The documentary “WHAMWham! Review: They Made It Big, Then Broke Up” explores the rise to fame of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley as the pop duo Wham! The film delves into their impact on 1980s culture and addresses the breakup of the band in 1986, highlighting the amicable nature of their separation.
The recently released documentary Wham!, which focuses on the musical journey of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley as the duo Wham!, offers a nostalgic and fantastical elixir for those seeking a brief escape from the national blues. One of the highlights of Wham!’s music was their ability to infuse soulful elements into catchy pop tunes.
Michael’s Visit To Memphis
One fascinating story in the documentary recounts Michael’s visit to Memphis, where he recorded the iconic song “Careless Whisper” alongside the renowned Muscle Shoals rhythm section. The producer Jerry Wexler, who is also a legend in the music industry, supervised the recording process.
Michael had a negative opinion about the way they handled the song in the movie. When you listen to it, you notice that the trademark warmth is absent, and there is a distinct metronomic quality to it. This is a crucial moment where someone should step in and provide some clarification.
This story revolves around George and eventually Andrew, who were displeased with something. However, it is an interesting tale because it features various generations of white soul musicians who have different preferences when it comes to Black music. Perhaps Wexler and the others didn’t interpret “Careless Whisper” the same way as Michael did. Nevertheless, Michael had the courage and audacity to transform the song into the smooth and captivating masterpiece that we recognize today.
Fictional Setting Of The Success Behind WHAM
This movie chooses not to tackle the intricate moral and ethical dilemmas that arise when white individuals produce content for Black audiences. Instead, it presents a fictional setting where these concerns are not present. Nevertheless, it offers a pleasurable viewing experience. It is important to mention that, similar to the music group Wham!, the movie does not include any contentious elements.
These two white boys from England, George of Greek Cypriot descent and Andrew of Egyptian descent, were born during the rise of Motown in the early 1960s. As they entered their teenage years, disco was transitioning to new wave and rap. Drawing inspiration from various genres, they created their own unique sound, incorporating elements of disco, new wave, rap, as well as influences from artists like Barry Manilow and Freddie Mercury.
1980’s History Of Pop And Rock Culture
This genre, which can be described as a fusion of pop and rock (with a touch of Billy Joel), is predominantly associated with Hall and Oates, who were the primary contributors to its development. Within this genre, there are approximately twenty-four songs produced by the duo, including popular tracks such as “Everything She Wants,” “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” and “I’m Your Man.” These songs embody various influences but manage to evoke a carefree and enjoyable atmosphere, devoid of any sense of anxiety. In this genre, the concept of race does not seem to hold significant importance.
The film focuses on visuals and interviews from the past, including performances, behind-the-scenes moments, and music videos. It is an adaptation of scrapbooks maintained by Ridgeley’s mother, which cover the duo’s journey from their debut in 1981 to their amicable split in 1986. The director, Chris Smith, and a team of dedicated editors have worked on bringing these materials together into a cohesive narrative.
You Gotta Have Faith
This article focuses on the period leading up to the release of Michael’s highly successful album, Faith, which occurred a year before his untimely passing in 2016 at the age of 53. It is worth noting that Ridgeley’s solo album from 1990, Son of Albert, is often overlooked and difficult to find.
This documentary does not feature any interviews with celebrities. Instead, the voices of Michael and Ridgeley serve as the narrators, reflecting on their experiences and memories. Michael’s narration is largely taken from a BBC Radio interview. The film explores how they first met as schoolmates in the mid-1970s and how they influenced 1980s culture. Throughout the documentary, you can hear Ridgeley affectionately referring to Michael by his nickname, Yog, which stems from his birth name, Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou. The film also showcases their evolving styles, ranging from leather bars to Richard Simmons.
This text highlights the simplicity and charisma of the band Wham! There is no excessive contemplation or exaggeration in their approach. Wham! can be described as a youthful and captivating musical experience. Their music is so enjoyable that it feels refreshing, like sipping from a coconut. It is permissible to appreciate George Michael’s skilled execution of Black music, as well as Andrew Ridgeley’s amiable interpretation of Michael’s innovative style. Overall, Wham! offers a seamless and effortless musical journey.
Michael’s rhymes on Wham! Rap is just as impressive. His delivery is confident and well-prepared, leaving no room for nerves. It’s clear that he put in the necessary work beforehand. In other words, he simply nailed it.
Motown Was A Success Due To WHAM
During the early 1980s, there was a surge of successful hits by young white British artists who drew inspiration from Motown, giving their music a polished twist. Among these artists were ABC, Bananarama, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, and Soft Cell. Out of all of them, Michael seemed to have a special affinity for this sound. It came to him effortlessly, allowing him to skillfully incorporate catchy elements like “do do do” or “yeah yeah” into his music.
His talent for creating catchy melodies and captivating chord progressions is so impressive that it makes you want to savor every section of almost every song.
From an early age, Michael developed the skill of shading his singing. He had the ability to make it coo, wail, and susurrate. Meanwhile, Ridgeley added an energetic and suggestive touch to the music with his guitar playing, often unbuttoning his shirt on stage. Now, after watching this film, I can fully understand and appreciate this unique element.
During their time together, Wham! released three albums within a span of three years. However, the pressure and expenses associated with fame became overwhelming for Ridgeley, whereas Michaels had higher aspirations for himself. For Michael, Wham! was just the beginning of his music career. According to both individuals, Michael possessed stronger songwriting skills and a deep understanding of music production.