Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Is Wham! possibly the second greatest pop duo of all time?

It’s easy to forget that George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley’s band Wham! was only around for about four years in the early 80s. And when you watch the Netflix documentary, simply called Wham!, it’s amazing to recall that they had a ton of unsuspectingly great pop hits.

Michael of course came to a sad end. But this new rock doc stays away from that part of the story other than to plant the seeds that were occuring under the surface in terms of Michael's fear of coming out as gay to his father and the world and the tremendous identity crisis it was causing for him. 

The movie is fascinating to watch not only because of the band's undeniable likeability, but also because of the way the colorful work takes us all back to a certain time and place whether we liked Wham! or not. Piecing it all together came quite a bit easier because of the voluminous scrapbooks Ridgeley's "mum" kept of Wham!'s rise to global superstardom. 

Definitely check it out. And here are some other interesting tidbits about Wham! that I uncovered as I dug a little deeper:

  • George Michael's real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou.
  • Michael and Ridgeley met as teens at Bushey Meads School in Hertfordshire, England.
  • The band's debut single, "Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)," was released in 1982 and was banned by the BBC due to its profanity.  
  • Hard to believe, but "Last Christmas," which was alleged by Michael to have been written in just one hour, was the band's biggest hit, even bigger than "Careless Whisper" and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."
  • Wham! were the first Western pop act to tour China.
  • The band's final concert was held at Wembley Stadium in 1986. Even after their breakup, they always remained friends. They also reunited for a one-off concert in 2009 that was a huge success and raised money for AIDS charities.
  • The band's music has appeared in films, including The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and TV, including Glee.
  • The band was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
For my money, Daryl Hall & John Oates are still the greatest duo of all time, but Wham! makes a convincing case here in this movie for the #2 spot on that list.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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