Wham!

Wham! was an English pop-soul duo from London that released four 1982–83 singles on Columbia–Inner Vision that formed the basis of their debut album Fantastic. The duo consisted of vocalist–songwriter George Michael and occasional guitarist Andrew Ridgeley, who functioned more as the act’s stylist and publicist.

In the fall of 1984, Wham! broke globally with the single “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” from the album Make It Big, which generated three further hit singles over a year-long chart run. The ballad “Careless Whisper” was alternately billed as a solo release by Michael. A further run of singles in late 1985 and early 1986 heralded an announcement that the duo was soon to split: a move forwarded by the singer’s summer ’86 solo ballad “A Different Corner.” The pair’s final recordings appear on the North American release Music From the Edge of Heaven.

Post-split, Michael launched a highly successful solo career while Ridgeley went into speed-racing.

Members: George Michael (vocals), Andrew Ridgeley (guitar)


Background

Wham! sprung from The Executive, an unsigned ska band with George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley.

Michael was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou on June 25, 1963, in East Finchley; the youngest of three children (and only son) of Kyriacos “Jack” Panayiotou (a Greek Cypriot restaurateur) and Lesley Angold (née Harrison, an English dancer). His father migrated from Patriki, Cyprus, in the 1950s. At age eight, George incurred a head injury that spurred his musical fixation. In his early teens, the family moved to Radlett village in Hertfordshire, where Michael attended Bushey Meads School and befriended fellow pupil Andrew Ridgeley, who shared the same ambition.

Ridgeley was born on January 26, 1963, in Windlesham, Surrey, to Italian–Egyptian migrant Alberto Mario Zacharia and Scottish–Englishwoman Jennifer John (née Dunlop). Zacharia fled Egypt during the 1956 Suez Crisis.

In 1980, Michael and Ridgeley formed The Executive with fellow school friends, including David (Austin) Mortimer and Andrew’s younger brother, Paul. Meanwhile, Michael busked on the London Underground, where he performed the 1975 Queen deep-cut “39” for passing commuters. He also worked as a DJ with gigs at the Northwood Bel Air Restaurant and assorted schools in the Bushey and Watford districts.

Michael and Ridgeley decided to work as a duo. Andrew suggested the name Wham as an expression of their energy and the immediate, upbeat nature of their music. They recorded a demo tape (purportedly in ten minutes), which Andrew handed to music entrepreneur Mark Dean at The Three Crowns pub in Hertfordshire. In February 1982, Dean signed Wham to Innervision, a new subsidiary of CBS.


“Wham Rap!”

11 Jun 1982

1. “Wham Rap!” 3:30
2. “Wham Rap!” (Club Mix) (a.k.a. Special Club Re-Mix, edited version of the 12″ ‘Social Mix’) 4:02

12″: Innervision (UK)
1. “Wham Rap!” (Unsocial Mix) 6:36
2. “Wham Rap!” (Social Mix) 6:46

UK Singles (OCC)[17] 8
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10][11] 9
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[13] 9
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[12] 12
Ireland (IRMA)[15] 13
Germany (Official German Charts)[14] 17
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[16] 18 


“Young Guns (Go for It)”

17 September 1982

7″: Innervision / IVL A2766 (UK)
1. “Young Guns (Go for It)” 3:40
2. “Going for It” 3:40

12″: Innervision / IVL A13 2766 (UK)
1. “Young Guns (Go for It)” (12″ Version) 5:10
2. “Going for It” 3:40

12″: Columbia/Innervision 44-03501 (US)
1. “Young Guns (Go for It)” 6:53
2. “Going for It!” 4:49

Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[12] 1
UK Singles (OCC)[13] 3
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 4
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[8] 4
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[10] 4
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[6] 8
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[9] 9
Norway (VG-lista)[11] 10
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[7] 11
West Germany (Official German Charts)[14] 20


Fantastic

Wham! released their debut album, Fantastic, on July 1, 1983, on Innervision. In the US, Fantastic appeared on Columbia under the group name Wham UK to avoid confusion with the American funk band named Wham.

