Relax Frankie Goes to Hollywood



” Relax ” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood ( FGTH ), the British group popular in the middle 1980s. The group consisted of Holly Johnson as lead singer, Paul Rutherford on vocals, Peter Gill on drums and percussion, Mark O’Toole on bass guitar and Brian Nash on guitar.
The group took their name from a pop art poster illustration by Guy Peellaert showing Frank Sinatra going to Hollywood which appeared in The New Yorker magazine under the headline ” Frankie Goes Hollywood “.
The song was written by group members Peter Gill, Holly Johnson, Brian Nash and Mark O’Toole. Production for the single was by Trevor Horn, the Grammy Award-winning English music record producer, songwriter, musician and singer. As a singer he is best known for the 1979 hit single ” Video Killed the Radio Star ” by Buggles.
” Relax ” was released on the 24th of October 1983 by record label ZTT Records ( SPZ Group ) and taken from Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s debut album, Welcome to the Pleasuredome. The song is a remix on the Album.
The album was a commercial success peaking at number thirty-three on the Billboard 200 in the United States and Number One on the UK Albums Chart in the United Kingdom. There was some criticism because it contained newer versions of the songs already released by the group.
It later came to light that producer Trevor horn dominated the production, he often substituted the group’s instrumental performances with session musicians, even doing the work himself.
Frankie Goes to Hollywood was signed to Trevor’s label, ZTT Records, after he saw them on British tv show The Tube playing an early form of the song. He described the version of the song as ” More a jingle than a song “, it was the way Trevor liked it as he could fix it in his style.
Once they had signed, Trevor took over the production. Trevor’s reputation as a producer intimidated the group to such an extent that they were too nervous to offer any suggestions.
Trevor wasn’t satisfied with the full band version, so he hired Ian Dury backing band the Blockheads to work on the sessions, with the original bass line provided by Norman Watt-Roy. Trevor then decided that the sessions were not modern sounding enough, so he set about working on a more electronic-based composition with the help of Andy Richards, a session musician and J.J Jeczalik from the Art of Noise.
The only original member of Frankie Goes to Hollywood to perform on ” Relax ” was lead singer Holly Johnson, the other members made only a small contribution of a sample used of the sound of the other members jumping into a swimming pool.
In an interview some years later Trevor explained ” I was just . . . Look, ‘ Relax ‘ had to be a hit “. Despite excluding the other members from the final recording, Trevor added ” I could never have done these records in isolation. There was no actual playing by the band, but the whole feeling came from the band “.
Controversy surrounded the release when the BBC refused to play the single on their flagship radio show, Radio One. The show’s Presenter Mike Read refused after realising what the lyrics were about. Although he later claimed as one person within the corporation, he didn’t have the power to ban songs from the playlists, even so, the ban only helped the song climb the charts in the United Kingdom.
The accompanying music video was initially directed by Bernard Rose. Along with music videos he also worked on the last season of Jim Henson’s The Muppet Show and wrote and directed the 1992 American supernatural horror film, Candyman.
The first video featured a gay S&M parlour, shot on location in Wilton’s Music Hall, an unused East London theatre. This version was banned by both MTV and the BBC, so another version directed by Godley and Creme was made with the group performing ” Relax ” with the aid of laser beams.
” Relax ” was a commercial success for Frankie Goes to Hollywood. In the United States, the song peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1985; the song spent twenty-three weeks on the chart there.
In the United Kingdom, it entered the UK Singles Chart on the 12th of November 1983 and slowly climbed the chart to reach Number One where it spent five weeks. The single spent twenty-two weeks in the Top Ten and a total of seventy weeks on the chart there.

BillBoard Hot 100 Highest Chart Position: 10

UK Highest Chart Position: 1

Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Australia (Kent Music Report) 5, Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 4, Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 2, Canadian RPM Top Singles 11, Denmark (Tracklisten) 5, Finland (The Official Finnish Charts) 1, France (SNEP) 1, Germany (Official German Charts) 1, Greece (IFPI Greece) 1, Hong Kong Singles Chart 9, Iceland (Tónlist) 2, Irish Singles Chart 3, Israel Singles Chart 1, Italy (FIMI) 1, Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 5, Netherlands (Single Top 100) 5, New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 10, Norway (VG-lista) 2, Polish Singles Chart 18, Portugal Singles Chart 18, Spain (AFYVE) 1, Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 4, Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 1, Thailand Singles Chart 1

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