Relax – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

THIS DAY IN MUSIC……………………………..on January 28th of 1984 despite being banned by Radio 1 and the BBC for its suggestive lyrics, “Relax” by the British dance group Frankie Goes to Hollywood climbs to the top of the UK singles chart. The objectionable words were “Relax, don’t do it, when you want to sock it to it, Relax, don’t do it, when you want to come”. Many other UK commercial radio stations continued to play the record and it stayed at the top for five straight weeks and remained on the chart for a then record forty-two consecutive weeks. Later in the year, the ban would be lifted. Written by the group’s lead singer Holly Johnson, bassist Mark O’Toole and drummer Peter Gill, “Relax” was the first Frankie Goes to Hollywood single, and by far their biggest American hit (they had two other chart-toppers in their native UK: “Two Tribes” and “The Power Of Love“). The basic idea of “relax, don’t do it” came to Johnson one day in winter 1982 when he was late for rehearsals “walking very quickly along the central reservation of Princes Avenue in Toxteth.” At that point, the band only consisted of Johnson, O’Toole and Gill. In America, any sexual innuendo contained in this song got little attention, but it caused plenty of controversy in England. On January 11, 1984, BBC Radio 1 DJ Mike Read announced on air that he refused to air “Relax” because of the single’s controversial artwork and lyrics. Read was unaware of it at the time, but Radio 1 was already planning to ban the single, and did so shortly afterward. However, the ban was only temporary. The BBC lifted its ban at the end of 1984 to allow the band to perform the song on the Christmas edition of Top of the Pops. In 1984, “Relax” initially spent 48 weeks on the UK Singles Chart with five of those weeks consecutively in the #1 spot. When the band’s second single, “Two Tribes,” was released in the summer of 1984, that song climbed to #1 while simultaneously “Relax” rose back up to #2. This was a feat only previously accomplished by Elvis Presley, The Beatles and John Lennon. After 48 weeks, “Relax” fell off of the chart, but re-appeared soon after for four more weeks, giving it a total of 52 weeks on the chart. The song reached #10 in the US.