Album:Start: The Best Of British Rock
Relax was a top ten hit in 1984. Frankie Goes To Hollywood (FGTH) were a big deal in their native England. But when their second album tanked, they split up. FGTH were from Liverpool. Holly Johnson was lead singer of the punk band Big In Japan. After he left, he formed Sons Of Egypt which was short lived. But some of the members went on to Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Johnson got the name from an old New Yorker headline about Frank Sinatra. members were Jed O'Toole on guitar, his brother Mark O'Toole on bass and Peter Gill on drums. They had a female singer but she was soon replaced by Paul Rutherford of The Spitfire Band. While trying to get a record deal, Jed O'Toole was replaced by cousin Brian Nash. After an appearance on the Channel 4 show The Tube and then a BBC appearance, FGTH signed with Trevor Horn's ZTT label. Horn produced Welcome To The Pleasuredome. The single Relax was released Oct. 1983. But it really took off after FGTH appeared to Top Of The Pops Jan. 1984. While it was #6 on the charts, BBC DJ Mike Read refused to play Relax because of suggestive lyrics. The BBC banned Relax and that made the song an even bigger hit and it topped the charts. Legendary BBC DJ John Peel was an early FGTH supporter and he thought the ban was ridiculous. And Johnson denied that the lyrics were suggestive. Relax made its way to the US through dance clubs. Island Records signed FGTH in the US and Relax reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Welcome To The Pleasuredome was certified Gold. But their 1986 album Liverpool did so poorly that Johnson left to go solo and FGTH split up. Horn didn't produce Liverpool and some think that may have been the problem. Welcome to The Pleasuredome is available on CD. But you can get Relax on this various artists budget CD. Johnson signed with MCA Records but ZTT sued him to try to hold him to the FGTH contract. Johnson won and released the 1989 album Blast. He had a couple of hits in England. But his next two albums didn't sell and MCA dropped him. In 1993, Johnson announced he was HIV positive. He retired from music and became a painter. And his autobiography was a big seller in England. FGTH minus Johnson reunited in 2004 at an event celebrating Trevor Horn's 25th anniversary in the music business. They toured as Forbidden Hollywood. Here's the video for Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.