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Ovation: The Anniversary Of WHAM!’s Farewell Concert.

06/28/2013

WHAM!I’m not ashamed to admit that, during their early-1980s heyday, I was a big fan of WHAM!  The British duo of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley,  who were known for a time in the United States as WHAM!UK due to a naming conflict with an American Band, sold a reported thirty-eight million records worldwide during their four short years together (1982-1986).

In an age where few young people were fortunate enough to have a Sony Walkman (the first personal cassette player of note), I was very selective about the cassettes that I purchased and, once I bought one, would listen to it over and over again.  During the early days of music videos, we had to use our imaginations while we listed.  One of my favorite songs, that I must have listened to a million times with the volume turned up much too high, was WHAM!’s Wham! Rap (Enjoy What You Do).

This guilty pleasure, written in 1982 while rap was still a small and predominantly American phenomenon, was the first to introduce the style to a British audience.  It wasn’t well-received, at first, but eventually reached #8 on the UK Singles Chart and became the second of four hits from the duo’s debut album Fantastic.

On June 28, 1986, WHAM! made their farewell concert appearance at Wembley Stadium in London.  The pair had announced their amicable breakup earlier that year but wanted to go out with a bang.  A sell-out crowd of 75,000 packed the stadium for the concert that included an appearance by Elton John in a clown suit who later rejoined George Michael on stage to sing his hit Candle In The Wind.

Dig those 80s fashions both onstage and in the crowd!  And those smooth dance moves!  And the HAIR!

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2 Comments
  1. I loved Wham and George Michael! He had/has one of the best and strongest male voices in pop music ever. AND he could write. I saw him live at the Equality Rocks Concert and he was simply amazing. It saddens me that he can’t find happiness and health at this point in his live.

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