ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

DURAN DURAN, Nik Kershaw and the Thompson Twins. No, Chartfile has no words of wisdom to impart on the subject of these particular megastars this week, as once again the all-conquering Frankie Goes To Hollywood have made history, and just cannot be ignored.

I realise that non-aficionados of the Frankies must be bored stiff by the coverage afforded to the Scousers both here and indeed in the music press as a whole in recent weeks. For that reason, I have declared next weeks Chartfile Frankie-Free. So, whatever headline-catching exploits they get up to in the next seven days, one place you wont read about them is right here.

Meanwhile, however, lets hear it for the boys who completed a notable double last Tuesday (17th) when ‘Two Tribes officially registered its one millionth sale in this country, just four months after their first single ‘Relax reached the same landmark. The Frankies have thus become:

  • The only act to strike platinum with its first two singles (John Travolta & Olivia Newton-Johns first two duets sold more than a million apiece, but both singers had previously recorded many solo singles, and are thus disqualified).
  • The first act to notch a brace of million sellers in the same calendar year since the aforementioned Newton-John/Travolta AND Boney M did so in 1978.

Even as ‘Two Tribes broke through the million sales barrier, ‘Relax raised its grand total to 1,464,665, and will shortly have sold a million copies on seven-inch alone. One of the most remarkable aspects of the success of ‘Two Tribes and ‘Relax is the multiplicity of configuration in which the two records are available. ‘Relax initially hit the shops in standard black vinyl seven-inch and 16½ minute 12-inch versions.

An eight minute American remix rapidly replaced the severely over-long 12-inch, before itself giving way to an even shorter mix, though consumer confusion over which version was being bought was considerable, since they all bore the exact same label and catalogue number.

More recently, both seven and 12-inch picture discs of ‘Relax have been released, and a week ago the seventh variation arrived in the form of a cassette of ‘Relaxs Greatest Bits, which combines portions of all previous ‘Relax mixes.

Two Tribes is available in both ‘Annihilation and ‘Carnage 12-inch mixes, and in the same size as a picture disc where it shares top-billing with a new remix of its former flip, ‘War (Hide Yourself). Its also available on seven-inch black vinyl and picture disc, and cassette.

The commercially released versions are augmented by various promotional white labels distributed to the media and the stunning ‘Two Tribes video which features yet another mix, complete with a scratch intro featuring the words of Tricky Dicky Nixon.

Frankie Goes To High Bronski is the title of an ingenious 12-inch mix — by former RM scribe Alan Coulthard — which, as its title suggests, also incorporates parts of Evelyn Thomas and Bronski Beats recent hits. This has been distributed only to the 1,300 deelays who are subscribers to Tony Princes Disco Mix Club.