Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Rage Hard UK CD5 
- Rage Hard [+ edit]
- Rage Hard [compacted (✚) (✚✚) ✪]
- Suffragette City
- (Don’t Lose What’s Left) Of Your Little Mind (Excerpt)/Roadhouse Blues [short]
The wait for 12″ singles to make the leap to the CD format was excruciating! I had a CD player by the summer of 1985, but any import CD singles that I saw in the bins of the stores likely to carry them in the early days of the format were only the most MOR artists. And these were not even packing extended remixes! More like four songs by John Martyn. I was waiting on pins and needles for a release that would be my ticket too a trip out of buying 12″ vinyl with the songs I wanted to collect on the shiny silver disc of preference. It might have been the fall of 1986 when I finally saw the disc that would be my first CD single: Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Rage Hard.”
I had bought all of the 12″ vinyl I could get my hands on from their first album, but I balked at all of that ZTT 12″ being pumped into the market for album number two. I should only ever hear ZTT music on the CD format! What Would Trevor Do? I can’t remember if I had the “Liverpool” album on CD yet, but I seem to recall that it was not released for a little while yet. I jumped at the “Rage Hard” CD5 and it set me back maybe as much as $15.99 at my local Peaches.
The first thing I heard was UK comedian Pamela Stephenson giving a short verbal introduction then a 5 minute remix of “Rage Hard” began playing. I’ve since found out that this was an edit from the “Rage Hard +” a.k.a. “Rage Hard (The Young Person’s Guide Into The 12 Inch Mix)” as seen in the first 12″ single released, at left. The first three minutes sounded like a dub section from a 12″ with the song returning to wrap up near the end.
Next came another 12 minutes of mashed up “Rage Hard” remixes from other sources that was called “Rage Hard [compacted]” here. We can now ascertain that the first 7:27 of the mix came from “Rage Hard +” and featured Ms. Stephenson narrating the various elements of instrumentation that gave a brief solo as they kept “Rage Hard” moving forward in a [rude] parody of “A Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra.” Next, there was 1:19 taken from the beginning of “Rage Hard ++” [see right] which was also known as the Broad mix. Finally, the last 3:11 of “Rage Hard +” rounded out the unbroken 17:13 track, which was all grouped on the CD single as a single unit.
I would not have the 12″ vinyl from this era until I got antsy about not having it once I became focused on owning vinyl that had not made the leap to CD around 1992. I then bought a lot of these mail order in mostly German pressings, but I should own the UK ZTT pressings of this material! In 2018 I want every UK ZTT 7/12 from point zero up through 1988.
The B-sides on this CD were more of the ZTT penchant for classic rock cover tunes. The take on Bowie’s “Suffragette City” had all of its sex removed by the band in a rendition that gave lie to their overly sexualized image. The rendition here was cold, flat, and machine-like. Next came just 18 seconds of the band’s non-LP B-side, “(Don’t Lose What’s Left) Of Your Little Mind.” The annoying collection of sampled belches, vocal tics, and what not were perhaps best heard in this brutal edit that went straight into a equally awful cover of The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues.” Singer Holly Johnson was completely out of his depth here; sounding adrift in such a bluesy number. ZTT had absolutely zero affinity for that musical form, and boy, did it show! Nevertheless, the faux barrelhouse piano and harmonicas were duly trotted out to our dismay on this perfunctorily chugging attempt at boogie. About halfway through the song, Steven Lipson couldn’t stand it any longer, and synths began to seep into the mix. They didn’t make it better – only worse!
The first 3/4 of the CD was like a trailer for the vinyl that I didn’t have, and the last quarter were B-sides best left unheard. In any case, I was hooked! They were finally releasing singles that I would buy on CD and I was up for more! For another 15 years I only bought old vintage 12″ singles. Anything new that I would want was on the preferred format. At least before the 21st century happened and the war on CDs was declared. Now, I’m grateful for any singles at all that creep out into the physical market!
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