Legendary Children

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"Legendary Children (All of Them Queer)"
Hollylegendarychildren.jpg
Single by Holly Johnson
from the album Non-LP single / Re-recording featured on Soulstream
Released 1994
Format 12" Vinyl, CD single
Genre Pop
Length 3:30
Label Club Tools / Pleasuredome
Songwriter(s) Holly Johnson, Nick Bagnall
Producer(s) Holly Johnson
Holly Johnson singles chronology
"The People Want to Dance"
(1991)
"Legendary Children (All of Them Queer)"
(1990)
"Love and Hate"
(1994)
"The People Want to Dance"
(1991)
"Legendary Children (All of Them Queer)"
(1994)
"Love and Hate"
(1994)

"Legendary Children (All of Them Queer)" is a single from former Frankie Goes to Hollywood singer Holly Johnson.

The song was written by Holly Johnson (lyrics and music) and Nick Bagnall (music).

Background[edit]

Released as the first single since Johnson discovered he was HIV-positive, which had triggered a temporary withdrawal from music, Johnson began to write songs again with bass player Nick Bagnall. The song, released from the writing sessions with Bagnall, was released by Johnson as a gift to the world, particularly the gay community for supporting Johnson's career over the previous ten years.[1]

The single peaked at #85 in the UK[2] and according to Johnson's official website, the single went to number-one in Israel.[1]

Johnson would later perform the song in front of 150,000 people at the annual Gay Pride Festival - the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.[1]

The single was later re-recorded for Johnson's 1999 album Soulstream, where it was named "Legendary Children (2000)".[3]

In a January 1994 issue of The Advocate magazine, the song was mentioned in an article based on homosexual-themed music, stating "Holly Johnson, the former voice of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, enumerated gay heroes on his single "Legendary Children (All of Them Queer)."[4]

In an early October 1994 edition of the Los Angeles Times, the issue spoke of the song's lyrical references, stating "The names range from Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci to more recent pop heroes including the late Andy Warhol and Boy George, as well as Holly Johnson himself. There's been some confusion over one name: Michael Mouse, which is not a reference to Disney's Mickey but to a gay character from author Armistead Maupin's "Tales of the City" stories."[5]

In a November 1994 edition of Vox Magazine, Johnson denied claims that he was planning to reveal the names of various closeted homosexual people. The article asserted "Holly Johnson has denied claims that he is planning to blow the whistle on a host of closet gay people. His forthcoming single, "Legendary Children (All of Them Queer)", identifies a long list of gay celebrities and artists. But the singer, who kept Mary Whitehouse on the boil in the mid-'80s with his former band Frankie Goes To Hollywood, refutes newspaper reports of any shock revelations contained in lyrics of the song. Holly’s "outing" list is indeed fairly innocuous, with names ranging from the undisputed - Joe Orton, Divine and Jimmy Somerville - to the vaguely contentious but well-and-truly no longer of this world - Leonardo da Vinci ("his interest in little boys was well documented") and William Shakespeare ("well, there's no evidence to the contrary")." In the article, Johnson also stated "The purpose of the record was never to out anybody. That story is a load of old trash."[6]

Also in the Vox Magazine article, Johnson stated "I believe that the outing argument is only valid in a situation of extreme hypocrisy. For example, where a person is actually doing damage to gay people by spouting lies or whatever. Only in these kind of extreme cases is outing a valid thing." The article finally stated "Yet it seems that there'll be no anxiety or nights of lost sleep in the corridors of the Houses of Parliament.", where Johnson replied "I'm not a politician, I'm an artist and I don't want to make any comments about alleged homosexual Tory MPs. I don't want to get into that one."[6]

Release[edit]

The single was released on 12" vinyl and CD in 1994 across Europe, including the UK, Germany, Spain and France. The single was mainly released via the small German record label Club Tools. A total of nine remixes were released over the various releases and issues of the single.[7]

The single's cover artwork featured names of celebrities and famous people throughout history who were gay; where one line mentions both "Holly" and his partner Wolfgang Kuhle.[8]

Three main 12" vinyl versions of the single were released, each featuring different track listings and various remixes. A special German vinyl was released, featuring two 12" vinyls in one set, where the release grouped all the nine remixes of the song together. The CD single featured the main "Legendary Children (Radio Mix)", as well as four other remixes. A German CD, titled "The Remixes", was released which featured four remixes not available on the main CD release.[7]

A rare promotional cassette was also released in Germany, containing seven remixes, where six of these remixes were unreleased and unavailable anywhere else.[9]

In the UK only the CD version was commercially available.[10]

A previously unavailable exclusive remix appeared on the 1995 German body workout megamix compilation Fit for Dance by Addidas. The remix was titled "Legendary Children (Shake Your Body Mix)".[11]

