In 1982 I was introduced to a new band by an acquaintance named Lance. He lived in a house that my father had built on King’s Flats outside of Central City, Colorado. Lance had a mohawk and wore a leather jacket. Although he drove a sweet black Mustang, he also occasionally road the bus. It was on one of those occasions that Lance brought his walkman. It was the first I had heard of Wham! and of course the first I heard them as well. I never knew the name of the cassette, only that it was by Wham!
Years later and after I moved to Florida, Wham! released Make It Big which spawned Careless Whisper. It was after buying their second release, that I looked for and found their first to add to my collection.
Long before George Michael came out, he and Andrew Ridgeley sang about being Bad Boys:
Boys like you, are bad through and through.
Still, girls like me, always seem to be with you….
We can’t help but worry,
You’re in such a hurry,
Mixing with the wrong boys,
Playing with the wrong toys.
And late nights,
Cigarettes, and love bites
Why do you have to be so cruel?
YOU’RE SUCH A FOOL
One of my favorite tracks from Fantastic is Wham Rap. A very danceable and enjoyable “white” rap about being unemployed. The song came back to the dance floors in 1986 after Careless Whisper had opened their audience up to mainstream American radio.
A lesser known track is Ray Sunshine another bass-line driven title (it even says so in the lyrics). I often wake up in the morning with a bass-line in my head, sometimes it’s this one. I particularly like the use of the background singers to offset George’s higher register.
One surprise to me was a remake of Love Machine which was originally made popular by The Miracles. Here on this cover, Wham bring back the rough background growling with a the driving sound of synth drum and bass.
If you loved Wham! in the day, but never experienced this album pick it up from iTunes or your favorite retailer. Now I’ve got to…
Get, get, get on down,
Gonna, get, get, get on down,
Hey everybody take a look at me,
I’ve got street credibility,
I may not have a job,
But I have a good time,
With the boys that I meet “down on the line”
I DON’T NEED YOU
So you don’t approve,
Well, who asked you to?
HEY, JERK YOU WORK
This guy’s got better things to do
I ain’t never gonna work, get down in the dirt
I choose, to cruise
Gonna live my life, sharp as a knife
I’ve found my groove and I just can’t lose
I’m style from head to toe
Cool cat flash gonna let you know
I’m a soul boy – I’m a dole boy –
Take pleasure in leisure, I believe in joy!