FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD - THE ALBUMS 1984 - 1986



"WELCOME TO THE PLEASUREDOME"

1984


WELL.../THE WORLD IS MY OYSTER/SNATCH OF FURY - This serves as a teaser for what is to come.  A small medley of sorts with siren-like singing, mysterious ancient film extracts and Holly Johnson announcing the world is his oyster and giving us his best maniacal laugh!.  Weird, eerie and unusual, just what we wanted from their debut album!

WELCOME TO THE PLEASUREDOME - This 13 minute version 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.  This was Frankie's "Bohemian Rhapsody" epic.

RELAX - A Disco and Club classic, numerous versions and remixes and a debut Number 1 for the band.  Pumping beat throughout with Holly's unique vocals.  Always about gay sex but initially the band's media claimed it was about "feeling good and just relax".  The song was banned, the original video was banned, notoriety abound and it made them the most dangerous band on the planet.

 

WAR - This cover of Edwin Starr's classic 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 TV show Red Dwarf) portrays Ronald Reagan informing us about Love and War.

TWO TRIBES - Frankie's second number one and yet again with a controversial video with actors playing the roles  of Reagan and Chernenko fighting in a ring with the world's media loking on until the world destructs! More rockier than "Relax", this was awesome, loud, brash and a storming song.


TAG -  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!

FERRY -  A shortened "Ferry Cross The Mersey" (Gerry and the Pacemakers' song) 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.

BORN TO RUN - Another cover version, this time of a song by Bruce Springsteen.   Holly does a great job and the track really hits the spot, to me the band make it a little more rocky than the original.  Blistering Rock.

SAN JOSE - The Dionne Warwick song 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) - 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 -  An almost Progressive Rock song with searing gutiar solos and minimal atmospheric backing and breathy vocals faintly heard.

KRISCO KISSES - Not 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 - 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.

THE POWER OF LOVE
- Beautifully emotive and romantic and a third number one in a row for the band.  Just to totally throw everyone off track there was no controversial video just a nativity play just in time for Christmas! Just like the Frankie's to shake things up a bit and give the unexpected.

...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!"


 "LIVERPOOL"

1986

WARRIORS OF THE WASTELAND - The opening track to the band's second and sadly, final studio album hit number 19 in the UK chart and was the first single to not reach the Top 10.  There are the Electro Rock elements from part of the first album and hints to Prog Rock.  Atmospheric and a great thumping chorus.  Not sure why the critics hated this as I think it is a worthy successor to the previous singles.

 

RAGE HARD - The first single from the album and it reached number 4 in the UK chart continuing the band's run of Top 10 hits.  A "Two Tribes" like Hard Rock rhythm and pumping guitars backing Holly's inimitable emotional and angry booming vocals.  This is a great track and I always felt this album deserved a better response, maybe the Frankies' could have carried on.

 

KILL THE PAIN - A slight drop in tempo to start but picking up in pace as the song goes on.  A New Wave almost Punk sound merging into a big Rock anthem similar to Simple Minds and U2.  There is also a small hint to Bowie and Glam Rock.  A gem.

MAXIMUM JOY - A Synth Rock track with a little "Welcome To the Pleasuredome" "trickling" keyboard backing.  I have to admit it is not one of my favourites, but it is still an engaging song if lacking the power and oomph of previous tracks.

WATCHING THE WILDLIFE - The most radio friendly and "poppy" track of all Frankie's singles but lacking a killer punch.  Only reaching number 28 on the UK chart and singalled the end of FGTH with only seven singles released and two albums.  It is an ok song, but Frankie you expect a little more, a little disappointing.

LUNAR BAY - This track is a great Synth Pop/Rock track with a lot of tempo and rhythm changes and Holly delivering some nice vocals.  I like this track, there is a lot of emotion and also a positive vibe.

FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE - A powerful track with a menacing chorus and some experimental genre swapping.  A bit of Blues, Classic and Prog Rock and Gothic leanings.  One of my favourite tracks by the band.  It is not loud, brash or controversial it is just a well crafted song.

IS ANYBODY OUT THERE? - A brilliant end to the Frankie's studio recordings, this is an epic 7 minute Rock ballad.  Building steadily into a rousing, anthemic crescendo.  This would fit on any Rock compilation and possibly shows what Frankie could have been and that they could have shown much more than they did.  Class.


   

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