On This Day In 1984, Frankie Goes To Hollywood Hit #1 in The UK With 'Relax'!



The year was 1983 and a Liverpool band by the name of Frankie Goes To Hollywood managed to be featured on an episode of the UK show The Tube, performing a song called "Relax". The success of their first TV appearance, combined with the re-airing of their 1982 John Peel session and a newly recorded session that featured "Relax" and "Welcome To The Pleasuredome" led producer Trevor Horn (Buggles, Yes) to sign the band.

Knowing a hit when he heard it, Horn immediately booked studio time to record "Relax", but found the band's studio skills left a bit to be desired. He brought in Ian Dury's Blockheads to cut the track, but their version wasn't to Horn's liking either.

Sending the lads back to Liverpool, Horn recruited multi-instrumentalist Andy Richards (Strawbs, Wham!), J. J. Jeczalik (Art of Noise), and guitarist/engineer Steve Lipson to help him achieve his artistic vision, with only singer Holly Johnson appearing on the track.



Despite ZZT Records co-founder Paul Morley attempting to court controversy at every possible turn in an attempt to promote "Relax", the song would take seven weeks to reach the Top 40. An appearance on Top of The Pops on January 5, 1984 changed all that. The next day, sales of the single shot through the roof as BBC DJ Mike Read proclaimed his disdain for the song, refusing to play it on-air.

Little did he know that the BBC itself had placed a ban on the song, which, of course, did not stop John Peel from continuing to play the song on his show, helping to push the song to the top spot, where it would stay for five weeks. By the time all was said and done, the single had spent a whopping 48 weeks in the Top 75, making it the year's best-selling single.

By this time, the BBC had removed their ban of the song, thereby paving the way for Frankie to perform the song on the Christmas Day broadcast of Top Of The Pops.

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