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BBC News reported yesterday (April 25) that the synth-pop band – specifically its classic line-up of Holly Johnson, Brian Nash, Paul Rutherford, Mark O’Toole and Peter Gill – will play a small set at the Eurovision opening ceremony on Sunday May 7.
Sharing the news on his Instagram page, frontman Johnson noted he was “happy to announce” the group’s reunion and that the Eurovision festivities would be a “very special event”.
The band are best known for the 80s hit single ‘Relax’, which was released in 1983 as their debut single and topped the charts in nine countries – including their native UK. The song was controversial for its time, receiving bans from both BBC Radio 1 and Top of the Pops due to the song’s suggestive and homoerotic nature. The song also spawned one of the most memorable pieces of merchandise of the era: a white t-shirt with “FRANKIE SAY RELAX” written in large block lettering across the chest.
The band’s follow-up singles, 1984’s ‘Two Tribes’ and ‘The Power of Love’, also topped the UK charts. All three featured on the band’s debut album ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’, which went three times platinum in the UK and charted in the top 10 across 11 countries.
A falling out between band members lead to the band’s dissolution in 1987. In 2003, the band members appeared on VH1’s Bands Reunited but did not perform. The following year, members of the band performed at a Prince’s Trust charity concert with a new vocalist named Ryan Molloy. They performed under the moniker of Forbidden Hollywood, due to a legal battle with Johnson over rights to the name, until 2007.
Eurovision 2023 will take place in Liverpool despite the tradition of the winning country hosting the event the following year. This is due to last year’s winners Kalush Orchestra representing Ukraine, which is currently not deemed safe due to security reasons concerning its ongoing conflict with Russia.
The contest will take place between May 9 and 13. Mae Muller will represent the UK with ‘I Wrote A Song’. The Eurovision final – which will be screened in UK cinemas for the first time in history – will feature performances by Sam Ryder, Kalush Orchestra, Netta and more.