There’s a reason musicians don’t rate Frankie

Frankie Goes To Hollywood: ‘No one could touch us – people were scared’
No band has dominated a 12-month period like Frankie ruled 1984, with three singles all at No 1. Yet today they rarely get cited by other musicians. So what’s the legacy of the band that scandalised Britain?

It’s actually in the piece:

most of the backing track was pieced together by ZTT musicians

Gill, Nash and O’Toole – despite doubts about their musical input – were similarly essential, lad archetypes to offset the band’s arty epicureans. “They were Geordie Shore, three decades early,” laughs Morley. “They were the guys who, today, would be having sex on reality TV. A show that followed Frankie on tour would have been horribly sleazy. And yet their enormous capacity for vulgarity was part of the energy of the band. They may not have played on the records,

Pop stars undoubtedly but not actually musicians so much.

11 comments on “There’s a reason musicians don’t rate Frankie

  1. I think the same could be easily be said of Michael Jackson, even if some musicians do bang on about him a bit. A great entertainer and deliverer of spectacle, yes, but not someone who was ever musically influential.

    You’re not going to turn on the radio, hear a song you’ve never heard before and immediately think “Hmm, that’s obviously influenced by Michael Jackson” whereas if a song borrows from the likes of James Brown or Chuck Berry then you know it straight away.

  2. ^^^^^

    Eh, I dunno about that. MJ (and Quincy Jones) basically came up with the template for modern pop – funky, disco-ish backing track, big choruses, etc, Justin Timberlake et al, all have taken huge cues from Jackson.

    He apparently was pretty handy with a melody as well – didn’t play instruments himself but would sing/hum the bass lines, etc to his backing band.

  3. For me that’s questionable. Quincy Jones is certainly influential as both a producer and arranger but the template for modern pop music didn’t originate with Jackson, even if he did much to popularise it.

    That template really comes from a combination of four key artists; James Brown, Sly Stone, Isaac Hayes and Nile Rodgers, and its there that the musical influence lies, even if the likes of Justin Timberlake perhaps don’t realise it.

  4. 30 years has come and gone very quickly.

    The underlying sound of the original recordings for Relax and Two Tribes is easily heard in the ZTT releases, albeit with a massive input from Trevor Horn.

    I can highly recommend “Nasher says Relax” as a warts and all book on his time in the band and since, very entertaining.

  5. Yah, take ur point – definitely agree that Rodgers deserves more credit (especially for his production).

    Jackson and co and may not have invented this stuff but as you say they bought it all together and made it the mainstream sound. Interesting to note that his ability to create a decent tune seems to have vanished as he got more mental.

    Going back to the article for a moment I think the article wildly over-rates Frankie Goes… A couple of excellent toe-tappers and some filthy (tho very dated) videos. No more.

  6. Just been looking at the Wiki page on FGTH Relax & they confirm something I was told back in ’84. Relax wasn’t FGTH. It was Holly Johnson & a bunch of session musicians & all studio work.

  7. Remember seeing FGTH being interviewed on a kids Saturday TV pop show phone in their 80s heydays (can’t honestly, honestly, remember why the TV was on that channel!).

    A wag phoned in and asked:

    “Frankie goes to Hollywood?”
    “Yes!?”
    “Bunch of wankers!”

    Cue embarrassed dismissal from presenter.

  8. No band has dominated a 12-month period like Frankie ruled 1984, with three singles all at No 1.

    Seriously? No band? Loads of bands have beaten that record. The Beatles, for a start. And Bryan Adams, who dominated a whole year with just one single, which is surely more impressive.

    Unity,

    Michael Jackson was a preposterously talented musician, but without the technical training. He wrote every part of his songs, all just using his voice. He would teach session guitarists their parts by singing each note of each chord to them (which must have been a frustrating process). There’s a copy of the original demo of Beat It online somewhere at the moment, created entirely by Jackson singing layers and layers of vocals. You can clearly hear almost every aspect of the finished track there: the drums, the guitar parts, all the vocal harmonies, keyboards, bassline, etc: it’s astounding. He had the same ability as Quincy Jones to figure out entire finished arrangements in his head, but didn’t have the technical and theoretical training that allowed Jones to write it all down as notation. Perhaps that’s why some musicians go on about him a bit.

    To refer to that as someone who was merely an “entertainer and deliverer of spectacle” is absurd.

    > Quincy Jones is certainly influential as both a producer and arranger but the template for modern pop music didn’t originate with Jackson, even if he did much to popularise it. That template really comes from a combination of four key artists; James Brown, Sly Stone, Isaac Hayes and Nile Rodgers, and its there that the musical influence lies

    You’re saying that Jackson wasn’t influential because all the people who are hugely influenced by him don’t count because he was in turn influenced by others? Well, why stop there? Brown, Stone, Hayes, and Rodgers were all influenced by others too. And you don’t think any of the template of modern pop comes from The Beatles? I’m pretty sure Nile Rodgers would disagree with you on both counts.

  9. It was Matt Bianco, not FGTH, who were called a bunch of wankers on Saturday Superstore.
    Rivalled by an English guest interviewee on a similar programme on S4C: “I know the Welsh for hello everybody. It’s cont bach budr.”

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