No band has ever dominated a year like Frankie Goes to Hollywood in 1984. Born out of Liverpool’s post-punk scene with a brash, mischievous, ‘do what you want’ attitude – Frankie were a one-off. With their first three singles all going to No.1 – a feat previously only achieved by fellow Liverpudlians, Gerry and the Pacemakers – they dominated the charts and the airwaves. They had a sound and image unlike anything else; part punk with rock and dance thrown in for good measure.
Are we living in a world, where sex and horror are the new gods?
The world needed Frankie’s innocence and fun. With a bleak backdrop that included Thatcher, Reagan, Cold War, Trident, the miner’s strike, IRA bombs and HIV – Britain, and certainly Liverpool, were not in a good place. Frankie’s success allowed them to play about with political themes in a serious but entertaining way.
Arguably the last great British pop band to get obsessed over? Maybe. Will we ever see their like again? Possibly not.
The British Music Experience (BME) is celebrating Frankie’s enormous contribution to British popular music in their home city of Liverpool through a temporary exhibition of some iconic Frankie Goes To Hollywood stage outfits, instruments, memorabilia and a collection of retro “Frankie Say” merch. With focus on their meteoric success in 1984 and the political landscape of that year, the exhibition will launch with a BANG and conclude with Frankie Say 2020 – bringing the story up to date in a sombre but uplifting way, highlighting the strange times we are living through.
The exhibition will be further supported through a season of events celebrating 1984, including film screenings, album playbacks and discussions.
Kevin McManus, Head of UNESCO City of Music for Liverpool commented: “I am delighted to hear the British Music Experience are celebrating one of Liverpool’s most successful groups ever. When you look at our illustrious music heritage it takes something to stand out but from their very early days Frankie Goes To Hollywood always stood out. For a year or so they were the biggest band on the planet, cementing Liverpool’s place as the music capital of the world. It is only fitting that this unique exhibition is taking place in Liverpool, the only city that could have given birth to such a brilliant, maverick band delivering works of pure pop genius. I think the exhibition will remind the world of just how significant FGTH were.
Harvey Goldsmith, legendary promoter and Chair of BME Trustees said “The British Music Experience is thrilled to host an exhibition so important to Liverpool and a close look at the year 1984, which captures our imaginations. We’re excited to try to decipher that magic something Frankie Goes To Hollywood brought to the world at just the right moment in time. It was an amazing year, when cultural norms were being pushed and challenged, Relax and then the wildly successful Frankie Say T-Shirt campaign was ground-breaking, followed by Two Tribes and The Power of Love. Frankie Goes To Hollywood smoothly pulled off a level of success not seen since the 1960’s.”
The exhibition runs from 29 May 2021 to 9 January 2022 and is included with the cost of general admission.