English eighties band Frankie Goes to Hollywood is reuniting after 36 years, according to the BBC. The group, known for their 1983 hit “Relax”, will perform together on May 7th in Liverpool, England, their hometown. This marks the first time all original members – Holly Johnson, Brian Nash, Paul Rutherford, Mark O’Toole, and Peter Gill – will share the stage since their disbandment in 1987.
The band is set to perform during the opening weekend of the Eurovision Song Contest this year.
Frankie Goes to Hollywood will be joined by fellow Liverpool-based acts Atomic Kitten, The Lightning Seeds, and The Real Thing, who are also performing at the Eurovision ceremony taking place at St. George’s Hall. But for those who had hoped the band would play a complete concert, bad news, the reunion gig will only be a short set.
Rise and fall of Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Formed in 1980 in Liverpool, Frankie Goes to Hollywood rose to fame with their debut album, “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” (1984). Their first three singles, “Relax”, “Two Tribes” and “The Power of Love” were major hits. Their second album, “Liverpool” (1986), sold fewer copies and while on tour in Liverpool, the relationship between Johnson and his bandmates worsened. A physical altercation took place between Johnson and O’Toole just before their last show at Wembley Arena. Nash remembered that Johnson was no longer interested in being part of the group, and everyone was fed up with the situation. Johnson blamed the media for depicting the band as a product of Horn’s production, calling them “manufactured.”
Liverpool singer Pete Wylie declined an offer to step in as Johnson’s replacement. Johnson later suggested that ZTT had intentionally stirred up trouble within the band to gain control, with Horn even proposing that Johnson and Rutherford dismiss the rest of the group and form a duo. However, Jill Sinclair (one of the ZTT owners) held Johnson’s boyfriend and manager, Wolfgang Kuhle, responsible for the strife, believing he had caused resentment by joining the band on tour.
On July 23, 1987, Johnson informed ZTT of his plans to leave the band and sign with MCA Records. In response, ZTT filed an injunction, as their contract required any member who left to remain contracted with ZTT. In court, ZTT argued that the band’s success was due to their production and marketing, and accused Johnson of being disruptive and uncooperative. Johnson’s legal team countered that ZTT had been financially irresponsible during the recording of “Liverpool” and that their contract represented an unreasonable trade restraint. The High Court sided with Johnson in 1988, and the band members were released from their contract. Horn later conceded that ZTT’s choice to pursue the lawsuit had been ill-advised.
Johnson began a solo career with MCA, and released the successful singles “Love Train” and “Americanos” and an album, “Blast”. Nash, O’Toole and Gill attempted to re-form Frankie Goes to Hollywood with the singer Grant Boult, but Johnson prevented this, saying it would devalue their achievements.
All the band members reunited for a 2003 episode of the VH1 show “Bands Reunited”, but did not perform.
Since you’re here …
… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading Side-Line Magazine than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can - and we refuse to add annoying advertising. So you can see why we need to ask for your help.
Side-Line’s independent journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we want to push the artists we like and who are equally fighting to survive.
If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as 5 US$, you can support Side-Line Magazine – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.
The donations are safely powered by Paypal.