I was a massive Frankie Goes To Hollywood fan as a teenager when they first made an impact, and I still am now. And having tried to seek out this book in recent years, I finally found a copy from this seller so I was very happy! It's a fascinating insight into Holly Johnson's life and his musical career. In 2010, as I look back, part of me wishes that the years in between could be added onto Holly's story as the book ends in the early 90s. If you want to learn more about the life and background of this charismatic and interesting frontman with one of the greatest pop bands of all time, you should want to read this book!
Many a band have put Liverpool on the world map and each decade seems to bring along another to join the ranks. The 1980's was no exception. With a big name and a controversial debut single, FGTH hit the ground running. Another plus for any band is to have a singer of unique talent and Holly Johnson was certainly that. This autobiography details Holly's journey to stardom (and beyond) told in his own unique manner. Funny, sad and controversial in equal measures, Johnson is opinionated but honest in his recollections. He name drops on almost every page and is particularly complimentary about Ian Broudie (Lightning Seeds). In one chapter Holly details how he was made to spend endless hours in the studio perfecting his vocals (whilst the rest of the band were off drinking and playing pool) - the one thing Trevor Horn was unable to improve on using technology. A brilliant read and an opportunity to remember the 80's in all its glory with an even bigger talent.
THIS SUCKS MORE THAN HE PROBABLY DOES.....I have lost many hours of my life in the past that I'll never see again yet few occasions frustrate me more than those wasted on this piece of 'egocentric, mightier than thou, I'm always the victim' garbage. He gives you the impression he suffered for his art when in truth nothing could be further from the truth. He recounts his journey bye the grace that Trevor Horn and the people at ZTT bestowed upon him and his band of merry scouse men. They gained attention by being more explicit than anyone else, not better musically or more stylish, just explicit. a TV show decided that's what the viewing public wanted and, five minutes later, they are pop puppets being thrust a break neck speed into the pop mincing machine......apt. I finished the book out of sheer bloody mindedness, not because of intrigue or enjoyment so I suppose I have myself to blame for the hours I wasted. Shortly after buying this I decided to buy a book by a different author but of a very similar journey : Nasher Says Relax by Brian Nash, the guitarist in Frankie Goes To Hollywood. It's amazing that two books telling the same story could be so different. As an aside Nasher Says Relax is a great read. Back to Mr Johnsons literacy debut. this book should have been kindling on my woodburner minutes after I finished it but I have been reliably informed, since so few were printed (shock), it may one day be worth far more than I regretfully paid for it. Perhaps a future inflated resale price will go someway to reimbursing me for the hours of my life I will never see again Through reading it.......
Holly Johnson shows an unheralded talent for storytelling with this frank account of his rise to fame and subsequent travails thereafter. It deals with his mostly unhappy childhood, sexual awakening, fame, excess, the legal spat and courtroom drama with ZTT, and ends with the revelation of his HIV diagnosis. The chapters on FGTH and the fractious relationships with his bandmates are compelling. The central core of the book is relationships: his father, one schoolfriend, housemates, Paul Rutherford, FGTH's 'lads' and Jill Sinclair and Trevor Horn of ZTT. The passages on his uncompromising father are at once hilarious and tragic.
It is an unfliching account of the price of fame, thouroughly readable and enjoyable.
Put simply, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, were the 80s. This is a great book written by Holly himself & not a ghost writer, he's honest about his working class upbringing in Liverpool & Bowie obsession. It covers his struggling early years & then sudden rise to pop superstardom in the MTV 80s, he only signed off the dole after appearing on TOTP! As well as his tussles with Tessa the tiger, he includes his often fraught relationship with producer Trevor Horn, Paul Morley & his bandmates, plus the court case to release him from his record contract & his subsequent solo success. Anyone interested in the music business should read this book, like the Sex Pistols, Frankie's career was relatively brief, 84-87 & like the Pistols they were controlled by a guy (Trevor Horn) who took all the credit for their success, most of the money & fell out with the lead singer, only to be later sued by the singer. Though despite their similarities, it doesn't seem from reading this book that Johnson & Lydon have ever met in real life. Sadly the book ends with his diagnosis in the 90s, it's now been over a decade since this book came out and Holly could maybe look at updating it to tell us more about his battle with HIV, his artwork and his comeback performances.
I purchased this book as i've always been fascinated about what goes on in the music industry, and wanted to hear Johnson's side of the bust up with ZTT and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
This book drew me in. i feel that I possibly know more about the gay scene than a straight guy should now, but even so it was largely entertaining and you build a real apathy for the homophobic attitudes Holly had to face. These however do not take over the story at any time, and are written about with sad resignation, yet with a clear desire to not just tolerate this attitude.
Of course this is only Holly's side of the story, but even with this in mind you cheer him on.
The book covers his fear of catching HIV, but very little is written after the actual diagnosis is made. An addition was made to the book to address why this is the case, and it does make sense, but I wonder if a little more detail would not have helped others going through the same thing.
Overall a really good book that i would recommend. It's a shame it is out of print and not available in electronic format.
I first read this book when it was first published. Unfortunately my mother one day found it and threw it out. It's taken me many many years to find a copy of it and I must say its as brilliant the second time around!!!