“Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” has gone down in British history as being one of the first with an overt-sensual innuendo to make it mainstream. But the word overt, as presented in the sentence above, is somewhat objective. Indeed Frankie Goes to Hollywood were initially able to get the track past certain censors by presenting it as a general-motivational tune. And the reason said entities likely fell for such is that most of lyrics are in fact ambiguous, such as the singer making nonliteral remarks like expressing his desire to be ‘hit with laser beams’.
But he also makes references to ‘sucking it’, ‘chewing it’ and ‘wanting to come’. Also perhaps the most blatant indication that “Relax” is romantic/sensual in nature is the line “the scene of love, feel it”. So ultimately, its overall subject matter is said to be based on delayed pleasure in the bedroom.
But with that being established, it would still be difficult to prove that “Relax” is conclusively about bedroom fun if Frankie Goes to Hollywood themselves had not eventually admitted as much.
There have been various music videos made for “Relax”. The first had Bernard Rose as its director and was centered on homosexuality. The prevailing rumor is that it was banned by both the BBC and MTV. The second was directed by a musical duo known as Godley & Crème. Yet another, featuring the band performing the song live, was helmed by director David Mallet. And there is also a “Relax” music video intertwined into the 1984 adult-themed movie, “Body Double”, which actually features Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
Who wrote “Relax”?
The writers of this song are Frankie Goes to Hollywood members:
- Holly Johnson
- Peter Gill
- Brian Nash
- Mark O’Toole
It is Johnson who is recognized as the primary songwriter. And he has stated they the words ‘floated into his head’ randomly one day while walking, in a rush, down a street in Liverpool.
The track was produced by Trevor Horn, who thoroughly dominated the overall process of bringing “Relax” into existence. In fact by the end of the day, only one member of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Holly Johnson, made it onto the recording that was actually released. However, Mr. Horn has indicated that the spirit which the band brought to the recording process was instrumental in getting the track completed.
“Relax” reached number one on the UK Singles Chart, albeit after a couple of months. It spent a significant amount of time under ban by the BBC. However, it still managed to reach number one while being banned. In fact said prohibition actually contributed to the song eventually blowing up.
It also topped the Eurochart Hot 100 and music charts in a few other countries such as Finland, Israel and Thailand.
And overall “Relax” charted in well over 20 nations, including peaking at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Relax” has been certified Platinum in the United Kingdom.
This song reached number 1 in the UK while another track that Trevor Horn produced, “Owner of a Lonely Heart” (by Yes), concurrently hit number 1 in the US. This made Horn the first producer to top both the UK Singles Chart and Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously with songs by two different musicians.
U2 love it!
Irish rock band U2 is known to have had an affinity for playing “Relax” during some of their live tours.
Release Date of “Relax”
“Relax” was released on 24 October 1983 as the lead single from Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s first album, “Welcome to the Pleasuredome”. The labels behind the song are ZTT Records and Island Records.