Disc jockey Mike Read did Merseyside band Frankie Goes to Hollywood a huge favour in January 1984.

He decided to ban their single Relax from his BBC Radio 1 show after he saw the record cover and read the lyrics.

Read thought both were overtly sexual and removed the disc from the turntable live on air after branding it obscene.

Peter Gill, Brian Nash, Holly Johnson, Mark O’Toole and Paul Rutherford at Heathrow Airport, October 1984

Peter Gill, Brian Nash, Holly Johnson, Mark O’Toole and Paul Rutherford at Heathrow Airport, October 1984

Up to that point, Relax had been languishing at No. 6 in the charts after its release in October 1983. The band had performed it on TV on Top of the Pops.

Two days after Read’s action, the BBC banned the record on all its TV and radio programmes.

The result? Relax immediately went to Number One in the UK singles charts and stayed there for five weeks!

Holly Johnson outside the White House with a life-size Ronald Reagan cut-out, November 1984

Holly Johnson outside the White House with a life-size Ronald Reagan cut-out, November 1984

The Liverpool band, which formed out of the city’s 1970s punk scene, couldn’t be more delighted.

In fact, the runaway success of Relax was just the start of a whirlwind year for Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

They notched up two more Number Ones and made their first tour of North America.

The core of the group came together in the early 1980s and called themselves the Sons of Egypt.

The Frankies relax on Washington’s Capitol Hill, November 1984

The Frankies relax on Washington’s Capitol Hill, November 1984

Their lead singer was Holly Johnson, who played base with local group Big in Japan and had released two solo singles.

He was joined by Paul Rutherford on vocals, Jed O’Toole on bass and Brian Nash on guitar. Mark O’Toole and Peter Gill followed later.

The name Frankie Goes to Hollywood was taken from a headline about singer Frank Sinatra in the New Yorker magazine.

The band’s second single, the anti-nuclear war song Two Tribes, went straight to Number One when it was released in May 1984.

Nothing to declare! Holly Johnson pushing a trolley at Heathrow Airport, October 1984

Nothing to declare! Holly Johnson pushing a trolley at Heathrow Airport, October 1984

Its total sales ended up exceeding 1.5 million copies to become one of the top 30 best-selling UK singles of all time.

Astonishingly, its success caused a revival in the sales of Relax and it climbed back to No. 2 behind Two Tribes in July 1984!

The Frankies achieved three successive Number Ones when their third single The Power of Love went to the top of the charts at the end of 1984.

They were the first group to achieve three Number Ones with their first three singles since fellow Merseysiders Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1963.

Sell-out crowds watch the Frankies at Manchester’s G-Mex centre, January 1987

Sell-out crowds watch the Frankies at Manchester’s G-Mex centre, January 1987

The Power of Love was pushed off the top spot by the Band Aid single Do They Know It’s Christmas, which included a message from Holly Johnson on its ‘B’ side.

Sandwiched between their chart success was the group’s first tour of Canada and the USA. They played their first date in Ottawa on October 30th 1984.

The 21-date tour included Montreal, Washington, Boston and New York before finishing at the Palace, Los Angeles, on December 5th.

On the way, the group went sight-seeing in Washington where Johnson found himself squaring up to a life-size image of Ronald Reagan – the American president featured in Two Tribes.

Wrapping up against the cold – Holly Johnson in Washington, November 1984

Wrapping up against the cold – Holly Johnson in Washington, November 1984

After returning from the USA, the Frankies played three triumphant dates on their home patch at Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre.

It was the end of a dazzling 12 months which probably marked the high spot of the Frankie’s music career.

Their 1985 single Welcome to the Pleasuredome reached No. 2, while their 1986 release Rage Hard reached No. 4.

Relations in the band had become fraught by January 1987, resulting in a backstage bust-up between Johnson and the rest of the group at the Wembley Arena.

Frankie Goes to Washington! Holly Johnson on stage during the US tour, November 1984

Frankie Goes to Washington! Holly Johnson on stage during the US tour, November 1984

The tour went on, but Johnson left soon afterwards claiming that musical differences were to blame for the rift.

The Frankies had enjoyed their moment in the spotlight.