On November 17th 1985 Wham! were No.1 in both sides of the Atlantic
In 1985 Wham! “Make It Big” twice
David Warren is editor and author for Pop Expresso reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1985 Wham! were one of the biggest pop bands (or duo) in the world. After a discreet debut with their first album “Fantastic” released in 1982, they went on to release their best selling and worldwide success “Make It Big” on October 23rd 1984. The album included some of the 1980’s most memorable Pop music anthems and with the exception of the track “If You Were There” by The Isley Brothers, was entirely composed and written by George Michael. The album opens with the smash hit “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, a song that definitely ruled the 1980’s and it’s synonymous to Pop music to this day. “Everything She Wants” features an already Soul-Pop like feeling to it, it’s not surprising being Soul music one of Michael’s main influences, and the blend of it in “Everything She Wants” it’s fantastic. Another great track from the album it’s “Freedom”, which opens the Side 2, if modern Pop music was to be re-named it would be with this song, all the Pop elements are there, catchy lyrics, a catchy beat and rhythm, and a sonority that digs back in the 1960’s classic Pop with Beatlesque trumpets at the end, it’s one of the greatest Pop songs of the last 40 years, and this is also where you can witness Michael’s extraordinary talent and versatility as a composer, a few years later, the chorus melody of “Freedom” served as an intro to his solo hit “Faith” in an instrumental gospel church organ form, and this is what makes a good Pop song, the ability to transform it in many different styles. The album closes with “Careless Whisper”, that although was released as a solo single of George Michael, it’s co-credited to Wham!’s half Andrew Ridgeley even though he had no part in writing the song. After Michael’s death in 2016 one of the many stories that surfaced was that he credited Andrew Ridgeley because there was no other song in the album written by him, and wanted to secure his friend with Royalties for years to come. Altruistic indeed. “Careless Whisper” it’s the ballad everyone knows, not just from the 1980’s but a timeless one, it’s a fantastic well written and mature song for a 21 year old to release (Michael’s age at the time), and more surprisingly is that he wrote it when he was 17. “Make It Big” it’s Wham!’s definitive album, while “Fantastic” includes several hit songs such as “Club Tropicana”, “Wham Rap” and “Young Guns”, the contrast of maturity with bubblegum Pop songs present on “Make It Big” it’s stunning, an unique blend that George Michael knew how to do perfectly.
On November 17th, 1985, “Make It Big” was No.1 at the UK album charts, the same day, the single “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” was No.1 at the U.S Hot 100. Wham” split two years after “Make It Big” was released, they had a 5 year successful run that inspired many Pop and Rock artists, in 1987 George Michael reborn as a solo artist with “Faith” and again, he made it big.
“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”
“Everything She Wants”
“Like a Baby”
“If You Were There” (The Isley Brothers)
“Credit Card Baby”
“Careless Whisper” (Michael, Andrew Ridgeley)
All songs written and composed by George Michael, except where noted.
George Michael: lead vocals, background vocals, keyboards
Andrew Ridgeley: guitar, background vocals
Deon Estus: bass guitar
Trevor Morrell: drums
Steve Gregory: saxophone
Pepsi & Shirlie: background vocals
Produced by: George Michael
Recorded during: 1984 at Studio Miraval, France; Sarm West Studios, London
Released: October 23rd, 1984
Label: Epic / Columbia
“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” Released: May 1984
“Careless Whisper” Released: July 1984
“Freedom” Released: August 1984
“Everything She Wants” Released: December 1984
“Heartbeat” Released: 1985
“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” , “Everything She Wants”, “Freedom”, “Careless Whisper”
Watch the 1984 music video for “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!
Listen to “Make It Big” on Spotify
Watch more Wham and George Michael related videos
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