There have been a number of FGTH compilations over the years, and a sudden rush of releases from Salvo/ZTT in the past couple of years with rare or unreleased material - there have been deluxe versions of Welcome to the Pleasuredome and Liverpool, as well as the 'Frankie Say Greatest' and 'Sex Mix' double CDs. Each of these have been flawed to some extent, however. Much of the bonus material has been patchy, to say the least, and the WTPD cassingle on Sex Mix was seemingly in mono, having been mastered incorrectly.
After this deluge of CDs, Frankie Said is a new single CD compilation that claims to be "The Very Best of Frankie Goes to Hollywood". And is it? Well, in a word, yes. All the singles are present, in a variety of versions. Relax has the rare white label 'The Last Seven Inches' mix, as well as the 12" US mix. Two Tribes has a previously unreleased 30 second piano intro by Anne Dudley (from the Art of Noise), as well as a 7" version and the fantastic Annihilation 12", which was by far the best of the Two Tribes mixes. The Power of Love is there twice, as the original single, and as a wondrous orchestral version that mirrors pretty closely parts of the original b-side to the 12" of the single. WTTPD is represented by the version from the single's picture-disc; the second 7" mix of Rage Hard gets its first CD outing (I think), as do a 7" edit of the 'heavy metal' Attack mix of Warriors featuring Gary Moore, and the 7" version of Watching the Wildlife. The latter is not the same as the album version, as it has a different ending.
Throw in a few album tracks (Kill The Pain, Maximum Joy, Ferry Across The Mersey), the original version of War, and the monumental live version of Born to Run, and there's not a weak track present. Given the 80 minute or so constraint on a single CD, it's hard to think what could have made the compilation better. For non-Frankie fans, it's a great introduction to a band that largely sound as relevant today as they did almost 30 years ago. For casual Frankie fans, there's plenty of great music to remind you of what a great band they were. And for die-hard fans, there's enough material new to CD to make this an essential purchase. Oh, and it also comes in a jewel case, making the physical box far less prone to damage than the massive gatefold cardboard sleeves that have been a feature of the other Salvo Frankie releases. A small bonus, but an important one.