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Holly Johnson Icon Award Winner Introduction.

Read by Marc Almond at the Attitude Awards 2015, 14th October 2015 at Banqueting House, London.

Written by Matthew Todd, Editor Attitude magazine


The winner of this Icon Award is a true icon of pop music. Born in 1960 in Liverpool, our winner was inspired and involved in the punk scene of the late seventies and played bass in a band but it wasn’t until he joined a band as lead vocalist that things took off.

This bands first single became one of the defining hits of the 1980s and also a key moment in gay visibility in a very dark time. That song was Relax and the band was Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The single scandalised Britain, especially Radio 1 where Mike Reed banned it, which only helped it get to number 1 and stay there for five weeks becoming the 7th best selling British single of all time and winning the 1985 Brit Award for Best Single and the band Best Newcomers.


Frankie followed this with two more number one singles: Two Tribes and the Power of Love, a record previously held by Gerry and the pacemakers and not beaten until The Spice Girls arrived. After Frankie split in the late eighties, our winner launched his solo career with the hit singles Love Train and Americanos and his number one album Blast. Other albums followed but they were overshadowed by him finding himself HIV positive in 1991. He dealt with his diagnosis with courage – and not more so than when he went public with it – and also with the honesty with which he wrote in his smash hit autobiography ‘A Bone In My Flute’.

He continues to make music and last year released a new album Europa and embarked on a solo tour. He has inspired a generation of musicians such as John Grant and, though he may not know it, he also inspired a generation of young people: when people like us were told that we should hide, he refused.

I am honoured to present this Attitude Icon Award, supported by Sky, to the one and only Holly Johnson.

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