Holly JohnsonView In iTunes
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Best remembered as the frontman for British pop phenomenon Frankie Goes to Hollywood, singer Holly Johnson was born February 9, 1960 in Liverpool; in 1977 he joined the short-lived Big in Japan, and after issuing a pair of solo singles, "Yankee Rose" and "Hobo Joe," he formed Frankie Goes to Hollywood in 1980. Buffering their epic, opulent dance-pop with a brilliant marketing campaign highlighted by a series of provocative videos and sloganeering T-shirts, Frankie remains one of the '80s quintessential bands, although their success proved short-lived and never really translated across the Atlantic; they rose to superstardom on the strength of the singles "Relax," "Two Tribes," and "The Power of Love." Their 1984 debut, Welcome to the Pleasuredome, was also well-received by the press, but the group's fall was as meteoric as their rise; after a less successful 1986 effort, Liverpool, they disbanded. Johnson then spent the next several years locked in a court battle against label ZTT, ultimately winning his artistic freedom; he returned to music in 1989 with his solo debut Blast, which topped the U.K. charts. Dreams That Money Can't Buy followed two years later, around the time the openly homosexual singer discovered he'd contracted HIV, a subject frankly detailed in his 1994 autobiography A Bone in My Flute. Also a successful painter, in 1996 Johnson exhibited his work in London; forming his own record label, Pleasuredome, in 1999 he issued his third LP, Soulstream. Fifteen years later, the single "Follow Your Heart" arrived along with the full-length LP Europa. The album and accompanying tour marked 30 years since the release of Frankie's Welcome to the Pleasuredome.