Maybe today better known for their innovative videos than their music, this British pop and dance group found major success with this 1984 song.
It’s a Cold War tune, magnifying anxiety about the end of the world through global nuclear war. This is demonstrated by the video’s depiction of a no holds barred wrestling match between US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko! In the audience: representatives from other countries all egging on the fight.
The video is the long form version, banned on MTV in its day (a briefer, tamer version was dished up by the station).
Spoiler alert: It doesn’t end well in the video – the world blows up. This may represent the concept/military strategy of mutual assured destruction (M.A.D.): no side in a conflict is going to start a war that will also see them completely wiped out.
But the world being blown to bits, Frankie Goes To Hollywood-style, was a mistaken prediction given what we know today. Sure, the point of the song was to express an anti-war message. Yet, given that the Cold War is so named for not being about direct military action, the violence in the video is an error in depicting this period of 20th century history. An ailing Russian economy spurred economic reforms, “Star Wars” defence system proposals spooked the “Evil Empire,” and talks with the US aimed to secure a reduction in nuclear armaments. The Soviet Union itself fell apart soon after.