Wham! – the ultimate ‘boys own’ band. In their time- those bright days of middle-class 1980s England when yuppies and massive mobile phones ruled the street corners- Wham! lived the high-rolling dream. Wham! weren’t afraid to fake the lifestyle - from padding their crotches for Top of the Pops appearances to jumping on the burgeoning bad-boi rap bandwagon with their eponymous hit “Wham! Rap”… Best lyric “Hey everybody take a look at me/ I got street credibility”. Not only did George Michael know how to play around with cramming syllables into a sentence but he also pioneered the risqué sports-wear look alongside Andrew Ridgeley.
Theirs was a career dancing on shaky heights. The bust-and-boom of the 80s coupled with the pair’s dubious contract with their record label spelt the end of the yuppie dream-raiders. Probably their best moments are as the “Club Tropicana” beach-resort representatives. The previous moody looks and leather jackets were replaced with perma-tans and primary colours. The video for “Club Tropicana” sums this up as a bunch of beautiful people cavort around a swimming pool, Ridgeley casually floating around on an inflatable with his massive mobile (not a euphemism). A dodgy faux-Mexican man shakes those drinks as Wham! proclaim the mantra of the 80s bankers- “There’s enough for everyone”.
What Christmas party would be complete without “Last Christmas” blaring its cheesy way down the Asda aisles? Who doesn’t get a smile on their face when “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” flits through the Zoolander soundtrack? It is impossible not to shake your hips to “I’m Your Man” and dance around in unashamed Technicolor day-glo velour to “Freedom”.
Basically Wham! embody the simpler pop-music era when the onus was on who hair feathered the best and whose pants were the tightest- they are a boy very own band who gave the aspiring work-and-play men of the 1980s a peg to hang their hat and a dream to live up to- get on the plane, get the tan and get to where the free drinks are.