1. “Bad Boys” 3:19
2. “A Ray of Sunshine” 4:43
3. “Love Machine” Pete Moore Billy Griffin 3:19
4. “Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)” Michael Andrew Ridgeley 6:41
5. “Club Tropicana” Michael Ridgeley 4:28
6. “Nothing Looks the Same in the Light” 5:53
7. “Come On” 4:24
8. “Young Guns (Go for It!)” 3:55

Recorded 1982–1983
Studio Maison Rouge (London)
Producer Steve Brown George Michael Bob Carter

George Michael – lead vocals (1–4, 7, 8), backing vocals (1–3), arrangements (4–7), all vocals (5, 6), horn arrangements (5), instruments (6)
Andrew Ridgeley – guitars (1–5, 7, 8), arrangements (4)

Additional musicians
Jess Bailey – keyboards (1)
Anne Dudley – keyboards (1, 8)
Tommy Eyre – keyboards (2, 3, 5, 7)
Bob Carter – keyboards (4)
Robert Ahwai – guitars (1–3, 7, 8)
Deon Estus – bass (1–3, 5, 7), backing vocals (1)
John McKenzie – bass (4)
Brad Lang – bass (8)
Trevor Murrell – drums (1–3, 5, 6)
Andy Duncan – drums (4), percussion (4, 5)
Graham Broad – drums (7, 8)
Luís Jardim – percussion (1, 3)
Tony Moroni – percussion (2)
Jeff Daly – saxophones (1)
David Baptiste – saxophones (2, 3, 7)
Chris Hunter – saxophones (4)
Ian Ritchie – saxophones (5), horn arrangements (5)
Andy Mackintosh – saxophones (8)
Paul Cox – trumpet (1)
Martin Drover – trumpet (1)
Colin Graham – trumpet (2, 3, 7)
Raul D’Oliveria – trumpet (2, 3, 7)
Guy Barker – trumpet (4)
Roddy Lorimer – trumpet (5)
Bert Ezard – trumpet (8)
J. Healey – trumpet (8)
Linton Ace – string arrangements (3)
Dee C. Lee – backing vocals (1, 8)
Ruby Mason – backing vocals (1)
Jimmy Chambers – backing vocals (3)
George Chandler – backing vocals (3)
Tony Jackson – backing vocals (3)
Katie Kissoon – backing vocals (7)
Stevie Lange – backing vocals (7)
Sylvia Mason-James – backing vocals (7)
Lynda Hayes – backing vocals (8)
Shirlie Holliman – backing vocals (8)
Josie James – backing vocals (8)
————
“Bad Boys”
Released: May 1983
UK Singles (OCC)[13] 2
Finland (Suomen virallinen singlelista)[6] 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[12] 6
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[5] 8
Norway (VG-lista)[10] 8
Australia (Kent Music Report)[4] 9
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[9] 10
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[11] 11
Germany (Official German Charts)[7] 12
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[8] 26
US Billboard Hot 100[14] 60
————-
“Club Tropicana”
Released: July 1983
2. “Blue (Armed with Love)” George Michael 3:50
Ireland (IRMA)[16] 4
UK Singles (OCC)[21] 4
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[17] 8
Norway (VG-lista)[20] 10
West Germany (Official German Charts)[22] 13
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[18] 14
——-
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[13] 1
UK Albums (OCC)[17] 1
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[8] 5
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[11] 7
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[9] 8
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[10] 8
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[14] 8
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[15] 15
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[12] 17
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[16] 25
US Billboard 200[18] 83


“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”

“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”
Released: 14 May 1984

7-inch: Epic / A 4440 (UK)
1. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” 3:51
2. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” (Instrumental) 4:03

12-inch: Epic / TA 4440 (UK)
1. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” 3:51
2. “A Ray of Sunshine” (Specially recorded for The Tube) 4:58
3. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” (Instrumental) 4:03

Australia (Kent Music Report)[13] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[15] 1
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[16] 1
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[18] 1
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[19] 1
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[21] 1
Iceland (RÚV)[25] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[26] 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[28] 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[29] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[31] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[33] 1
UK Singles (OCC)[35] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[36] 1
US Cash Box[39] 1
Canada (The Record)[17] 2
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[30] 2
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[34] 2
West Germany (Official German Charts)[40] 2
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[22] 3
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[37] 4
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[14] 6
Denmark (Hitlisten)[20] 6
South Africa (Springbok Radio)[32] 9
Finland Jukebox (Suomen virallinen lista)[22] 10
France (SNEP)[23] 17


“Careless Whisper”

“Careless Whisper”
Released: 23 July 1984

7″: Epic / A 4603 (UK)
1. “Careless Whisper” (Single Edit) 5:04
2. “Careless Whisper” (Instrumental) 5:02
12″: Epic / TA4603 (UK)
1. “Careless Whisper” (Extended Mix) 6:31
2. “Careless Whisper” (Instrumental) 5:02

