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Wham! (formed in 1981) is a British, unabashedly pop duo comprised of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, who rose to worldwide fame with their single “Wake Me up Before You Go Go” in 1984, hailing from Bushey, Hertfordshire, England.
Bushey, Hertfordshire-natives George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley first met at Bushey Meads School and with shared interests performed with the ska group, the Executive together. Upon the band’s dissolution Michael and Ridgeley were determined the continue performing and dove into a recording contract with the independent label Innervision. Ahead of their debut album the pair released the single “Wham Rap!”, which failing to enter the charts led the group to appear on “Top of the Pops” in 1982, where they performed the single “Young Guns (Go for It!)”. The live show caused an upsurge in popularity and led to the single ultimately rising to No. 3 on the UK Singles Chart.
The singles “Bad Boys” and “Club Tropicana” followed by the end of 1983 turning Wham! into pop royalty alongside Duran Duran and Culture Club. The band subsequently released their debut LP “Fantastic” which was help aloft the UK Albums Chart for two weeks. Legal battles ensued with their label Innervision, which ultimately transpired in Wham! signing with Sony’s Epic Records and Innervision filing for bankruptcy. With major-label backing, the duo’s subsequent single “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” topped the charts in the UK and the U.S., proving their first huge success.
As a result Michael was already planning his solo career, and the duo’s next single “Careless Whisper” was credited at Wham! featuring George Michael in the U.S. In 1984 the pair retuned to release the chart-topping single “Freedom”, followed by the No. 1 full-length “Make It Big”. The christmas single “Last Christmas/Everything She Wants” followed the same year, proving the be the highest-selling No. 2 single of all time. In support of their full-length record Wham! embarked on a UK arena tour and became the first UK band to play a show in China. Annocuning their breakup in 1986, Wham! released the farewell single “Where Did Your Heart Go?”, and the North American full-length “Music from the Edge of Heaven”.