It is hard to believe it now, but there was a period of time in 1984 when Frankie Goes To Hollywood was so huge that even The Washington Post did a 1200 word piece (long for a newspaper) on the front page of their Show section in November 1984. Here's an excerpt:
The demand is unreal, said Sheldon Michaelson, buyer at Washington's Record and Tape Ltd. Michaelson said the Georgetown store alone is moving 100 copies a week of both the "Relax" and "Two Tribes" 12-inche records, and even the standard 7-inch single is selling fast. "People come in off the streets and ask, 'When is the album coming?' -- that's wild...Frankie's third single, The Power Of Love, is one of my favorites songs of all time (video). It was also their third number one in the UK, though they were knocked off the top after one week by Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas.
"They want to be on top of what they think may be the Next Big Thing."They appeal to rockers and disco people, straights and gays," Michaelson says. "They have no form and no substance -- they never do the same thing twice. So people see in them what they want. They're only as controversial as you see it. And the sound is infectious. When they first put it on in the store, I had to come out of my office and ask what it was -- never heard anything like it." Michaelson says he has ordered 2,000 copies of the new album, the biggest order the store has made in a long time -- surpassing even Prince's "Purple Rain."
On the occasion of yet another Hits collection for the group, Paul Lester of The Times just did a great new piece on the band that's definitely worth your time. Via the same link, you can also see a new video for Relax - one that's depressingly lame until the arrival midway through of a fantastically preserved Holly Johnson.
Frankie, ten blocks from my house and next to some other slightly famous place.
Frankie article quoted above by Joe Brown, Washington Post, Nov 4 1984
For those who want to read something from the era, check out The Road To The Pleasure Dome from The Face's December 1984 issue.