Friday, September 6, 2013

Lost Music

Since work has been crazy busy the past couple of months, I've had very little quality personal time. What time I have had I've mostly been just reading and listening to music. Very often I get into the mood for specific favorite bands and listen to their stuff over and over again until I tire of it and move on to a different favorite. A couple weeks ago something reminded me of one of the oddest but brilliant flashes of music from the late eighties--Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
For me this band came out of nowhere. The music of the 80's has grown on me over time, but while living through them I felt it was mostly mediocre, especially compared to the brilliance of the late 60's and early 70's (Zeppelin, Floyd, Beatles, The Who, Stones, Cream, Hendrix, etc.). I spent several years of the 80's listening to almost nothing but U2, and I considered them to be by far the greatest band of that time (still do).
But Frankie Goes to Hollywood crashed onto the music scene like nothing I had ever seen before. They were brazenly, openly gay (at least the two frontmen) yet produced in-your-face galloping pop-rock tunes like Two Tribes and Welcome to the Pleasuredome, not to mention their rather blatantly sexual hit Relax. Their singer had a sneer of a voice that worked great even when producing rehashes of tunes like Springsteen's Born to Run (nothing can touch the original, yet there is an addictive quality to FGTH's version). And even their unknown songs were often quite good--Black Night, White Light has an awesome bass line and backing vocal. They do a creditable take of the old hit War as well. And Krisco Kisses...well, it's a bit too over-the-top for  my taste, but it certainly deserves a few listens!

I find it very sad to listen to the friends of my sons and learn that many young people these days have no appreciation or knowledge whatsoever of older music, even though that music is generally far superior to anything on the charts these days. (We still have fabulous modern bands, like Tool, A Perfect Circle, Soundgarden, White Stripes, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, etc., but they are rarely anywhere near the charts).

FGTH's music turned off a lot of people who were uncomfortable with their brazenness, but they deserve a second chance, especially their terrific first album.


  1. LOL, FGTH is a throwback to my youth! There are a great number of bands from the 80s that seem to be influencing the current music scene, for better or for worse. I grew up on 80s music, so I understand your amazement that kids today are clueless to the cycles music flows through. My eldest's after school program introduced me to Justin Timberlake's newest tune, which sounds like a remix of something Michael Jackson or another from that era would have done - heck at first I thought they **were** listening to the 80s!

    The problem with a lot of the bands from that era is the mixed signals some of them sent regarding their sexuality versus their music; in some cases their orientation overshadowed nearly everything else, which was a sign of the times. I was in grade 1 in 1981, so I missed out on a lot of the political aspects - I just liked some of the tunes and thought some of them were wierd (Boy George, shudders).

    Thanks for bringing back some classic 80s memories! Off to YouTube.

  2. Sorry, didn't like them then, wouldn't like them now. Just not into anything pop.

  3. I'm not into pop either, Alex. If it was just their hit Relax I probably wouldn't have liked them all that much, but Two Tribes and Welcome to the Pleasuredome rock, especially the Surrender version of TT and the single version of the latter. I wish I could play the guitar like that on Two Tribes!

  4. I'm with you on the classics (Stones, Skynard, Cream) but every once in a while, something will bounce on the radio in the car, such as Relax, and I can't help singing along. Another fave of mine is Walk Like an Egyptian. It has no real intrinsic value as anything other than a crazy dance tune, but it's fun to teach stuff like this to my daughter. (She refuses to listen to Jethro Tull or Zeppelin. lol)