Australia (Kent Music Report)[50] 1
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[53] 1
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[54] 1
Iceland (RÚV)[60] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[61] 1
Italy (Musica e dischi)[63] 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[66] 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[67] 1
South Africa (Springbok)[72] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[75] 1
UK Singles (OCC)[76] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[77] 1
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[78] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[51] 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[52] 2
Canada (The Record)[55] 2
Europe (European Hot 100 Singles)[56] 2
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[57] 2
Norway (VG-lista)[69] 2
Portugal (AFP)[70] 2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[74] 2
France (SNEP)[58] 3
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[68] 3
US Hot Dance Singles Sales (Billboard)[79] 3
West Germany (Official German Charts)[81] 3
Israel (Media Forest)[62] 4
US Hot Black Singles (Billboard)[80] 8
Hungary (Single Top 40)[59] 10
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[73] 11
Japan (Oricon)[65] 12


Make It Big

Wham! released their second album, Make It Big, on October 15, 1984, in the US (Columbia) and November 5 in the UK (Epic).

1. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” 3:50
2. “Everything She Wants” 5:01
3. “Heartbeat” 4:42
4. “Like a Baby” 4:12

5. “Freedom” 5:01
6. “If You Were There” Ernie Isley Marvin Isley Chris Jasper 3:38
7. “Credit Card Baby” 5:08
8. “Careless Whisper” Michael Andrew Ridgeley 5:00

Released: 23 July 1984
George Michael – lead vocals, backing vocals, keyboards (2, 3), LinnDrum (2)
Andrew Ridgeley – electric guitars, backing vocals

Additional musicians
Tommy Eyre – keyboards (1, 4–7)
Andy Richards – keyboards (8)
Anne Dudley – additional keyboards
Tom Herries – additional keyboards
Hugh Burns – electric guitars, acoustic guitar
Deon Estus – bass
Trevor Murrell – drums, LinnDrum (1)
Danny Cummings – percussion
David Baptiste – alto saxophone
Steve Gregory – tenor saxophone (8)
Colin Graham – trumpet
Paul Spong – trumpet
Pepsi & Shirlie – backing vocals
Production
George Michael – producer, arrangements
Chris Porter – engineer
Paul Gomersall – assistant engineer
P/S/A – design
Tony McGee – photography
————-
“Freedom” / “Freedom” (instrumental) (UK), “Heartbeat” (US)
Released: 1 October 1984

12-inch: Epic / TA 4743 (UK)
1. “Freedom” (long version) 7:14
2. “Freedom” (instrumental) 5:10

Iceland (RÚV)[21] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[22] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[27] 1
UK Singles (OCC)[31] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[12] 2
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[13] 2
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[24] 2
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 3
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[15] 3
Europe (European Hot 100 Singles)[17] 3
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[25] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 3
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[32] 4
Canada (CHUM)[16] 5
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[18] 5
Italy (Musica e dischi)[23] 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[30] 5
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[26] 8
South Africa (Springbok Radio)[28] 8
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[29] 9
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[14] 10
US Cash Box Top 100[33] 10
Germany (Official German Charts)[20] 14
France (SNEP)[19] 16
—————-
“Everything She Wants”
Released: 3 December 1984

12″: Columbia / 44-05180 (USA)
1. “Everything She Wants” (Long Remix) 6:34
2. “Like A Baby” 4:12
7″: Epic / 07-5p-336 (Japan)
1. “Everything She Wants” (Remix) 5:32
2. “Like a Baby” 4:12
3. “Message from Wham!”

Canada RPM Top Singles 1
Iceland (RÚV)[21] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[26] 1
US Cash Box Top 100[31] 1
UK Singles (OCC)[25] 2
US Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales[30] 3
Europe (European Hot 100 Singles)[18] 4
Norway (VG-lista)[23] 4
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[27] 4
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[15] 5
Canada The Record[17] 5
South Africa (Springbok)[24] 5
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[22] 6
Australia (Kent Music Report)[14] 7
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[28] 7
Germany (Official German Charts)[20] 8
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[16] 9
US Hot Black Singles (Billboard)[29] 12
————-
Australian Kent Music Report[12] 1
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[14] 1
Dutch Albums Chart[15] 1
European Top 100 Albums[16] 1
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[17] 1
Italian M&D Albums Chart[18] 1
Japanese Oricon LPs Chart[19] 1
New Zealand Albums Chart[20] 1
Norwegian Albums Chart[21] 1
Swiss Albums Chart[23] 1
UK Albums Chart[24] 1
US Billboard 200[25] 1
Swedish Albums Chart[22] 3
Austrian Albums Chart[13] 4
West German Albums Chart[26] 5


“Last Christmas” 

“Last Christmas” double a-side with “Everything She Wants”

3 December 1984

4:27
6:45 (Pudding mix)

Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[70] 1
Croatia (HRT)[75] 1
Denmark (Tracklisten)[78] 1
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[79] 1
Germany (Official German Charts)[81] 1
Iceland (RÚV)[88] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[89] 1
Italy (Musica e dischi)[90] 1
Latvia (EHR)[93] 1
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[111] 1
Slovenia (SloTop50)[112][113] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[66] 1
UK Singles (OCC)[118] 1
Australia (ARIA)[69] 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[71] 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[72] 2
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[77] 2
France (SNEP)[80] 2
Global 200 (Billboard)[82] 2
Hungary (Single Top 40)[86] 2
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[87] 2
Luxembourg (Billboard)[95] 2
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[97] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[98] 2
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[99] 2
Norway (VG-lista)[100] 2
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[117] 2
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[73] 3
Greece (IFPI)[83] 3
Portugal (AFP)[105] 3
Scotland (OCC)[108] 3
US Holiday 100 (Billboard)[54] 3
Croatia (Billboard)[74] 4
Lithuania (AGATA)[94] 4
US Billboard Hot 100[60] 4
Singapore (RIAS)[109] 5
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)[102] 6
US Rolling Stone Top 100[121] 7
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[116] 9
Romania (Billboard)[106] 10
Czech Republic (Rádio – Top 100)[76] 11
Poland (Polish Streaming Top 100)[104] 11
Japan (Oricon)[91] 12
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[92] 13
Hong Kong (Billboard)[84] 17
Philippines (Billboard)[101] 17
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[110] 18
Malaysia International (RIM)[96] 20
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[119] 22
South Africa (RISA)[114] 31
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[85] 40
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[120] 40


Music From the Edge of Heaven

Wham! released their third and final album, Music From the Edge of Heaven, on June 27, 1986, on Columbia in North America and Japan.

1. “The Edge of Heaven” 4:31
2. “Battlestations” 5:25
3. “I’m Your Man” 6:05
4. “Wham! Rap ’86” MichaelAndrew Ridgeley 6:33
5. “A Different Corner” 4:30
6. “Blue” (live in China) 5:43
7. “Where Did Your Heart Go?” (Was (Not Was) cover) Don Was Dave Was 5:43
8. “Last Christmas (Pudding Mix)” 6:44
—–
“I’m Your Man” / “Do It Right”
Released: 11 November 1985
Denmark (IFPI)[13] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[19] 1
Italy (Musica e dischi)[20] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[23] 1
UK Singles (OCC)[28] 1
Europe (European Hot 100 Singles)[14] 2
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[15] 2
Iceland (RÚV)[18] 2
Australia (Kent Music Report)[9] 3
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[11] 3
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[22] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[29] 3
US Cash Box Top 100[34] 3
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[21] 4
Norway (VG-lista)[24] 4
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[12] 7
Germany (Official German Charts)[17] 7
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[27] 7
——-
“A Different Corner” / “A Different Corner” (instrumental) – 4:13
Released: 24 March 1986
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[10] 1
Europe (European Hot 100 Singles)[12] 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[19] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[22] 1
Portugal (AFP)[23] 1
UK Singles (OCC)[27] 1
Zimbabwe (ZIMA)[30] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[9] 2
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[11] 2
Ireland (IRMA)[17] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[20] 2
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[13] 3
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[21] 3
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[26] 3
Australia (Kent Music Report)[7] 4
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[8] 6
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[29] 6
Germany (Official German Charts)[15] 7
Iceland (RÚV)[16] 7
US Billboard Hot 100[28] 7
France (SNEP)[14] 16
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[25] 18
——————
“The Edge of Heaven” / “Wham Rap ’86”
Released: 9 June 1986
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[13] 1
Europe (European Hot 100 Singles)[15] 1
Greece (Music & Media)[19] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[21] 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[23] 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[24] 1
UK Singles (OCC)[29] 1
Australia (Kent Music Report)[11] 2
Iceland (RÚV)[20] 2
Italy (Musica e dischi)[22] 2
Norway (VG-lista)[25] 2
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[16] 3
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[26] 3
Germany (Official German Charts)[18] 4
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[28] 4
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[14] 10
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[27] 10
US Billboard Hot 100[30] 10
—————–
“Where Did Your Heart Go?”
Released: October 1986
——
Recorded August 1984 (“Last Christmas”); 1985–1986
Studio Sarm West (London)
Producer George Michael
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[8] 9
Japanese Oricon LPs Chart[9] 9
US Billboard 200[10] 10 


Discography:

  • Fantastic (1983)
  • Make It Big (1984)
  • Music From the Edge of Heaven (1986)

Sources:

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