Frankie Goes to Hollywood Biography
Following an appearance on Channel 4 TV show "The Tube" performing "Relax", the group were signed up by Trevor Horn and Paul Morley's new ZTT record label. With the benefit of Horn's production skills and Morley's off-the-wall marketing ideas, "Relax" came out in October 1983 and slowly but surely took off. It was already a top ten hit when, in January 1984, BBC Radio 1 DJ Mike Read suddenly realised what the song was actually about, leading to a total BBC ban on the disc. From this moment on, Frankie Goes To Hollywood became not just a pop group but a phenomenon. The record went to number one in the UK, and was a smash hit across Europe and even in the USA. "Frankie Says" T-shirts (some dreamt up by Morley, but far more the creations of small-time bootleggers) became the fashion statement of the year, and anticipation was at such a fever pitch that every subsequent FGTH release that year - two singles and a double-LP - went straight in at number one in their home country, an unprecedented achievement and a triumph for ZTT.
Now established as huge stars in the UK and Europe (though like so many other "British invasion" acts they were doomed to One-hit Wonder status in the US), Frankie spent much of 1985 on tour before starting work on their second album, the Stephen Lipson-produced "Liverpool". Trailed by the popular single "Rage Hard", the album came out in October 1986... and flopped.
It was the beginning of the end for Frankie Goes To Hollywood - six months later, Johnson announced he was leaving the band for a solo contract with MCA. In the subsequent high-profile legal battle, ZTT lost their claim of contract-breaking against Johnson, a ruling which effectively brought the curtain down on the label's golden age. Rutherford quit too, leaving a diminished group who subsequently disbanded without releasing anything.