[In honor of the Summer Olympics in London and the enthusiastic response that greeted last week's post, here's another dose of the Now That's What I Call Music! series.]
Four months after it's inaugural volume, Now That's What I Call Music struck back with a second volume featuring 30 more songs in March 1984. The chart-topping achievements of this collection was limited to just four Number Ones while the first volume had featured 11. The album itself did climb to the top of the charts where it stayed for five weeks before being displaced by Bob Marley's posthumous collection Legend.
Queen got things started with "Radio Ga-Ga", their commentary on video overtaking radio as the primary form of entertainment in the typical family's home. Nevermind that the revolution had occurred 30 years earlier, they wanted to sing about it just like The Buggles.
One of HERC's all time favorite songs is the beautiful melody of "Only You" as originally recorded by Yaz(oo) in 1982, "Music's Greatest Year". In 1983, a British a cappella version by The Flying Pickets bested the chart position (#2) of the original by going straight to the top during the lucrative Christmas season. Sadly, the song didn't even chart here in the Colonies. The original version was used in the train station scene in the film Can't Hardly Wait featuring the original J-Lo, Jennifer Love Hewitt. Has Glee covered this song yet? Enrique Iglesias has.
It's one of those you-had-to-be-there moments: 1983-1984's "strategic assault on pop" as waged by Frankie Goes To Hollywood and ZTT marketing director Paul Morley. Weapons included ubiquitous "Frankie Say" shirts (the one above is a recent creation for their 2009 hits collection), provocative posters and, most of all, the music. The group is one of only two groups to to top the Bristish charts with their first three singles. (The other group was
The Beatles The Rolling Stones Jimi Hendrix Experience ABBA Gerry & the Pacemakers.) Legend has it that in January 1984 while playing "Relax" on his BBC Radio One radio show, DJ Mike Read, looked at the cover art and then saw the printed lyrics and then yanked the record off the turntable live on air deeming it "obscene". This was a week after the band had performed the song on BBC's Top Of The Pops television show and three months after the song's initial release. Then BBC banned the record and it promptly shot to the top of the charts where it stayed for five weeks, ironically unable to be played on their hits countdown show, the aforementioned Top Of The Pops. The song was later used to great effect in Brian De Palma's Body Double featuring the group in an "adult video". (You'll have to seek that one out on your own.) Here's the original performance before the ban, followed by a later one post-ban and finally, the band's original stripped-down demo version before producer Trevor Horn added the THROB - warning the last one may be NSFW!
Like many of his generation, HERC's first paycheck job was in the fast food industry. With one of his paychecks, he got his Sharp VZ-2000 off layaway and bought The Rolling Stones album Undercover to christen it with because the album contained his favorite song at the time. Later, he bought the vinyl 12" single of the song as well another single from the album, "Too Much Blood". The album is not a favorite of many Stones fans but HERC digs its mixture of new wave, dance club, reggae and the Stones classic swagger rock.
|look closely to see Brain May's sig - presleycollectibles.com|
FRANKIE SAY: FINISHED!