Paul Morley: “…that was the whole idea of the “Frankie Say’ T-shirt, I was just very bored with T-shirts at that point just being a head and I thought ‘wouldn’t it be great actually to start using them in ways to start signaling things and sending messages out?’. That was just one of those 30 second ideas that you have you know? I’m not going to put Holly’s head on, I’m going to put an editorial on this T-shirt.”
David Smart: “My mum’s actually got quite a lot of these, she does the house work in them, because they were all made extra, extra large a la Katharine Hamnett.”
How many of them did you do? There were only 3 or 4 official ones?
Paul Morley: “One of my favourites was… we did a ‘Fuck the Hippy’ one because we kept Neil out of Young Ones off number one, you remember that awful ‘Hole In My Shoe’? It was the midweek number one and we kept it off with ‘Two Tribes’ and there was a ‘Frankie Say We Fucked The Hippy’ one. ‘Frankie Say Arm The Unemployed’ was a good one, ‘Frankie Say War! Hide Yourself’ I think was my favourite. It became ‘Frankie Say Relax’, not even ‘Relax, Don’t Do It’ and everyone thinks of that and that was obviously what Jennifer Aniston wears on Homer Simpson (the Simpsons). But I did like ‘Frankie Say War! Hide Yourself’ and the exclaimation mark, I thought that was wonderful and the cover with Paul wearing it, that was delicious.”
artist: Frankie Goes To Hollywood title: Frankie Say War! Hide Yourself format: T-shirt design: XLZTT photography: n/a cat. no: n/a date: 06/84 art of notes: Of all the numerous variations on the Frankie Say T-shirts (most of them bootlegs) there were only three designs generally available to the public: ‘Frankie Say Relax Don’t Do It’, ‘Frankie Say War! Hide Yourself’ and ‘Frankie Say Arm The Unemployed’. All had black text on a white shirt and most had © Paul Morley above the Frankie logo in the lower right corner if they were official.
A ‘Frankie Say Bomb Is A Four Letter Word’ was made in black text on yellow shirt but this may have been a promo item. Trevor Horn was pictured in a ‘Frankie Will Give You The Action’ shirt in a similar design and there were no doubt more made for internal use (see quote above). The shirts were manufactured by a company called Mobile in a range named Yo Yo and were their biggest seller of the year 1984, in some cases outselling the singles in some shops if reports be believed. Beware of the many fakes on sites like eBay, usually easy to spot as they read, ‘Frankie Says…’ rather than ‘Frankie Say…’
There were several other official shirts available too, a black T featuring the Anton Corbijn image of Lenin from the Two Tribes cover, and two shirts featuring Ronald Reagan – one a photograph and one a cartoon caricature bearing the line, ‘Only Frankie Can Stop Me Now’. These are all believed to be official but possibly originate from the US.