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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 June 2006, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
The influence of ZTT Records
The owner of ZTT Records, Jill Sinclair, is seriously ill in hospital after being accidentally shot by her son. Her company was one of the most innovative labels of the 1980s.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood in 1984
Frankie Goes to Hollywood's first three singles were number ones
Ms Sinclair's husband Trevor Horn had already made a name for himself before founding the label.

He came to public attention performing as the Buggles on Video Killed the Radio Star in 1979, a number one hit and the first video to be played on MTV.

He also gained production credits with ABC, Dollar and Malcolm McLaren.

He founded ZTT in 1983. It was named after a poem by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, which had described "zang tumb tumb" as the sound of a machine gun firing.

Ms Sinclair became the label's managing director, while NME writer Paul Morley concentrated on marketing duties.

Grace Jones in 1980
Grace Jones enjoyed success on ZTT with Slave to the Rhythm
Mr Morley and Mr Horn formed Art of Noise, a group which heavily used synthesizers and samples.

One of their EPs, Into Battle, would be ZTT's first release in September 1983.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood were the first major signing in 1983, and it was the band's first and the label's second single, Relax, that became the label's first number one in January 1984.

The song was banned by the BBC for its suggestive lyrics but its five weeks at number one were swiftly followed by a further nine weeks on top of the chart for the follow-up, Two Tribes.

Relax stayed in the Top 75 for a full year and ZTT was well and truly established.

Art of Noise began to chart, while style icon Grace Jones also enjoyed success with her single and album Slave to the Rhythm.

Seal in 1992
Seal's self-titled debut won best album at the Brit Awards in 1992
ZTT was all about style. It dared to be different in the way its releases were packaged and promoted.

There were extensive sleeve notes, covers containing secret codes and multi-format releases with numerous remixes.

Aside from the records themselves, ZTT also had a range of merchandise.

Perhaps one of the images of the decade is the t-shirt proclaiming Frankie Say Relax, which seemed to be everywhere in the summer of 1984.

Change of direction

A new era began in 1988, after Frankie Goes to Hollywood's second album failed to match the success of their debut.

Lead singer Holly Johnson - and German group Propaganda - would go to court to be released from their contracts with ZTT.

808 State in 1989
From 1989, the label refocused on dance acts such as 808 State
The label refocused on the emerging dance music scene.

Manchester group 808 State would reach the top 10 with their anthemic song Pacific, released at the end of 1989, and Seal was the next major ZTT act to emerge a year later.

ZTT continues today, mostly finding new ways to breathe life into its back catalogue through digital downloads and remastered versions of albums.

And in 2004 it also released a compilation showcasing Mr Horn's finest work as a producer, including some acts which were signed to other labels, such as the Pet Shop Boys and Simple Minds.


SEE ALSO
Shot record boss critically ill
27 Jun 06 |  Oxfordshire
What is your favourite No 1 single?
22 Jan 05 |  Have Your Say
How Trevor Horn became pop royalty
11 Nov 04 |  Entertainment

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