Three Frankie Goes To Hollywood albums have been repressed – under the tutelage of Universal Music – and are back on the shelves this weekend. “For those with an eye for the finer details”, to quote ZTT Records, here are some close-ups…
First in line is debut LP Welcome To The Pleasuredome. Release on 29 October 1984, it’s one of the most contentious debuts in pop history, in that it was destined to become a million-seller (and still get repressed 36 years later) from before it was even announced, thanks to the stellar success of Relax and Two Tribes. But, at the same time, it was slightly derided for stretching the band’s best tracks across two discs, adding cover versions like Dionne Warwick’s Do You Know The Way To San Jose?.
Our view? If the album hadn’t been a double, it would never have become so iconic, or so hotly debated.
Also repressed is the 1986 follow-up album, Liverpool. And it has to be said that, if taken in isolation, this would be remembered as a massive Eighties album. Perhaps the definitive rock-pop crossover of the era. But of course, it’s always destined to be eclipsed by Pleasuredome, despite its sales figures.
The only confusing element of all of this is the accompanying vinyl release of Bang!, the 1990s FGTH compilation. It probably generates a great deal of ‘product recall’ among the general public, having been boosted by a TV advertising campaign and extensive single remix series (by Fluke, Brothers in Rhythm and, er, Ollie J), but it feels rather incongruous to release a set originally compiled by Warner Music’s 90s A&R department, as opposed to ZTT itself.
By that we mean 2012’s Frankie Said CD/DVD set, although another contender could have been Universal’s own Frankie Say Greatest from 2009, on the proviso that it had a complete artwork redesign, of course. All that said, Bang!’s vinyl version is now, according to Universal, “a double as opposed to a single for sound quality purposes.”
Is this the start of a more serious deep-dive into the ZTT catalogue from Universal? We certainly hope so.