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The story behind the enduring appeal of 'The Power of Love' by Frankie Goes to Hollywood




One of the more unusual power ballads of the '80s is 1984's The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. For a band that had previously topped the UK charts with a song about sex (Relax) and another about politics (Two Tribes), to land a third No. 1 single by honoring love was either the most expected or least-expected move by the lads from Liverpool.

Because of its nativity-themed video for MTV (directed by Godley & Creme) and its late November release, The Power of Love is often considered a Christmas song, though the lyrics don't make any obvious references to the holiday or Christianity. (Instead, there are references to vampires and the "Hooded Claw," reportedly a character in the 1969 Hanna-Barbera cartoon The Perils of Penelope Pitstop.)

Still, lead singer Holly Johnson (who co-wrote the song along with drummer Peter Gill, bassist Mark O'Toole and guitarist Brian Nash) would later tell a reporter about his intent with the song: 

"I always felt like The Power Of Love was the record that would save me in this life. There is a biblical aspect to its spirituality and passion; the fact that love is the only thing that matters in the end."

(Holly would release his own recording of the song in 1999.)

As with many Frankie Goes to Hollywood hits, there's an extended remix of The Power of Love that includes a Ronald Reagan character instructing people on how to pray. 

In 2012, a cover version was recorded by Gabrielle Aplin, which also topped the charts. This version gained further fame in 2014 when it was used in the trailer for the TV series Resurrection. A dozen or so more covers have honored the song over years, including renditions by Il Divo and Amici Forever.

The original 1984 version of The Power of Love wouldn't last too long at the top of the charts. It spent one week there before being dethroned by another song about love and compassion: Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas.

[Last modified: Monday, November 28, 2016 11:26am]


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