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#ZTT30: Japanese CD of the Day: Frankie Goes To Hollywood / BANG!

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If you wanted to buy an ‘import’ CD or music release in London in 1985 there was only one place to go – Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus. A record store so cool that you didn’t have to leave the tube station to go shopping (there was an entrance within the station itself).

It was there that this unique Frankie Goes To Hollywood Japanese EP was purchased almost 30 years ago.

Bang!, as it is called, was very exciting for a number of reasons. The first was simply due to the fact that it was a CD. The format was still in its infancy at this point and the Japanese pressing complete with ‘OBI’ strip made it even sexier. The other great thing about Bang! was that it collected many great and rare versions of the Frankie singles, most of them making their CD debut on this release. Bang included all four of the hits from Welcome To The Pleasuredome along with War which was technically an A-side of Two Tribes for a while. Black Night White Light was the only true album track, and certainly one of the better non-singles from Pleasuredome.

Let’s talk about the remixes on this disc. War is the “Hidden” version as featured on the B-side of the twelve-inch of Two Tribes. It’s far superior to the album cut with an extended percussive intro which builds up nicely, layering instrumentation until that fat bass comes in. Definitely worth a mention is the excellent jazzy electric piano. It runs for just over eight and a half minutes. Superb.

Next up is Relax. There is no mention of it in the packaging but this is the ‘classic’ New York Mix. It wasn’t particularly rare (the 16 minute Sex Mix would have been a more interesting choice) but this does sound fantastic (everything on this disc is mastered beautifully).

The standard album version of Black Night White Light is followed by an eight minute version of Welcome To The Pleasuredome. Again, there is no reference to it in the packaging, but this is actually what has become known as the Urban Mix and incredibly, despite all the reissues over the years and decades, it’s still unique to this release. To be totally honest, it’s slightly dull with some rather boring monotonous instrumentation droning on for two or three minutes before the song proper breaks in. But hey, you need to own Bang! to officially have this version of the track.

The Hibakusha Mix of Two Tribes was the rarest of the twelve inch editions issued (supposedly only 5000 copies pressed) and so its inclusion here was very exciting back in the day. The sheen has been lost somewhat over the years as it has turned up regularly (it appeared on the 1995 CD reissue of Two Tribes and on the Twelve Inches compilation from 2001). The Power Of Love ends this CD EP and is the only track included in its familiar single/album version.

This boasts a unique cover design and retains the familiar typography and iconography of 1984 Frankie. Bang! also comes with lyrics to all the tracks (in English and Japanese), which were not provided with any of formats of the Pleasuredome album.

In short Bang! is a ‘must have’ for fans of ZTT and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Despite all the multiple vinyl twelve-inch records and the cassingles with their unique mash-ups of familiar mixes, outside of very early CD pressings of the Pleasuredome album (which included the Annihilation version of Two Tribes) fans would have to wait until August 1986 and Rage Hard before any Frankie single was issued in extended form on CD in the UK.

If you owned Bang! back in 1985, the world really did feel like your oyster.

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26 responses to #ZTT30: Japanese CD of the Day: Frankie Goes To Hollywood / BANG!

  1. Stefano says:

    Nice review. Great release back then, and indeed an excellent warm mastering.

  2. edward says:

    actually mine first ever bought frankie cd, and one of the first ever from mine collection. Soon after followed by the 2 different welcome cd’s. The one with the 10.20 two tribes including the last voice AND happy hi, and the one exlcuding the two before mentioned BUT including two tribes 3.28, fery (g0) and San Jose, although it has never been clear to me why two versions were released back then (anybody?)

  3. Two Tribes single was re-released in 1994, not 1995.

  4. Nice! I remember buying this from the big HMV in Cardiff back in the day – it’s an awesome CD. Looks like you’re missing (or at least the pictures don’t show it) the red OBI sticker that originally came with it.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Not sure what happened to the OBI… I probably threw it away (D’Oh!) My excuse was that I was only 15 at the time :)

  5. Liam Bastick says:

    I couldn’t agree more about Tower Records. I missed it so much I left the country! It was great going there once a week to see which imports you couldn’t afford this week as an impoverished student. You found things in there you just couldn’t find elsewhere, a great – if expensive – treasure trove.. I was brought up in Derby (that well known hot bed of music) and when I was a student there were 23 (TWENTY THREE) places in the city centre you could buy vinyl. Sigh.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I used to live very near Earls Court tube in the early 1990s, which is on the Piccadilly line, and about a 10 minute hop to Piccadilly Circus. Since Tower Records was open until midnight (quite radical at the time) I’d quite often on the spur of the moment take a trip late-ish in the evening (9 or 10pm) and ‘nip’ up to Tower for a quick browse. As mentioned in the article I used to love how you could enter the basement area of the shop (tapes, books, soundtracks etc.) via the tube station itself. Great memories.

  6. JPD says:

    Thanks Paul! Not only a great review from one of my favourite bands back then but trigering some great memories of my many visits to Tower Piccadilly. I use to work close by and visited the store at least once a week. I loved the fact Tower was on many different levels including access from the tube but more importantly the imports from various countries. A very sad day when Tower closed.

