8 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Talk about a mission statement — when Andrew Ridgeway and George Michael titled their 1984 sophomore album Make It Big, they laid their ambitions bare. The two New Wave Romeos who constituted Wham! designed their music to fit the ‘80s airwaves perfectly, and George Michael’s boyish good looks and cheeky charm gave them the added push to reach the top. Now that the hype is history, Make It Big can be appreciated for its smoothly-buffed melodies, glossy arrangements and overall hedonistic mood. Buoyant tracks like “Freedom” and “Credit Card Baby” carry an irresistible sugar rush, conveyed by gliding keyboards and Motown-inspired rhythms. Best along these lines is “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” an effervescent dollop of ear candy you can’t help but bop along to. Even more central to the album’s mystique is “Careless Whisper,” a torchy ballad that captures Michael’s blossoming charisma. Wham! slinks to a techno-funk groove on “Everything She Wants” and rides a spurt of neo-bubblegum energy on “Like A Baby.” A truly seminal example of ‘80s mass-appeal pop.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Talk about a mission statement — when Andrew Ridgeway and George Michael titled their 1984 sophomore album Make It Big, they laid their ambitions bare. The two New Wave Romeos who constituted Wham! designed their music to fit the ‘80s airwaves perfectly, and George Michael’s boyish good looks and cheeky charm gave them the added push to reach the top. Now that the hype is history, Make It Big can be appreciated for its smoothly-buffed melodies, glossy arrangements and overall hedonistic mood. Buoyant tracks like “Freedom” and “Credit Card Baby” carry an irresistible sugar rush, conveyed by gliding keyboards and Motown-inspired rhythms. Best along these lines is “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” an effervescent dollop of ear candy you can’t help but bop along to. Even more central to the album’s mystique is “Careless Whisper,” a torchy ballad that captures Michael’s blossoming charisma. Wham! slinks to a techno-funk groove on “Everything She Wants” and rides a spurt of neo-bubblegum energy on “Like A Baby.” A truly seminal example of ‘80s mass-appeal pop.

TITLE TIME
3:51
5:02
4:43
4:15
5:02
3:39
5:09
6:32

About Wham!

Wham! sparked something of a pop revival in the mid-'80s and could arguably be held responsible for sparking off the boy band trend of the '90s. They were unashamedly pop, to the point of padding the front of their trousers for television appearances. At the heart, however, was a string of catchy singalong singles written by George Michael (born Georgios Kyrriacos Panayiotou in London to a Greek restauranting family).

George met Wham!'s other half, Andrew Ridgeley, at school in the London suburb of Bushey, and in 1979 they started performing together as part of the ska-based band the Executive. When that group dissolved, they wrote songs, made demos, and rushed into a recording contract with the equally eager independent label Innervision, scoring an instant hit with "Wham Rap!" (they thought that "wham" was the sound they made when Michael and Ridgeley performed together). In order to move to a recording contract with Sony label Epic, Wham! was forced to walk away from most of the royalties from their debut album, Fantastic. None of that mattered when their 1984 single, "Wake Me up Before You Go Go," became a worldwide hit, accompanied by a video of the pair cavorting in their sportswear. Almost immediately, George Michael started thinking of a solo career, and released "Careless Whisper," issued in the U.S. under George Michael of Wham! Wham!'s end came suddenly two years later, in 1985, reputedly when the group's manager, Simon Napier-Bell (later to manage Take That), decided to sell a share of his management to a South African entertainment conglomerate. Supposedly, as part of a stand against South African politics, George Michael immediately announced Wham!'s breakup. They gave their farewell performance before a sold-out audience of 72,000 fans at London's Wembley Stadium.

George Michael comfortably stepped straight into his own highly successful solo performing and recording career. Andrew Ridgeley's post Wham! album, Son of Albert, sold poorly and produced just one minor hit, "Shake." ~ Ed Nimmervoll

  • ORIGIN
    London, England
  • GENRE
    Pop
  • FORMED
    1981

Top Songs by Wham!

Top Albums by Wham!

Top Music Videos by Wham!

Listeners Also Played