Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Welcome To The Pleasuredome (1984)

Embarrassingly juvenile disco/arena rock with lots of covers. I love it (every so often). I didn't own this album in the '80s, but I dubbed a cassette copy of a friend's 2 LP set. I'm sure the group members must have contributed something during the recording, but this is a Trevor Horn album from start to finish. From what I can tell, the backing band were really studio aces from Horn's camp, including Art Of Noise bandmates Anne Dudley and JJ Jeczalik, and two former bandmates from Yes: Steve Howe and Trevor Rabin. As a result, it closely resembles an Art of Noise album. The group was a much bigger deal overseas than in the US. Only the single Relax cracked the US Top 40, so I guess you could call the group a one-hit wonder. My CD is the 2000 issue with 2 bonus tracks and excellent liner notes.

Here's info that I've cobbled together concerning the band's unique name: Singer Holly Johnson claims the group's name was derived from a page from The New Yorker magazine, featuring the headline "Frankie Goes to Hollywood" and a picture of Frank Sinatra. In actuality, the magazine page Johnson referred to was a pop art poster by the late Guy Peellaert.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #33
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #20

Tracks: I like the originals Welcome To The Pleasure Dome, Relax, Two Tribes and Wish The Lads Were Here. The covers are good because they're all so campy: War, Born to Run and Do You Know The Way To San Jose? The band had a power ballad-type hit in the UK with The Power Of Love, but that song (like most power ballads) doesn't do anything for me. The rest are filler and average filler at that. Skip the bonus tracks.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: This reminds me of early 1985 and college friends, particularly Buffalo Tom and Larry, who were roommates in the dorm room next to mine. The hype surrounding this group was rather limited in the US and I would imagine even more so in rural East Texas, but we got caught up in it a little bit. I didn't have a "Frankie Say Relax" t-shirt, but I still own a button (below) which is beginning to show some age.

Around that time, in a Freshman English course, we were assigned to read Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan" which begins:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree

I'm sure that was just serendipity because I doubt the professor was listening to FGTH and had probably been assigning that poem for 20+ years. (I'm giving myself bonus points for a Xanadu reference)

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