarity in pop at the time, and courted controversy with the use of fetish use in their performances and videos. Famously, it was censorship from the BBC that propelled the track to its peak: when it was at No 6 in the charts, BBC Radio 1’s breakfast DJ Mike Read yanked it off air after having a cursory glance at the lewd lyrics and protect artwork. He declared he’d never ever perform it yet again. The BBC backed him by banning it throughout all its displays – which include TOTP. For five months, Frankie were being announced as No 1 – and then the present played out on a distinctive monitor.

The song’s runaway achievements was testament to the truth that censorship and repression really don’t function. It was a impressive concept at the dawn of the Thatcher era: this was in direction of the commencing of the HIV/Aids epidemic that would devastate the LGBT group and guide to a hazardous increase in homophobia, and just three many years just before Thatcher would introduce the regressive Portion 28 modification. It was an era of despise, in which homosexuality was pushed even more to the fringes of society than it had been prior to. And nonetheless, Frankie Goes to Hollywood prevailed.

In an job interview with the Guardian in 2014, journalist Paul Morley – one particular of ZTT’s masterminds – reflected that the group’s achievement was like a “weird hallucination … The reality that a thing so prosperous nevertheless is part of a shadowy historical past is greatest evidence that it was special.” It is accurate that their dominance of British pop tradition was momentary: they had two additional No 1 singles and a bestselling album in 1984 1986’s Liverpool flopped, and Johnson went solo to some achievements. But at a pivotal, deeply conservative time in Britain’s background, their crowning glory was what they introduced out of the shadows and thrust into the gentle.

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