The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Strange Refuge: Holly Johnson Discusses His Favourite Albums
Ian Wade , December 23rd, 2014 14:26

In our final Baker's Dozen of 2014, Ian Wade talks to the former Frankie Goes To Hollywood frontman following the release of Europa, his first solo album in 15 years, about his all-time top 13 LPs


Blade Runner - Vangelis
I went to see Blade Runner when it came out in the cinema; for me it was the perfect melding of sound and vision and a kind of dystopian future that seemed quite compelling. Almost a place you'd like to live in, because of the idea of replicants and who is human, and WHAT is human? Also, the beauty of Harrison Ford. Him and - whatsername - Sean Young, she was styled to perfection. Ridley Scott, although he reckoned it was a torturous film to make - the budget got cut and all kinds of jiggery pokery went on backstage - the one enduring thing, for me, is the soundtrack.

Bizarrely, the soundtrack album didn't come out until years and years and years afterwards [1994], but you could get the film on VHS and everything. In 1990, I got summoned to work with Vangelis in Paris, and we wrote the title track on my album. One of the first things I asked was, "Can I have a copy of the soundtrack?"

We recorded 'Europa' in Studio Omega on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, which was originally earmarked for Hitler's occupation should things go pear-shaped during the Second World War. The Bois de Boulogne is where all the transvestites and transsexuals would come out at night. It was quite an atmospheric place to work. At the end of the weekend they gave me a tape of the track we'd recorded, and a metal cassette of the Blade Runner soundtrack that I've still got today. It's a real treasured item.

I remember reading And Suddenly There Came A Bang!, where it talks about Blade Runner, Harrison Ford and also Mel Gibson in Mad Max 2, and I remember seeing it soon after and thinking, "Oooh. Yes."

That was mindblowing. It was kind of a blueprint for the early look of Frankie for me. That whole cyberpunk and S&M... The baddies were more attractive than the goodies, obviously, and Max himself was somewhere in between the both, neither good nor bad - just out for himself.

Another soundtrack I think needs mentioning is Midnight Express by Giorgio Moroder. which is also on a par, I think. Although it's more disco - especially 'Chase' - Vangelis and Moroder to me were icons of electronic music in the '70s and '80s. Although I think Vangelis had the edge with atmosphere.