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Sounds of Pride: Frankie Says, “RELAX” (Banned Video)

In the 1980’s as “video killed the radio star,” the new mass medium of music videos began to flood into middle class living rooms.  Gay recording artists and their music, messages, and sometimes scandalous imagery, once only underground, now filled television screens around the world. 

And the world was not ready for it what it saw.

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“Relax” the debut single from “Frankie Goes to Hollywood” was propelled to success when a British DJ deemed its cover art sexual “obscene” and banned playing it, only propelling it to #1 in the UK.

When it came to making the music video for “Relax,” the open homosexuality of “Frankie” front man, Holly Johnson and vocalist, Paul Rutherford would be front and center.  Nothing sells like sex and scandal!

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But it was quickly banned from play by the BBC and MTV.  The only version seen by most people for years was the laser beam/Ray Ban “concert version,” but who wants to see that when you can have leather, and tigers and drag queens, Oh my!


“In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn, a Pleasure Dome, Erect!”


Previous posts from theOUTfront series “Sounds of Pride –The Music of Community, Love, and Equality”

When “It’s Raining Men, It Pours!

Across the Footlights of Broadway  

Pet Shop Boys, “Go West” 

Whitney Houston’s “My Love is Your Love,” Jonathan Peters REMIX 

The Flirtations’ “Everything Possible”

Sylvester’s Disco hit, “You Make Me Feel (Might Real)” 

Fanfare for Gay Pride 


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