#1029: 1984, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Two Tribes

by Charlie_East_West on June 16, 2015

It is 1984. Frankie Goes To Hollywood have just had a humongous hit with Relax. I am 10 years old. My entire school is singing the lyrics from Relax, blissfully unaware of their meaning. For a few months, they are the biggest pop band in the world. So what do they do? They follow it up with another gigantic record – Two Tribes.

This song is a gloriously overblown song about the Cold War and the video features the leaders of the USA and Soviet Union in a boxing ring sticking their middle fingers up to each other while indulging themselves in a fight.

Presenting a nihilistic, sarcastic commentary over the Cold War and perils of nuclear war, it mixes a huge pounding bass and American funk guitars combined with influences of Russian classical music. The song also makes use of samples of the British Protect and Survive public information films on how to survive a nuclear attack. The song is still used frequently today – especially for sporting events.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood produced three huge pop records (Relax, Two Tribes, Welcome to the Pleasuredome), all cultivated by Holly Johnson’s snarling vocals and Trevor Horn’s genius opulent production.

Their first three songs all went straight to number one. Sadly, their imperial phase was short lived as they quickly verged towards self parody and imploded.

Thirty years on, Relax and Two Tribes are still frequently played. Unlike a lot of their other songs, these two massive records have stood the test of time.

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