Day 14: ‘Two Tribes’ by Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Another true classic. Frankie Goes To Hollywood had already earned their place in musical history in 1983, when their single ‘Relax’ was banned from the airwaves.
The following summer, it was almost impossible to switch on the radio without hearing this song. A couple of years ago I heard a very thin ‘live session’ version, recorded before Trevor Horn got his hands on it and turned it into a high-energy masterpiece.
I haven’t posted the official video, because it’s pretty embarrassing. Hardly anyone under the age of thirty will know what Ronald Reagan looked like, and even fewer will remember Soviet premier Konstantin Chernenko. The wresting match between the two lookalikes might have been entertaining and controversial thirty years ago, but now it just looks silly.
Instead, I’ve chosen this clip from Top of the Pops, with John Peel and Simon Bates introducing their ninth week at Number 1. They’re all wearing white tuxedos, instead of their casual clothes. Did they know it was to be the end of their unbroken run at the top, I wonder? Holly Johnson tears up a copy of the Sun and goes walkabout in the audience. It was one of the most remarkable and charismatic performances I’d ever seen on the programme. Holly turned up recently on BBC Four, in Mark Radcliffe’s history of the Indie scene, Music For Misfits. It’s good to know he’s still going strong.
Holly Johnson – vocals; Paul Rutherford – vocals; Mark O’Toole – bass ; Peter Gill – drums; Brian Nash – guitar


  1. Moi · December 3, 2015

    Frankie were superb


    • Steve O'Gorman · December 4, 2015

      This performance on TOTP took my breath away. Just brilliant.


      • Moi · December 4, 2015

        excellent entertainers


YouTube videos often disappear without warning. Please let me know if you draw a blank, so I can try and restore normal service. If you've liked it, please tell your friends!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s