Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax
The UK and German 12" editions were repressed multiple times in the 1980s, sometimes with variations in the sleeves, mastering speeds, and A-side content, but not always with corresponding changes to the track titles printed on the labels. Careful attention to matrix numbers and every other detail of the records, no matter how small, is crucial to distinguishing between the different editions, some of which probably have yet to be submitted to Discogs.
The 1980s 12" A-side content is usually one of three versions: Trevor Horn's original 16:24 "Sex Mix" version — which has many samples and ad-lib vocals by Holly Johnson, but never transforms into the actual song — or the 8:20 edit of that mix (often listed with a longer duration), or the more traditional "U.S. Mix" which is an extended version running 7:23 but sometimes faded out a few seconds early. The mix titles are frequently listed on releases incorrectly; it's common to see both of the shorter versions labeled "Sex Mix" or, less commonly, "New York Remix". ZTT's own stance on the proper titles has been inconsistent, although a 1994 magazine interview with Horn agrees with original-era print ads on the longest version being the actual "Sex Mix".
The different versions of the UK 12" with catalogue number 12 ZTAS 1 are particularely hard to spot since many have identical labels. Here are some hints:
• The 1st press. Has "12 ZTAS 1 A - 1U" stamped and "F.F ANYTIME WATER SPORTS" hand etched in the run-out area of side A. Plays the 16 minute Sex Mix at 33 ⅓ RPM despite the labels stating 45 r.p.m.
• The 2nd press. Has "12 ZTAS 1 A -2U" stamped in the run-out area of side A. Plays the 8 minute Sex Mix Edit. Some sleeves carry a "Special U.S. Remix" sticker.
• The 3rd press. Has "12 ZTAS 1 A - 4U" stamped in the run-out area of side A. Plays the 7 minute U.S. Remix.
• The 4th press. Has "12 ZTAS 1 A-5U" stamped and "GRAEME" hand etched in the run-out area of side A. Plays the 7 minute U.S. Remix.
• "Original Mix" on label. Has "12 ZTAS 1 A⁵ GRAEME DAMONT" hand etched in the run-out area of side A. Plays the 16 minute Sex Mix at 45 RPM. "Original Mix" written in CAPS on the A-side label.
• Mastered at The Exchange. Has "12 ZTAS-1-A1--1-1 MIKE'S" in the run-out area of side A. Plays the 7 minute U.S. Remix.
• Mastered at The Exchange. Has "12 ZTAS-1-A1-1-1 MT MIKE'S" in the run-out area of side A. Plays the 7 minute U.S. Remix.
Out of these the third pressing is by far the most common. If you don't know which press you have then it's most likely that it's the third press.
1993 saw a rerelease of the single, featuring new mixes by then contemporary dance producers Ollie J. and Jam & Spoon. In 2001 another wave of new remixes appeared, most notably by Club 69.
A lost 8:09 remix was given the title "Sex Mix Edit" or "Sex Mix (Edition 3)" when finally released in 2009 and beyond, including the 2014 release Relax. Made from elements of the New York Mix and extra electronic percussion, it is nothing like the original 1U or 2U "Sex Mix" versions; the title comes from a mislabeling of the tape box in the 1990s. Despite speculation that it was intended to be pressed with a 3U matrix ID, the liner notes of The Art Of The 12", Volume Two (A Promotion Of A Way Of Life) clarify that it was created by Luis Jardim with engineer Bob Painter on 13 December 1984—presumably well after 4U and 5U were already out.
There are a number of very slightly different short versions as well, none of which have official, consistent mix titles:
• 3:56 original 7" version, often subtitled "suck it" or "move" based on Paul Morley's playful text in records and dealer ads.
• 4:24 instrumental version, often subtitled "from soft to hard", prefaced with "daily sign-in" skit.
• 3:55 album version, often subtitled "come fighting", has slightly different effects & mixing vs. the 7" version.
• 3:05 US promo 7"/cassette edit, actually just the last 3:05 of the 4U 12" mix.
• 3:31 version variously stamped on white-label releases as The Last Seven Inches!, Warp Mix, or DJ Mix; prefaced with a capella chorus.
• 3:55 untitled version first released in 1993 but probably made in '83/'84, fans call it the "classic 1993 version", seems to be an alternate album mix.
These are the most common ones. There were more released on video or acetate only, and/or as part of Inside The Pleasuredome and related releases. Naturally, phonographic copyrights tend to say 1983 even if they debuted in 1984 or 1993.
The iconic "two bodies" sleeve art by lead singer/songwriter Holly Johnson's friend Yvonne Gilbert was considered "pornographic" by some. It had originally been commissioned for a magazine article, and although intended to show the woman dominant, when presented on the sleeves it caused some confusion—even at record companies—as to its proper orientation. (In the end, on most releases, the man should be facing left or down, whichever results in the text remaining somewhat upright.)