A short article about the rarified record that George Michael set with ‘Careless Whisper.’ Published in the Record Mirror, vol. 31 no. 8 on September 8, 1984.
GEORGE MICHAEL’S surprisingly tender ‘Careless Whisper’ was apparently penned more than three years ago by George with Andrew Ridgeley, and was one of the first songs demoed by Wham! before they signed to Innervision Records.
Quite aside from its own frail charms, ‘Careless Whisper’ will long be remembered as the record which finally overhauled ‘Two Tribes’ after nine weeks at number one. By fending off all challengers until ‘Careless Whisper’, ‘Two Tribes’ helped George to make a Frankie sandwich — Wham’s ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ having immediately preceded ‘Two Tribes’ at number one.
George therefore becomes one of the few artists who’ve topped the chart first as a member of a group/duo and then as a soloist. It’s an exclusive club started by Buddy Holly (posthumously) in 1959, when the ironically- titled ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’ reached the top, two years after Buddy had led the Crickets to a similar position with ‘That’ll Be The Day’.
The only others to achieve this double — in chronological order, and with the group’s name in brackets — are: George Harrison (Beatles), Diana Ross (Supremes), Art Garfunkel (Simon & Garfunkel), Michael Jackson (The Jackson Five), John Lennon (Beatles), Smokey Robinson (Miracles), Adam Ant (Adam & The Ants) and Eddy Grant (Equals). Donny Osmond is the only act to reach the top first as a soloist, and then as a group member (The Osmonds). Gary Numan and Tubeway Army, such as they were when ‘Are Friends Electric?’ was released, are identical and so have been excluded. George is the youngest recruit to this company, at 21, and the only member to reach number one as a soloist and as a group member in the same calendar year.
With sales approaching 700,000, ‘Careless Whisper’ has outsold each and every Wham! single and must stand an outside chance of becoming the 40th single to sell a million in Britain, though the smart money is still on Frankie Goes To Hollywood who, as previously announced, will be releasing their third single in November.
- How George Michael Supported a Charity for Missing Children
- A Year in the Life of Wham! as Told by George Michael (Smash Hits Yearbook, 1986)
- ‘George Michael: The Naked Truth’ in No. 1 Magazine (1984)
- Wham! Make it Bigger: Smash Hits Magazine 1984
- George Michael and John Lennon’s Imagine Piano: Tracking the Journey through News Clippings