For the first time, Andrew Ridgeley—one half of one of the most famous bands in the world—tells the inside story of Wham!, his lifelong friendship with George Michael, and the formation of a band that changed the shape of the music scene in the early eighties.
In 1975 Andrew took a shy new boy at school under his wing. They instantly hit it off, and their boyhood escapades at Bushy Meads School built a bond that was never broken. The duo found themselves riding an astonishing roller coaster of success, taking them all over the world. They made and broke iconic records, they were treated like gods, but they stayed true to their friendship and ultimately to themselves. It was a party that seemed as if it would never end. And then it did, in front of tens of thousands of tearful fans at Wembley Stadium in 1986.
Andrew’s memoir covers in wonderful detail those years, up until that last iconic concert: the scrapes, the laughs, the relationships, the good, and the bad. It’s a unique and one-and-only time to remember that era, that band, and those boys.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
Andrew Ridgeley is a musician and record producer best known for his part in Wham!. He lives in England.
Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1: Decisions, Decisions
We were the best of friends, and two sides of the same coin. Georgios Panayiotou was a studious and shy, broccoli-haired sixteen-year-old with a muffin-top waistline and a wardrobe full of questionable outfits. I, on the other hand, was self-assured and outgoing. A bright spark, but not so clever; a smart alec mischief-maker dressed in a charity-shop mohair suit and parka jacket, swerving studies for my A-levels in a school that had bored me to tears. But the pair of us were joined at the hip through a shared love of music, Monty Python sketches and our juvenile humour. And then I made the decision that would change both our lives forever.
Yog, we’re forming a band . . .
For the best part of two years, it had been all I’d thought about, and having spent so much time in each other’s pockets at school, there was only one person I wanted to play music with: the boy set to become George Michael. He had great rhythm and feel, an outstanding sense of melody and he was an even better singer. During our early friendship we’d idolised the same bands and artists, a wide variety of music from favourites like Queen to new sounds from the likes of Manchester’s Joy Division. By 1979, we were into ska, a very modern British take on reggae that mixed Caribbean grooves with jagged guitars. Bands such as The Specials, Madness, The Beat and Steel Pulse had captured our imaginations, not just musically but through their clothes, too. With a mod revival also under way following the release of the movie Quadrophenia, kids across England were suddenly dressing in sharp suits and Hush Puppies shoes. Buzz cuts were a cool choice at the hairdresser’s. Luckily my life in suburban Hertfordshire was as tuned in to the scene as the kids clubbing in London or Birmingham. Music was something I wanted to be a part of.
‘But, Andy,’ said Yog when I called him after school, ‘I want to, but I can’t . . .’
There were some mumbled excuses about A-level pressure and the unforgiving mood of his parents, who seemed eager to protect him from any further distractions – like me. However, I wasn’t about to be deterred. I’d set my heart on this course of action and I wasn’t about to let Yog’s concerns about his mum and dad thwart it.
‘No, it’s now or never,’ I told him. ‘We’re forming a band today.’
Yog knew I could be single minded, especially once my mind was set on something. He also understood that I wasn’t actually asking him, I was telling him. Sensing that I wasn’t about to give up, his resistance fizzled away.
“OK, Andy,’ he said, taking a deep breath. ‘Let’s do it.’
Yog was in. Now I had something to be excited about, a goal to achieve – a purpose. As far as I was concerned, there was nothing we couldn’t do and nobody that would stand in our way. Our friendship was invincible, and to my mind chart success awaited. I had no idea what that success would actually mean, but I could feel it. I knew it. What eventually took place was more spectacular than I could ever have imagined . . .
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Long Goodbye 1
Part 1 Young Guns 21
1 Decisions, Decisions 23
2 The New Boy 27
3 Parallel Lines 41
4 Teenage Kicks 57
5 Girls! Girls! Girls! 71
6 Rude(Ish) Boys 85
7 One Step Beyond 97
8 Melody Makers 107
9 Wham! Bam! (I Am! A Man!) 117
10 The Edge of Heaven 131
11 Becoming George 147
12 Party Nights and Neon Lights 163
Part 2 Making It Big! 173
13 Freedom 175
14 Revelations 189
15 Soul Boy (Let's Hit The Town) 199
16 The Teenage Fan Club 207
17 Fun and Games 223
18 Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow 241
19 Feeding the World 251
20 The Clothes Show 259
21 Orient Excess 267
22 Come Together 281
23 The End of a Party 299
24 How Not To Be a Pop Star 311
25 You Have Been Loved 327
Picture Credits 345