The first five videos are the original versions of Holly's solo singles from 1989 to 1991. I wanted to include the first release from the Dreams That Money Can't Buy album, Where Has Love Gone?, but it is not available, unfortunately. Also included are a 2010 studio performance of Americanos, a live version of Relax from the 80s Rewind Festival in 2011, a stunning 2013 live charity performance of The Power Of Love, and the single Love And Hate ft. Ryuichi Sakamoto.
Love Train was Holly Johnson's first solo single after Frankie disbanded, and reached No.4 in the UK Charts in 1989, and #65 in the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. The club-friendly tune featured a guitar solo by Queen guitarist Brian May, and innuendo laden lyrics that could've given DJ Mike Read a heart attack - "You're just right to keep me up all night". Coupled with a video that looked like it was set in toy town, this was shear genius!
The 12" vinyl and CD single included the Ride The 'A' Train extended mix, and like the 7" included Murder In Paradise as the B-side.
HOLLY JOHNSON - Blast
Holly Johnson is, of course, most famous for being the lead singer of one of the most controversial and biggest-selling eighties bands - Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
Holly's solo career saw him venture into less controversial territory with the release of more middle of the road pop songs. This was a wise move as Frankie left one hell of a legacy to compete with, and continuing on the same road would just never have worked.
In 1989, Holly released his first solo single Love Train, a catchy dance/pop tune that reached no.4 in the UK charts. It didn't have the most original of titles, but was a solid debut single, nonetheless, and went down well in the clubs.
The follow-up single, Americanos, featured an even more catchy hook and also reached no.4 - it should have reached No.1 in my opinion, but I don't think many people grasped the fact that he was not actually celebrating American culture, but despising it.
Following the success of these two singles, the album Blast (MCA) was quickly released and this rocketed straight to no.1. Two more singles were also released from the album, Atomic City, a dramatic, anti-nuclear track produced by Dan Hartman, and "Heaven's Here, a lyrically impressive love song which featured a tea-time chorus.
For anyone wanting to create a hit single in the 80s, Blast provided the perfect lesson on how to do it. It featured ten melodic tracks that were a world away from Trevor Horn's ginormous productions, and had just the right mix of ingredients to make a No.1 album. And Johnson ingeniously managed to slide his political views into songs that had teen pop choruses.
An imaginatively titled remix album Hollelujah was released in 1990 and featured a Frankie Knuckles remix of Love Train, plus remixes of Americanos, Atomic City, Perfume and Heaven's Here, plus the title track Hollelujah.
Holly Johnson released a second album on the MCA label "Dream's That Money Can't Buy" in 1991. Unfortunately, due to MCA cutting their promotional budget, and a lack of airplay for the first single, Where Has Love Gone?, the album failed to hit the top 40.
Another two singles were also released from the album, Across The Universe and The People Want To Dance.
Holly Johnson also released an album in 1999 called "Soulstream".
Holly also became well-known for his hats!
The second single from the Blast album stayed in the UK charts for 11 weeks and just like Love Train, also peaked at No.4. The song was No.1 in Austria and No.2 in Germany.
The lyrics aren't supposed to be taken at face value and are actually attacking American culture, not celebrating it as some critics believed.