Wham! – The edge of heaven
It’s never easy to say goodbye. Sometimes people don’t even know that they are saying goodbye, and they close with a standard greeting a moment that will remain forever in their lives. In other cases you understand it might be the last time, but hope for the best anyway. Then, of course, there are also those who leave in a big way. In the 80s we saw several goodbyes in music, also several reunions. But in one case we saw such a big goodbye, that it had to be absolutely final. I’m of course talking about the two guys who became huge icons of the 80s, Wham! (always with the exclamation mark).
Perhaps things had already changed at the beginning of 1985, after the great success of “Make it big”, “Wake me up before you go-go” and “Last Christmas“. 1985 was the year of their great tour with a visit and concert to China, and at the end of the tour George Michael began to change in looks and attitudes, for example growing a beard.
Then also for Wham! the moment of truth came, the day of judgment of the 80s. On July 13, 1985, as we know, Live Aid split the 80s in two. Many big stars showed signs of time and began a slow decline, others knew how to emerge and firmly took the scene. Wham! were present, but they didn’t sing together. George Michael sang “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” with Elton John, while Andrew Ridgeley adapted to a backing voice and comprimary role.
George Michael’s aspirations for a different career became clear, with songs that no longer spoke to the world of pastel-colored teenagers, but reflected the history and feelings of a mature artist.
Wham! decided to split, and to do so in great style. They announced it in early 1986, and decided that they would still give fans one last single, one last album, and above all one last fantastic concert.
And we arrive at the last day of May 1986, when “The Final” comes out. Everything was already defined, and on June 18, 1986, they also released their last single and video, “The Edge of Heaven”, which of course immediately topped the charts.
And in about ten days everything was completed, and they performed at the fantastic farewell concert on Saturday 28 June 1986, in a Wembley stadium obviously full, over seventy-two thousand people for a massive event, more than eight hours with many supporting artists.
On that Saturday the story of Wham! came to an end. Actually, in some special moments Andrew and George sang together again, but they never reunited to create new music. George was resolute in pursuing his solo career, Andrew was still satisfied with the epic golden years, and dedicated himself to some hobbies including rally driving, and then he retired in Cornwall with his girlfriend… and we know her, Bananarama’s Keren Woodward.
Wham! really kissed farewell in a big way. Artistically different, George and Andrew remained very close and in the decades to come there was no sign of any discussion or problem between them. And this also helped make the name Wham! one of the purest and most beautiful of the 80s.
Wham! on Wikipedia