…Jeffrey gave to you…Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “The Power Of Love”.
Yeah, I’m cheating here, I know, because when the song was released on FGTHs debut WELCOME TO THE PLEASUREDOME album back in 1984, I’m not sure the birth of Jesus Christ was on the minds of the same songwriters whose first hit single from the album was the world-wide #1 (banned in the U.K.) gay sex anthem “Relax” (the anti-war “Two Tribes” was their second consecutive #1).
But, make no mistake, “The Power Of Love” is one of the great love songs of the 80s, and it became one of the great Christmas songs of all-time almost by fiat. Master video pioneers Godley & Creme (whose classic “Cry” video immortalized the morphing technique later popularized by Michael Jackson’s “Black Or White”) shortened the original album track by two minutes, added a nativity theme to commemorate its December #1 status, and a Christmas classic was born.
The staggering sweep and scope of the song itself lends well to the ideal of the holiday, although lyrically, it’s a head-scratcher to juxtapose (but in the world of music video, how often is the text paralleled to the visual?)
Lead singer Holly Johnson’s opening lines of the song were cut from the video, yet are kept within the song (the hauntingly beautiful imagery of “I’ll protect you from the hooded claw, keep the vampires from your door…”). At times broad-voiced and nasal, his odd vibrato mixed with an unwavering passionate yearning – he propels the ballad into classic territory on aesthete alone. His delivery is chill-inducing.
I can’t imagine that Frankie Goes To Hollywood ever resented “The Power of Love” becoming synonymous with Christmastime; while it was their third #1 smash in as many releases, it could have lived and died at that, to be scattered amongst the thousands of #1s throughout history as a fond memory (also, I’m not sure who else besides me elevate this to ‘classic love song’ status). But, thanks to Godley & Creme, this near-perfect masterpiece is an annual seasonal staple.