Number Ones: #38


  • FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD Welcome To The Pleasuredome (ZTT)
  • Week Ending 6th April 1985
  • 2 Weeks At #1


Frankie Say…One More.

1984’s endless Summer Of Frankie had been the defining event of that year (at least for yours truly), yet the sense of anti-climax when the album Welcome To The Pleasuredome appeared that October was hard to shrug off. Sure, expectations were probably unrealistically stratospheric, but something was missing.

For an act whose singles had been so meticulously created by Trevor Horn, the majority of the other tracks on ….Pleasuredome felt unfinished, unpolished and lacking the magic studio fairy dust that was so liberally sprinkled upon Relax and Two Tribes. There was a certain cavernous, epic beauty to The Power Of Love (and time has been especially kind to its enduring appeal), but it was still a bit of a slog. The best of the rest were Black Night White Light and the title cut itself.

Taking up an entire side of the double vinyl album, Welcome To The Pleasuredome the song was one hell of an opening statement. Intended to set the scene for what was to follow, it took a while to get going before the momentum rises and falls across its 13 minutes running time. At its height, the track builds up a serious head of steam and the sheer length of the whole thing allows room for the constituent parts to shine.

So Trevor, for your next trick….turn this into a 4-minute hit single.

It did not particularly seem like it at the time, with its frankly rubbish video and the stigma of being the single which broke their run of UK chart-toppers, but Welcome To The Pleasuredome is arguably the most satisfying of all their singles; it certainly gets a regular airing at AFDPJ Towers to this day, still inspiring degrees of awe which have begun to fade with even the mighty Two Tribes.

ZTT, never ones to miss the opportunity for excess, created a fresh concept for the single, making it an E.P. with two other tracks (three on the 12″ format) and dubbing it The Escape Act. Posters went up around the country, confidently announcing Frankie’s fourth Number One. Well, that obviously didn’t quite pan out as intended, but it still reached #2 and thus allowed the Lads to rightfully claim the most successful start to a career with their first four singles.

The 7″ mix is pretty standard fare; exactly what you’d expect Trevor Horn to come up with, condensing all the best bits of the album version whilst sprucing up the middle-8 courtesy of an arresting new synth burst. The latter becomes one of the focal points of Pleasurefix, the initial 12″ reworking that kicks off with a fantastically portentous (or should that be pretentious) echoing monologue from a (possibly fictional) piece of prose entitled The Dionysian; “I am no longer an artist…I have become a work of art!”. It actually makes more of an impact than the Snatch Of Oyster that forms the original introduction on the album.

An edited version of Pleasurefix, the Escape Act Video Mix (although as with all things Frankie, I may be mixing up my pleasure with my fruitness, given all the myriad versions across equally myriad FGTH compilations) offers the best of the 12″ without the faffing around at the start, and without the extra instrumental passages. Curiously, until 2000, the only mix used on CD was the 13-minute LP original, but time (and Salvo’s extensive reissue programme) has made up for that.



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