The song later appeared on the 1995 compilation Gay Happening, Vol. 3 (Dance Street label) as well as the 1998 compilation Glad to Be Gay, Vol. 3 (Steamhammer label).[12]

In the 1994 Vox Magazine article, Johnson spoke of the song's release on a German label Club Tools, where Johnson had claimed that the majority of major record companies would still find the single's content unpalatable, stating "I didn't particularly feel like walking into a major label with this song, knowing how conservative they can be. I feel at the moment I need to have full control over my work. So I've licensed it to the German label that distributed The Symbol's record "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World", as I figured they did alright with that one."[6]

Promotion[edit]

The single was promoted by a music video, which featured various gay characters appearing individually and walking along a corridor and through a double door, in a catwalk-like fashion, where they all gather in a boxing ring. Johnson, who is mostly seen performing lines from the song in front of a black backdrop, uses a heavy amount of make-up for his appearance in the video, whilst wearing a purple jacket and a holding a cane.[13]

Since appearing officially on YouTube in August 2010, the video has gained approximately 8,000 views.[13]

Another form of promotion was the song's live performance at the annual Gay Pride Festival in London during 1994, where Johnson also performed the two Frankie Goes to Hollywood hit tracks "Relax" and "The Power of Love".[14]

Track listing[edit]

12" Single #1
  1. "Legendary Children (The Loop's Radio Cut)" - 3:38
  2. "Legendary Children (The Loop's Classic Extended Mix)" - 5:14
  3. "Legendary Children (The Hall Of Trance Mix)" - 5:40
  4. "Legendary Children (Rick's Queer Piano Version)" - 2:48
  5. "Legendary Children (Percapella)" - 1:24
12" Single #2
  1. "Legendary Children (Dances With Handbags)" - 7:06
  2. "Legendary Children (Saturday Night in Heaven Mix)" - 7:55
  3. "Legendary Children (The Loop's Classic Extended Mix)" - 5:14
  4. "Legendary Children (The Hall Of Trance Mix)" - 6:40
  5. "Legendary Children (Rick's Queer Piano Version)" - 2:48
12" Single (French release)
  1. "Legendary Children (Saturday Night in Heaven Mix)" - 7:55
  2. "Legendary Children (Dances With Handbags)" - 7:06
  3. "Legendary Children (London 12" Dub)" - 6:49
  4. "Legendary Children (Rick's Queer Piano Version)" - 2:48
  5. "Legendary Children (Radio Mix)" - 4:11
12" Single (German 2x 12" vinyl release)
  1. "Legendary Children (Radio Mix)" - 4:11
  2. "Legendary Children (Dances With Handbags)" - 7:06
  3. "Legendary Children (Saturday Night in Heaven Mix)" - 7:55
  4. "Legendary Children (London 12" Dub)" - 6:49
  5. "Legendary Children (The Loop's Radio Cut)" - 3:38
  6. "Legendary Children (The Loop's Classic Extended Mix)" - 5:14
  7. "Legendary Children (The Hall Of Trance Mix)" - 5:40
  8. "Legendary Children (Rick's Queer Piano Version)" - 2:48
  9. "Legendary Children (Percapella)" - 1:24
12" Single (German 2x 12" vinyl promo release)
  1. "Legendary Children (Radio Mix)" - 4:11
  2. "Legendary Children (Dances With Handbags)" - 7:06
  3. "Legendary Children (Saturday Night in Heaven Mix)" - 7:55
  4. "Legendary Children (London 12" Dub)" - 6:49
  5. "Legendary Children (The Loop's Radio Cut)" - 3:38
  6. "Legendary Children (The Loop's Classic Extended Mix)" - 5:14
  7. "Legendary Children (The Hall Of Trance Mix)" - 5:40
  8. "Legendary Children (Rick's Queer Piano Version)" - 2:48
  9. "Legendary Children (Percapella)" - 1:24
CD Single
  1. "Legendary Children (Radio Mix)" - 4:11
  2. "Legendary Children (Dances With Handbags)" - 7:06
  3. "Legendary Children (Saturday Night in Heaven Mix)" - 7:55
  4. "Legendary Children (London 12" Dub)" - 6:49
  5. "Legendary Children (Rick's Queer Piano Version)" - 2:48
CD Single (German "The Remixes" release)
  1. "Legendary Children (The Loop's Radio Cut)" - 3:38
  2. "Legendary Children (The Loop's Classic Extended Mix)" - 5:14
  3. "Legendary Children (The Hall Of Trance Mix)" - 6:40
  4. "Legendary Children (Percapella)" - 1:24
Cassette Single (German promo)
  1. "Legendary Children (Simon Harris Radio Edit)" - 4:21
  2. "Legendary Children (Bona Radio Mix)" - 4:28
  3. "Legendary Children (Saturday Night in Heaven Mix)" - 8:10
  4. "Legendary Children (Muff Diva Dub Mix, London Edit)" - 6:58
  5. "Legendary Children (Muff Diva Dub Mix, Newcastle Edit)" - 5:42
  6. "Legendary Children (Sex Sells '94)" - 4:21
  7. "Legendary Children (T.V. Mix)" - 4:18

