Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wham! - Fantastic (30th anniversary)

Today (July 9th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Fantastic, the debut album from the boys from Wham! (Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael).

For the full details of my review of this album, one which I played a ton over the 80's, click here.


HERC said...

Everyone else commented on your earlier review so I'll jump in here.

My name is HERC and I am a Wham fan. This is my story.

One day on the way home from school near the Christmas break, I bought two promo 12" singles ("Wham Rap" and "Young Guns") for $2 from Al Bum's in Decmeber 1982. Had no idea who they were or what they sounded like, both records came in plain black sleeves - it was an impulse buy. They were at front of "Just In" rack and I had two bucks and change. Didn't even listen to them for at least a week or two - pretty sure they sat on top of record shelf through the Christmas holiday that year.

But over Christmas break, my girlfriend had seen a video ("Young Guns") by Wham and was smitten. She bought posters from Spencer's in the mall and a few magazines (Tiger Beat, 16) that featured pics of the boys and soon the walls of her bedroom were covered with George and Andrew. I remembered I had those records so I finally gave them a listen and then presented them to her, as if that was my intention all along. Two more Wham promo 12" singles ("Bad Boys" and "Club Tropicana") came into my possession via Al Bum's and soon they were in her collection. By the time the album Fantastic came out though, we had broken up. I bought it anyway as I had grown to love the lightweight funk they were peddlin'. No small coincidence that my next two girlfriends, one of whom celebrates her birthday on July 9th and one who became MRS. HERC, were Wham fans as well.

Continued to buy the 12" singles as I came across them although the stream of promos at Al Bum's dried up, there were plenty of commercial 12" releases to be had, both domestic and import. Wham's next album (Make It Big) put them over the top all around the world but it was their last album ( Music from the Edge of Heaven)as a duo that features my two favorite Wham songs: "I'm Your Man" and "The Edge Of Heaven".

Have continued to purchase George Michael's recorded product, even all the compilations. Saddens me every time I read about one of his "personal tragedies" but like the man sang "you gotta have faith, faith, faith."

Fantastic was featured as Classic Pop magazine's Classic Album in issue #5. Among the many facts I learned from the story and accompanying sidebars:

1) After their four song demo was rejected by every major label, Mark Dean - credited with discovering both Soft Cell and ABC - signed Wham to his new label, Inner Vision.

2) Backup singer and dancer Shirlie Holliman went on to form popular UK duo of her own with fellow backup singer/dancer Helen "Pepsi" DeMacque: Pepsi and Shirlie. She is currently married to bassist Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet.

3) Pepsi's predecessor in Wham was Dee C Lee, who joined The Style Council, later marrying that band's leader, Paul Weller and starting a family.

4) "Careless Whisper" the sax-driven break-up song that was included on their original four song demo failed to make their debut album as they went with all uptempo tracks.

5) Legal disputes with their label kept them out of the studio, unable to record new material for nearly a year.

Thanks for another stroll down memory lane, Martin.

Martin Maenza said...

Herc, thanks. Some of those facts I definitely knew but others were new. Sounds like we both have a lot of favorite Wham songs in common.