Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Frankie say rehash

Every few years, like clockwork, someone decides to dust off the master tapes of "Relax" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood and give them a bit of a reswizzle.

This year, almost nine years to the day since the last greatest hits collection, "Maximum Joy", the FGTH catalogue gets another lease on life with "Frankie Say Greatest". It will be available in three flavors - a single disc, a double disc set featuring a bonus CD of mixes and rarities, a double vinyl package, and a DVD. It's 1984 all over again!

I remember when "Relax" was first released in 1983. I read about it in "Smash Hits" and "Number One" magazines. This was the only way I was able to find out about new music from the UK since it was more than a decade before the internet would shrink the world and make information available at a few keystrokes.

By the time "Relax" was banned by BBC Radio 1 DJ, Mike Read, the single hit the import record shops in NYC and they couldn't keep it in stock. Then the white t-shirts emblazoned with "Frankie Say" in big, black, block, capital letters started infiltrating the ranks of cool kids in high schools across the US. I was tempted to unearth an old photo of me wearing the iconic fashion item until I, thankfully, came to my senses.

Two albums and seven singles later, FGTH imploded and left a legacy that returns like a comet every few years. Surprisingly, with this latest hits collection, a new video has been lensed featuring an ageless Holly Johnson.

Holly looks fantastic. He hasn't aged a day. I'd like to find out the details of his daily regimen.

Here's a look at the very first version of the video for "Relax" which never gets aired on television due to its sexually charged content.

It's tame in comparison to things on television these days. As a teenager, I distinctly remember getting a bit of a zing in my lower regions upon first seeing Paul Rutherford in the opening segment of the video. Ah, the first flush of lustful youth.

The more sanitized version of "Relax" was the video which garnered the majority of airplay in the US.

Frankie mania has hit London again. Snipes can be spotted throughout the city signaling a more muted campaign 25 years after the first blast of annihilation shook the world.

The tracklisting for the single CD edition of "Frankie Say Greatest" is as follows:

1. Relax (Original 7")
2. Two Tribes
3. Welcome To The Pleasuredome (Escape Act Video Mix)
4. War
5. The Power Of Love
6. Ferry Cross The Mersey
7. Is There Anybody Out There? (Movement 2)
8. Tag
9. Born To Run
10. Warriors Of The Wasteland
11. Rage Hard
12. Watching The Wildlife
13. Happy Hi!
14. The Waves
15. Relax (Chicane Radio Edit)
16. Two Tribes (Hibakusha)
17. Relax (Lockout's Radio Edit)



    lol. i just looked up the commercial on youtube -- LUVIT!

  2. my god, number one magazine! The posters in that and Smash Hits formed my sexual awakening. As did discovering what the lyrics of Relax really meant, though mercifully I never ended up drinking piss.

    CAn't believe I just shared all that. I'm still slightly buzzed from the mamosa I had at lunch :) Great write up again.