  7. Eric says:

    I could’ve sworn Tower Piccadilly didn’t open until 1986!!???

    • andrew says:

      I agree. I would have said late 1986. Just a great store though. I still miss it. Could always go in there way late in the evening and pick up a magazine or something. I even remember when they use to have video rentals in the basement. Happy days!

      • Eric says:

        For me, it was the best store I ever visited (within the UK). I’ve just been making myself very nostalgic (and a bit depressed!) reading the history of Tower Records on wikipedia….

  8. Martin says:

    I bought this from what is known as eil.com back in 1987, mail order from thier advert in Record Collector magazine….mine’s got the red OBI but it’s actually a sicker, not the usual removeable paper ones – it’s still on the cd all these years later…..does anyone else have the same?

    • edward says:

      That brings back memories long forgotten. I always used to go to a bookstore to look at or buy that record collector. Completely forgotten about it now. And yes, eil (wasn’t it also once called esprit, or am I now just confused with something else), they had those large adds with new and rare items. You’d send an SAE and a cheque (they excist then) and a week or so later a new/rare record (and later cd), was delivered. Gosh, that was exciting and long before ebay or even the internet.

    • murray says:

      I have the same OBI that is attached to the jewel case. It was my first purchase with an OBI and I thought all were supposed to come that way!

  9. Darrell says:

    I too got this little gem from mail order from an add in Record Collector magazine back in 1988, and mine still has the red sticker!

  10. Lazlo Nibble says:

    To be fair despite the wait “Rage Hard” was pioneering in its own right as only a handful of commercial CD-singles preceded it. It also doesn’t hurt that there were eight different SKUs for the single on initial release (nine if the label ever officially issued a fully-populated version of the presentation box, which I don’t recall ever getting a definitive answer on).

  11. Peter van noort says:

    My most expensive buy from Frankie Goes To Hollywood, payed around 80 Dutch guilders (around 40 euros) but worth every cent spend on it. Still my favorite is the Hibakucha mix….

  12. Seth Hollander says:

    Right! The Bang EP is superdesireable! I never got it, but always wanted it (still do!).
    Right! That version of War is the best (had the 12″)!
    Right! The Tower chain was wonderful! I visited Tower in NYC a few times before I moved to San Francisco (home of the first Tower store!) in the mid-90s. I think there were 3 Towers here then, the original small store, a two story store in The Castro neighborhood (an easy walk from my place in The Haight), and the 4 or 5 story store on Market that became a Virgin Megastore later. WONDERFUL stores! Great import sections and lots of the imports were marked down! If they didn’t sell it the year (month?) they got the disc, it got marked down to supercheap! I picked up so many UK and Japanese CD singles there for $2-5 each! I owe Tower for all the Kula Shaker singles I was able to enjoy at a time when I was making almost no money.
    I wish Tower was still around!
    Real pleasure reading this article this AM. Thank you!

  13. fisonic says:

    The CD was released on 25th of May 1986 (not 1985) as P33D-20017 (the one shown in the photos) with a sticker obi, and got reissued as PSCD-1177 in 1991 with a paper obi.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Must have got it in 1986 then, which might also tie in with Tower Records not being there until 1986 (apparently) :)

      • Eric says:

        Interestingly, wiki says Piccadilly opened “a year later” than 1984’s Kensington store, but I’m sure I remember the grand opening being in about July 1986, because I took a special trip up there for some special offer or other (and ended up getting a Paul McCartney 12″ single).

  14. golfgti says:

    Thank you for this article, very enjoyable “going” back in time.
    Black Night White Light is one of my favorite Frankie non-singles, there MUST be some remixes of this song in the archives !

  15. mr59 says:

    tower on piccadilly was great. i remember when i first came to london at the age of 17 (i am from austria) and was blown away by the sheer size of that store. back in those days when you couldn’t order anything online, it was like paradise. all those imports, all those rare 12″ and so much range. these were the days when all of bowie’s albums were re-released and i have never seen a store before where all of his albums were in stock.
    i went to piccadilly not only for the place but also because i knew there was a huge record store. i was so exited when i left the tube and was able to enter the store directly from the tube extit! one really gets nostalgic…

  16. Steve Thorpe says:

    My first trip to the sadly missed Tower Records in Piccadilly was 1986, to buy the Adam Ant ‘Hits’ compilation – it was the only place I knew of that stocked the VHS video version as well, and obviously being Adam Ant the videos were essential!! From then on I was hooked, and working in Golden Square / living in WC1 I was in there a couple of times a week at least. I even found the original CBS Records 1985 Vive Le Rock CD by Adam in there during the early 90s at £8.99 – 2 copies just sitting there in the rack, obviously pulled out of the stock room. Heaven :-)
    Still hate the fact that the site is now hosting some faceless fashion chain store, and music is getting harder and harder to find offline…

  17. Kevin says:

    Wasn’t the version of “Two Tribes” on the original CD pressing of Welcome To The Pleasuredome slightly different from the Annihilation mix?

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