NEW MUSIC EAR'S FAVOURITES - FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD "WELCOME TO THE PLEASUREDOME"

THESE ALBUM REVIEWS ARE FAVOURITES FROM MY OWN VAST AND VARIED ECLECTIC COLLECTION! I AM A FAN OF THESE ARTISTS SO MY OPINIONS MAY NOT BE ON A PAR WITH YOUR OWN BUT PLEASE ENJOY AND MAYBE THERE ARE SOME ALBUMS YOU MAY LIKE TO SAMPLE FOR YOURSELF OUT OF CURIOSITY :)

FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD





"WELCOME TO THE PLEASUREDOME"



The Liverpool quintet fronted by Holly Johnson blasted onto the scene amidst controversy, thought provoking hit singles, 3 consecutive number ones, plethora of remixes and risque videos.   I remember seeing the band live at Manchester G-Mex on the Rage Hard tour.  Hearing whispers in the media that the band couldn't actually play (as Trevor Horn allegedly used session musicians for the records) and being a big fan of this unusual group I had to see what the live show was all about.  The band could play, it was a blistering gig, great musicians, good banter with the crowd, Holly's voice on full throttle and with great support from Terri Nunn and Berlin.

This album was probably one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the 80s, the double vinyl album I bought was like nothing I had seen before.  It was released on ZTT(Zang Tumb Tumb) records and mastered in music by Trevor Horn and in words by Paul Morley.  The striking Picasso-esque erotic gatefold sleeve was not something mum and dad would ever see! I loved the intrigue, the mystery and probably yes the naughtiness which at the time I was not quite sure of! Anyway the album is packed with great tracks, the energetic disco classic "Relax" , the brilliant loud raucous war anthem "Two Tribes" and the beautifully romantic "The Power Of Love" all hit the top spot in quick succession.  The shortened and remixed "Welcome To The Pleasuredome" peaked at number 2.


The album opens with "The World Is My Oyster" including "Well" and "Snatch of Fury" which serves as a teaser for what is to come.  Siren-like singing, mysterious ancient film extracts and Holly announcing the world is his oyster and giving us his best maniacal laugh!.

The 13 minute plus version of "Welcome To The Pleasuredome" is a riveting listen, just what you expected, the unexpected! It was cinematic, chanting abound, little instrumental breaks ending with another maniacal laugh and a little Holly giggle having fun.

The cover of "War" by Edwin Starr is also a much remixed song by FGTH.  The mainly bongo-like drumming with some minimal guitar backing sends a powerful message and is one of my favourite tracks by the band.  Chris Barrie (Rimmer in Red Dwarf) portrays Ronald Reagan informing us about Love and War.

"Tag" was an orchestrated track (snippet from Two Tribes), with Prince Charles (Barrie again) giving us thoughts on orgasm and ejaculation.  No idea why this was here, but hey, I am sure it caused controversy which was their forte at the time!

"Fury" was a shortened "Ferry Cross The Mersey" and became a backdrop for the unemployed as it is a really nice cover version that ends with (possibly Paul?) stating he left his DHSS card at home and the jobcentre lady says the supervisor will put him on daily signing if it happens again! 

In like a bullet straight after "Fury" was the blistering Rock classic "Born To Run" previously made by Bruce Springsteen.  Holly does a great job and the track really hits the spot, to me band make it a little more rocky than the original.

The Dionne Warwick song "San Jose" is next for the Frankie treatment, its a lovely song and just like "The Power Of Love" Holly proves he knock out a ballad as good as anyone.

"Wish (The Lads Were Here)" is a funky original song by the band, with a catchy chorus "love is on the run, wish you were here, my love has got a gun, wish you were here" and its another song that could have been a hit in my opinion.

"The Ballad of 32" is an almost Progressive Rock song with searing gutiar solos and minimal atmospheric backing and breathy vocals faintly heard.  

"Krisco Kisses" isn't one of my favourites from Frankie, it seems a bit muddled, fast paced uptempo manic Rock, then slowing down with repetitive lyrics.  Not a bad song but seems a bit of a last minute addition.

"Black Night White Light" is one of my favourites, a really accomplished song, a little Funk, a little Electro and a little Pop Rock.  A really good track.

"The Only Star In Heaven" could have been a hit single as well.  Building up and up into a fast paced crescendo, great chorus, great percussion and guitar licks, a great original song.

"Bang" ended this awesome album like it began, a small snippet of Electronic orchestation finishing with the great Chris Barrie ending everything as Ronald Reagan stating "Frankie Say...No More!"




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Comments

  1. i will always love Frankie Goes To Hollywood and all of them....cheers to Holly Johnson and the music he has blessed us today also

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