Critical reception[edit]

Upon the single's release, a German magazine gave the single five out of five stars, writing "The courageous fight of the HIV-infected Holly against resignation and desperation really earns all admiration. Musically like Frankie Goes To Hollywood - this pitiless dance stoker shows no weaknesses."[15]

A review of the song was issued in an early October edition of the UK NME magazine. The review wrote "Good golly Miss Holly divvy disco divas through a long, hard, throbbing list of extremely famous real men who just happened or happen to be samesexers (coincidence?!). This is fabulously arch record will no doubt encourage thousands of healthy, normal young British chaps to dress smartly and hang around gymnasiums. My God! The possibilities! Perhaps rampant homosexuality is the only thing that will save us from the seemingly unstoppable spread of Crusty. Will Holly follow up with a record featuring a list of famous lesbians? What about famous "heterosexuals"?! Are there any?! Will anybody on this record sue?! And will they play it on Radio 1 in the daytime? It's all rather exciting!"[16]

Jon O'Brien of Allmusic spoke of the Soulstream re-recorded version of the song in a review of the Soulstream album, stating "The William Orbit-esque production of the empowering opener "Lady Luck," and the subtle trip-hop-tinged title track show that Johnson still occasionally had his finger on the pulse. But unnecessary reworkings of 1984 chart-topper "The Power of Love" and the 1994 flop, gay anthem "Legendary Children (All of Them Queer)," only highlight the creative rut he appeared to be stuck in."[17]

Upon release of the Soulstream album, a review by The Guardian wrote "By default, the best tracks are the campest: the nostalgic Disco Heaven and Legendary Children, which lists gay historical figures (is he quite sure about Shakespeare?)."[18][19]

John Bush of Allmusic reviewed the original single release, giving it two and half stars out of five, and stating "With vocalist Helen Terry in tow, former Frankie Goes to Hollywood frontman Holly Johnson returns with an homage to famous homosexuals."[20]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1994) Peak
position
Israeli Singles Chart[1][citation needed] 1
UK Singles Chart[21] 85

Remixes and B-sides[edit]

  • "Legendary Children" (The Loop's radio cut)
  • "Legendary Children" (The Loop's Classic extended mix)
  • "Legendary Children" (The Hall of Trance mix)
  • "Legendary Children" (Rick's Queer Piano version)
  • "Legendary Children" (Percapella)
  • "Legendary Children" (Radio mix)
  • "Legendary Children" (Dances with Handbags)
  • "Legendary Children" (Saturday Night in Heaven mix)
  • "Legendary Children" (London 12" dub)
  • "Legendary Children" (Straight Dome mix)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Biography". Holly Johnson. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  2. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/artist/25235/holly-johnson/
  3. ^ "Holly Johnson - Soulstream at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  4. ^ "The Advocate - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. 1995-01-24. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  5. ^ Jennings, Dave (1994-10-02). "Los Angeles Times: Archives - POP EYE". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  6. ^ a b c "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Holly Johnson has denied claims". Zttaat.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  7. ^ a b "Holly Johnson - Legendary Children (All Of Them Queer) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  8. ^ "Images for Holly Johnson - Legendary Children (All Of Them Queer)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  9. ^ "Legendary Children". Fgthq.de. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  10. ^ "Holly Johnson - Legendary Children (All Of Them Queer) (CD) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  11. ^ "fgth home page". Frankie-say.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  12. ^ "Legendary Children (All of Them Queer) - Holly Johnson : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-10-07. 
  13. ^ a b "Legendary Children by Holly Johnson 1994". YouTube. 2010-08-13. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  14. ^ "Holly Johnson @ Gay Pride London 1994 Relax". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  15. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Holly Johnson: Legendary children". Zttaat.com. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  16. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Mother snogging king of sexrock". Zttaat.com. 1994-10-01. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  17. ^ O'Brien, Jon (1999-11-23). "Soulstream - Holly Johnson : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  18. ^ "Zang Tuum Tumb and all that | Articles | Holly Johnson - Soulstream". Zttaat.com. 1999-10-08. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  19. ^ "Other pop CD releases | The Guardian". London: guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  20. ^ Bush, John. "Legendary Children (All of Them Queer) - Holly Johnson : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-02-17. 
  21. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/artist/25235/holly-johnson/