Sunday, March 8, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] The Music That Shaped Me (part 5)

Welcome to the Pleasure Dome - Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1984)

"Oh, Frankie."

Frankie Goes to Hollywood was a weird one for me. Some of their music was jaw droppingly brilliant - made all the more epic by a lot of post production by legendary producer Trevor Horn. And yet, some of their music was just snippets of cover versions, or whole tracks of them sitting around talking trying to be cool "lads".

My first exposure to Frankie Goes To Hollywood, again, was a trip to see relatives in London. Staying with my grandparents, my uncle who had introduced me to The Boomtown Rats was watching British Channel 4 music programme "The Tube" especially as FGTH was going to be on. He said, "You have to watch this."

It was probably because he was trying to be all controversial as Relax had been banned by the BBC and The Tube was going to reshow the music video for Relax that they'd filmed. It was good, but I wasn't totally convinced.

And then along came Two Tribes. With its controversial video, epic sound, and legendary number of remixes, Two Tribes would become a bit of an obsession of mine. I bought as many remixes as I could find, and when the album came out I was one of the first in line.

Listening to it now, it's not a brilliant double album - but it is a brilliant single album. Take out all the mucking about and weird tracks and you have a solid and amazing work of epic production and mammoth sounds.

I bought the 12" for The Power of Love, but my interest was already starting to wane - though my obsession with Frankie Goes to Hollywood (along with Holly Johnson's cartoon haircut on the cover of the album that looked like mine - back when I had hair - as well as the weird link with my middle name) lead to the creation of my nickname that was given to me in the 6th form at school and has stuck ever since - Frankie.

I have a distinct memory of buying Rage Hard, the first track from their follow up album on 12" from Sydney Scarborough's in Hull, and discovering I had two copies of it in the sleeve. Being the sadly honest person I am, I went back and returned one of them (much to the disgust of some of my mates). That 12" (the Tour of the 12") is a brilliant novelty version of the record, teaching you how a 12" remix works with a voice over.

Strangely, that was the end of my FGTH purchases. I liked Warriors of the Wasteland, but never bought it, or the album Liverpool... and by that time, the band itself imploded and I moved on to other things. Sorry Lads!

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