ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Frankie advises relaxation

Liverpool group Frankie Goes To Hollywood released their debut single, ‘Relax, which was the first release on ZTT Records, the label launched by record producer Trevor Horn.

The group was formed in Liverpool in 1980 by vocalists Holly Johnson (real name William Johnson, ex-Big In Japan) and Paul Rutherford (ex-Spitfire Boys) with three other members of smalltime local Merseyside groups. Taking their memorable group name from a newspaper headline above an article about either British vocalist Frankie Vaughan or Frank Sinatra making films — sources differ as to which Frank it may have been — the group recorded a session for BBC Radio One. Soon afterwards, at the end of 1982, they appeared on the trendy British TV show The Tube, which was apparently where Horn became aware of them.

The release of ‘Relax was promoted by widely distributed T-shirts bearing the legend ‘Frankie Says, and before long the single began to attract attention after a video clip of the song was banned. However, the single went into orbit when BBC Radio One disc jockey Mike Read announced on the air that he would not be playing the record as he considered it obscene. The controversy this caused was enough to propel it to No. 1 in Britain, for five weeks, astonishingly remaining on the chart for a whole year.