Wham Members

May 31, 2024  By Jukebox 

What Made The Wham Members’ Astonishing Pop Career So Special?

As quintessential icons, the two Wham members, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, took the music world by storm in the 1980s. But what exactly turned the Wham members into pop legends that continue to transcend generations? 

At Jukebox Saturday Night, we love reliving the glory days of retro music, from hidden gems of forgotten 70s bands to chart-topping hits of widely beloved acts. So, we’re here to break down what exactly cemented the trailblazing pop duo’s legendary status. 


They elevated and redefined what pop music could sound like. 

It goes viral around the web on social media, it’s requested at parties, and it even plays at your local grocery store – pop music is everywhere. But one thing about this thriving genre is that it wouldn’t be what it is today without the groundbreaking pop icons of the past that shaped it, and that includes the musical innovations the Wham members embodied.

With Wham, the upbeat tunes of pop met funk’s sophisticated groove and R&B and soul’s smooth, emotive qualities. This was further enriched by George’s songwriting, which was marked by catchy melodies and evocative lyrics. On top of that, the backing vocals and instrumentals added by Andrew in Wham added further depth to each track. 

The result? Complex, emotional themes and unique musical quirks come alive in energetic, danceable tracks.

In terms of production, the Wham members often embraced and adopted new production techniques to keep their sound fresh. Their use of synthesisers and drum machines set trends in the music-making process and pushed the boundaries of how people saw and made pop music. 


They captured the spirit of the 80s

From flashy and intricate narrative music videos that contributed to the medium’s boom to their flamboyant moves and fashion choices, everything about the Wham members screamed the 80s.

However, the way the Wham members embodied the spirit of the era goes deeper than just the image they put out. The 1980s were all about being bold, and you can see it manifest in two ends: the electric, funky glamour and the unapologetic and revolutionary social consciousness. Wham’s music was in tune with both. 

Their feel-good music, like ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ and ‘Everything She Wants,’ epitomised the exuberant and vibrant energy one imagines when one thinks about that period. But beyond the glitter, their music had depth.

The first album, particularly Fantastic, has tracks that exude anti-capitalist joy,  generational angst, rebellion, and the anxieties and dreams the youth were facing. The two Wham group members even performed at a benefit concert for the striking miners of the UK – a brave, groundbreaking move for two performers at the height of their careers at the time. 

Many pop cultural moments and contributions have gone on to define the zeitgeist of this era, and Wham was definitely among them. 


They epitomised international stardom

Wham may have started in the clubs of London, but the reach of their pop stardom went much farther than that. In fact, in 1985, ‘Careless Whisper’ and ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ peaked at #1 and #3, respectively, on the US Billboard charts. 

They didn’t stop at the West, though. In the same year, they became the first Western pop act to perform in China. This underscored the ability of music to transcend geopolitical boundaries and was a spark that led to their becoming household names known across cultures and generations. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why did Wham break up?

Are you looking up queries like ‘reason for George Michael Wham split’? Well, in terms of what happened to George Michael and how it led to the Wham members splitting up, it was all about creative differences. Wham had a mostly teenage audience, and George wanted to evolve beyond songs made for youth. 


So, after the Wham members went their separate ways, he pursued his solo music career and created hits for older audiences.

The split at the peak of their popularity still has some fans wondering, ‘Did George Michael and Andrew stay friends?’ Despite the abrupt breakup, the answer is yes. In fact, George even remarked, ‘I think it should be the most amicable split in pop history.’


What did Andrew Ridgeley do after Wham?

Shortly after Wham, Andrew ventured into other pursuits beyond music. He briefly tried his hand at Formula Three motor racing in Monaco and moved to Los Angeles for a while to try acting. 

That’s not to say that Wham was the end of his music-making career. In 1990, he released his only solo album, Son of Albert. He also rejoined George on stage in Rio de Janeiro for a few songs at the encore of a Rock in Rio event.

Curious about his personal life and searching terms like ‘Andrew Ridgeley wife’, ‘Andrew Ridgeley son’, and ‘Andrew Ridgeley children’? While Andrew never married or had kids of his own, he had a 27-year relationship with Bananarama member Keren Woodward and raised her son with her in Cornwall.


What is Andrew Ridgeley doing now?

While Andrew has mostly kept a low profile, he has made a few Wham-related projects and appearances in recent years. 

He had a cameo role in Last Christmas, a 2019 holiday film that took inspiration from George Michael’s discography, including Wham’s hit that the movie was named after. In the same year, Andrew also published his memoir, Wham! George & Me.

In 2023, seven years after George Michael passed away and joined the many late musical greats in what we fondly call R’n’R Heaven, Andrew had the honour of inducting him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Get into the retro groove

Love grooving to the timeless beats of the retro era’s greatest hits? Here at Jukebox Saturday Night, we’re all about celebrating yesteryear’s best tunes! We put a face to the musical icons that shaped the sounds of retro music by airing never-before-seen music video clips from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.

At the heart of Jukebox Saturday Night is our passion for timeless tracks and our love for paying tribute to musical greats, like Poison Ivy Rorschach.

Turn up the nostalgia and catch us on Foxtel, Aurora Channel 173, from 7.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. on Saturday nights and again on Sunday nights at 9.00 p.m. and Tuesday nights at 9.30 p.m. We even keep a library of viewer requests, so keep an eye out; you might even see your favourite legend on screen!

Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and entertainment purposes only. While we strive for accuracy, music history is often based on available documentation and interpretation.

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