The article “Going Going Go-Go” about Wham!’s George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley was written by Tamasin Bright and published in Record Mirror on June 2, 1984.
IF SIMON Le Bon is reading this, those bad boys Wham have a message for you… come in, your time is up. 1984 will be the year when George and Andrew dethrone the Brum boys once and for all.
After six months in the shade. Wham are back in the limelight with the first in a quartet of singles, a master plan to take on the world, and a message for anyone foolish enough to doubt their intentions.
Duran Duran and Culture Club might be taking it in turns to perch at the top of the charts, but according to Wham it’s all change from now on.
“Neither of those groups think we’re competition for them, but they’ll know better by the end of the year,” a very tanned George Michael says. “I think rivalry is a healthy thing, but there’s only room for two groups at the top. That’s Culture Club and us.
“Duran’s mistake was to become arrogant and that lost them a lot of respect. But they’re not stupid — they noticed just in time and have started to do something about it. ‘The Reflex’ is probably the best thing they’ve ever done.”
Not enough to save them from Wham it seems.
Basking in the glow of their supreme confidence, it’s hard to look back to the beginning of this year when, beset with legal tussles with their former record company, they were forced to take a back seat until the matter was resolved. But even then, they didn’t turn into sad boys.
“We completely divorced ourselves from the situation,” Andrew explains.
“It had to be tackled at some point,”
George adds. “We had good lawyers and we just let them get on with it while we attended to other matters.
“I used the time to get on with my writing. In some ways it was a useful break.”
“I FEEL so confident about this single,” I George says. “All the DJs are I predicting it will go to number one. I think it will be our biggest single to date.”
And of course, to follow that will be George’s long awaited solo single, ‘Careless Whisper’.
“My sisters have already dubbed it ‘Tuneless Whisper’!” he chortles. “We took them with us to Miami when I went out there to shoot the video because I decided to give them a holiday.”
And holiday they did, while poor George slogged his guts out making the video. If you think Mr. Michael is tanned, Andrew Ridgeley is BLACK! But didn’t he find Miami boring?
“Nah! S’great!” he insists. “I had a lovely time!”
“Andrew, you think everywhere is marvellous,” George sighs, with pained patience. “As long as you can get pissed and have a good time, you’d think the biggest dump on earth was great.” (Andrew giggles at this home truth.) “Honestly, you should have seen some of the states he got himself into. I had to take him home and put him to bed on several occasions.”
“And the funny thing is, although I couldn’t remember a thing about the night before, I never had a hangover or gut rot,” Andrew adds. “Perhaps all the cream in the cocktails protected me.
“I’m not always that bad, though… George doesn’t have to keep a constant eye on me. But we rarely get drunk together — that would be a lethal combination!”
WHILE ANDREW and the Misses Michael were investigating fun and tanning in Miami, George was gnashing his teeth over his troublesome video, which took longer to make than anticipated.
“It took five days instead of three, and that could have been avoided,” he says. “When we started filming I needed a haircut, but we carried on regardless.
“The trouble was, that the longer my hair gets the curlier it becomes and, with the high humidity in Florida, my hair began to frizz out like an Afro!
“When we looked at the rushes, we knew we couldn’t use any of it, so I got my sister to cut my hair and we started all over again.”
A very expensive haircut, but not as extravagant as the video for ‘Wake Me Up’, which has 300 extras on the payroll. But Wham are thinking big and such expenditures are deemed necessary. Next on the agenda comes their second LP, which they start recording in July.
“We’re going to do it in the south of France,” George says. “But we want to do it quickly — six weeks at the most. Our last album took three months, which I now think is too long. Pop albums should be made on feel, not on technical levels.
“We don’t worry about getting individual levels right before we start recording now.
We play the song and if it sounds good, then we’ll roll the tapes.
“We put down the backing track to the new single like that — it only took 20 minutes!”
WITH THE LP coming out in the shops in late September, George and Andrew are planning a world tour a month or two later to spread the word. And this time they are setting their sights on large venues.
“One tour a year is enough for both the group and the fans,” George tells me. “A tour should be a celebration of the year that’s gone behind.
“We’ll wait until people have had a chance to get used to the new LP before we set out, so that they’ll know the songs we’ll be playing and enjoy them.
“We’ve booked Wembley for Christmas. Of course we can handle a venue of that size — didn’t you see any of our shows last year? What did you think?”
When I tell him I didn’t think much of the part where they shoved shuttlecocks down their shorts then batted the offending items into the clamouring audience, George snorts and throws me a pitying glance.
“You old fuddy duddy! It’s not sexist at all. Don’t you see it’s all good fun? We don’t take ourselves seriously and neither do our fans. It’s just a laugh.
“Mind you, we did get a few overheated letters from irate parents!”
With dates around the world in the process of being set up. Wham will be playing in George’s favourite patch — America — and Andrew hopes to see India, which fascinates him.
“Some parts of America are great,” George says. “People in Alabama — where I recorded my solo single — were so friendly! I thought it would be the height of hicksville but everyone was so helpful that I quickly changed my mind.”
Meanwhile, the pair are house hunting — Andrew in West London near the river, George — in his own words — searching for something more bourgeois like a fashionable crescent near Kensington.
- Wham! Interview in Miami During the ‘Careless Whisper’ Filming (1984)
- Wham! Teen Dreams Come True (NME, 1983)
- Wham!: Get Set to Go Go (1984)
- George Michael Interview with Capital FM Radio with Dr. Fox (Dec 1998)
- Andrew Ridgeley on Life With and After Wham! (Hello!, 1997)