Read what George Michael said about his number one expectations about Wham!’s Christmas single, which was stopped from reaching the number 1 spot in the charts by Band Aid’s single ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’. Interview excerpt from A Year in the Life of Wham! as Told by George Michael (Smash Hits Yearbook, 1986)
December was also when we did the Band Aid single ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’. That was a very weird time in some ways. I mean, Band Aid was brilliant and I don’t have any bad feelings about it. But I’d written our Christmas single ‘Last Christmas’ the previous February, and as far as I was concerned it was a number one. Then, as Christmas approached there weren’t any novelty records out or anything, and I was thinking ‘I can’t believe it. There’s no real competition around’. People were saying it’d be the Flying Pickets, and I knew there was a possibility that Culture Club might have released ‘Mistake Number Three’, but apart from that it looked like we had a clear run at the top. Nothing looked like it could keep us off number one! And then I heard about the Band Aid record and wanted to get involved. At the time, it didn’t seem a very big deal. I think most people that turned up that day were really surprised when they saw all the cameras and everything – I was. I thought it was like a few people getting together to do this record and it wasn’t until I actually got there that I realised what was really going on.
So I was totally shocked by the whole thing. And then I heard it and I thought, oh well, with all these people on it I really don’t see how we stand a chance. Actually, there was this awful thing when someone came round with a tape recorder and I thought it was Smash Hits. So, you know, I said something light-hearted like ‘this record might be number one at Christmas, but then again so might ours, but I don’t care because I’m on both of them!’ And the next day, driving along in my car, I heard them play the b-side of the record and I heard that quote. It sounded so flippant. I thought I’d instantly be made public enemy number one. I sat there, listening to it, in absolute terror. And I went back to the office the next day and said, ‘I think we’d better give up on our number one.’ Of course, I was really glad about the way it turned out in the end. I know people have said that some of the people involved were just doing it to promote themselves, or they were being really self-righteous about the whole thing. Well, OK, some of them were, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter, does it? I mean, who cares why they did it, so long as they did it and so long as it helped? Can you imagine how long it would have taken by any other means to raise the amount of money that has been made this year?
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW: A Year in the Life of Wham! as Told by George Michael (Smash Hits Yearbook, 1986)
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