Johnson, Holly

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Johnson, Holly Gender: M
William Johnson
born on 9 February 1960 at 16:15 (= 4:15 PM )
Place Liverpool, England, 53n25, 2w55
Timezone GMT h0e (is standard time)
Data source
From memory
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_aqucol.18.gif 19°56' s_mo.18.gif s_cancol.18.gif 15°19 Asc.s_leocol.18.gif 11°51'

Portrait of Holly Johnson 
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Holly Johnson
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British pop singer, the outrageous lead singer with "Frankie Goes to Hollywood," the group that had international success with the hit songs "Relax" and "Two Tribes" during the mid 1980s. Born to a working class Liverpool family and raised around the corner from John Lennon's Penny Lane, Holly Johnson began playing guitar at 13. A teenage fan of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, he and a friend went to see Bowie at the Liverpool Empire on 6/10/1973 where they were beaten up for being costumed in platform shoes and make-up.

Johnson later assumed a more punk rocker look with his colourful hair, clothes and exotic cosmetics. He chose his nickname spontaneously when asked on a dance-floor for his name, taking "Holly" (after Holly Woodlawn) from Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side" that was playing at the time. Truman Capote's Holly Golightly was also in the back of his mind.

After performing as the vocalist with the group "Big In Japan," Johnson formed "Frankie Goes to Hollywood" in Liverpool in the summer of 1980 with Paul Rutherford, Nasher Nash, Mark O'Toole, and Peter Gill. Johnson came up with the name of the group at the last minute before the band were scheduled to play their first gig, after seeing a Variety magazine headline "Frankie Goes Hollywood" which reported Frank Sinatra's move from Las Vegas. The fact that it contained "Holly" sparked Johnson's attention. The group's name subsequently featured on many t-shirts in the form of slogans. Holly Johnson and Paul Rutherford's unashamed and outrageous gayness added to the group's curiosity value, provoking the meeker (and then closeted) Boy George to write a letter to the Record Mirror complaining about their upfront approach. Johnson was the first male pop star to wear designer clothes (by Vivienne Westwood among others). FGTH's biggest hit was "Relax" which reached No.1 in the British pop charts in 1984, causing such a stir with its (homo)erotic content about oral sex that it was banned by BBC Radio 1 for reasons of "good taste." This ensured that their first three singles all got to No.1, with "Two Tribes" staying there for nine weeks.

In the early 1980s Johnson met Wolfgang Kuhle, a successful art dealer, who became his personal manager and lover. They have remained together ever since with their 'only child' -- Funky, a white poodle. In 1987 Holly Johnson fell out with the rest of his group. He also had an argument with his record company, winning a case in court against them on restraint of trade. Going solo in 1989, he had a No.1 album, but fell out with his new record company. He did not release another album until 1999.

In an interview for The Times in April 1993 he revealed that he was diagnosed with HIV in 1991. Not expecting to be alive much longer he wrote a candid and confessional autobiography, "A Bone in My Flute," and held an exhibition of his paintings in the West End of London. With his 1999 single Disco Heaven he made his debut as a video director in a work that features celebrities such as Boy George and Jasper Conran imitating gay icons like Divine and Leigh Bowery. In 2000, Johnson continues to exhibit his paintings, write songs, and perform at major gay events.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • business associate/partner relationship with O'Toole, Mark (born 16 January 1964). Notes: Band mates in Frankie Goes To Hollywood
  • business associate/partner relationship with Rutherford, Paul (born 8 December 1959). Notes: Band mates in Frankie Goes To Hollywood


  • Crime : Assault/ Battery Victimization 10 June 1973 (Beaten while at a Bowie concert)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Social : Joined group 1980 (Formed the group "Frankie Goes to Hollywood")
  • Work : Gain social status 1984 (Song goes No. 1)
  • Social : Left group 1987 (Group disbanded)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1989 (Album released)
  • Health : Medical diagnosis 1991 (Diagnosed AIDS)
  • Social : Secrets revealed April 1993 (Revealed that he had AIDS since 1991)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1999 (Album released)
  • Work : New Career 1999 (Video director)

Source Notes

Sy Scholfield quotes him by email 2/2001, writing that he was born in Wavertree, Liverpool and that his dad told him that he was born "about four or half past four" in the afternoon." Note: Mr. Johnson also cleared up the confusion over the other birth data that has appeared in various references which state that he was born on 2/19/1960 in Khartoum, Sudan. Johnson says this date no doubt came about through a typing mistake. "Khartoum" ("sounds exotic don't you think"!) was his fun answer to a journalist's staple question after a long day of interviews. This link with "Khartoum" has nevertheless entered popular culture, particularly as the answer to the Trivial Pursuit question, "Where was Holly Johnson from Frankie Goes to Hollywood born?"


  • Traits : Personality : Attention seeking
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Aids
  • Family : Relationship : Cohabitation more than 3 yrs (Over 15 years with Wolfgang)
  • Family : Relationship : Mate - Same sex
  • Passions : Sexuality : Gay
  • Passions : Sexuality : Transvestite (Cross-dresser, outrageous costumes)
  • Vocation : Art : Fine art artist (Exhibited)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Group/ Duo (Frankie Goes to Hollywood)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Instrumentalist (Guitar)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Song writer
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Vocalist/ Pop, Rock, etc. (Lead)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Business : Director (Music videos)