Critics don’t always get it right, especially those who dismissed Wham! Here’s a sample article of when a critic was wrong, thinking that ‘Last Christmas’ is merely a short-lived hit that will be soon forgotten. Though the title of the article is so apt — after 33 years, the song is still very much alive, even a movie loosely based on the song! Wham! (and George Michael) is indeed tough to get rid of.
The article “Wham! is tough to get rid of” was written by James Adams and published in the Canadian newspaper Edmonton Journal on 10 Jul 1986.
Wham! is tough to get rid of
Music from the Edge of Heaven;
Try as one might, Britain’s Wham! was like this infectious disease that was all but impossible to resist during its mercifully short ‘ existence.
Careless Whisper, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Everything She Wants, I’m Your Man — not since The Archies, perhaps, or Freddie and the Dreamers has pop music heard such disposable, inane, banal but catchy tunes. Wham! wasn’t a group you actively liked; it was simply Out There, like candy floss at the circus, cold germs in the air, marijuana smoke at Woodstock.
Music from the Edge of Heaven is the eight-tune hail and farewell gift of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley to their adoring (mostly female) fans. It’s not really an LP, more a hodge-podge of bits and pieces from the band’s fitful final two years including a live track from the less-than-wonderful :i985 China tour (Blue), a throwaway rap cut (Wham! Rap ’86), a feeble cover of Was (Not Was)’s Where Did Your Heart Go? and a smattering of “old” singles (I’m Your Man, Last Christmas, A Different Corner).
The freshest cuts — The Edge of Heaven, Battlestations — were recorded just over two months ago, obviously as fodder for what was to have been the group’s follow-up to its ridiculously successful Wham! Make It Big LP. Actually, to call Wham! a group is a mistake: Andrew Ridgeley was just this brown-eyed appendage; it was George Michael who made Wham! tick and now there’s talk he’s working with Aretha Franklin. The mind boggles . . .
Edge is one of those recordings whose deliciously dumb moments have a way of slipping past all one’s “good taste” defences. Last Christmas, for instance, has been whirling around this correspondent’s skull like a pesky gnat for the last 10 days, particularly its irritat-ingly sing-songy chorus: “Last Christmas / I gave you my heart / But the very next day / You gave it away. . .”
I know it won’t stay there forever — puerile pop pleasures never do but how long will it take before I wake up one morning and find it gone-gone?
- George Michael Interview with Capital FM Radio with Dr. Fox (Dec 1998)
- Wham!’s Last Week, Smash Hit Magazine (July 1986)
- 12 Things You Need to Know About Wham!’s “Last Christmas” Song
- Last Wham! Interview: No. 1 Magazine (1986)
- Andrew Ridgeley on Life With and After Wham! (Hello!, 1997)