Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Wham! - Make It Big (1984)


NUMBER ONE ALBUMS, 1976-85 WEEK* (MAY 5-11, 2014)

I really enjoy this British blue-eyed soul music and I can't argue that George Michael wrote some great songs here, but I couldn't really buy this album back in the '80s because, in my mind, I saw it as a chick album.  Admittedly, that was a mistake on my part, particularly since I love the song Everything She Wants so much (see below).  Most of the tunes are completely derivative of the Motown sound, but the hooks are so good that I don't mind.  Michael takes care of business not only as a songwriter and producer, but he's got a voice that perfectly suits his material.

And now I can't get the sax lick from Careless Whisper outta my head.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #1 (3 weeks, March 2 - 16, 1985)
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #1 (4 consecutive weeks)

Tracks:  Half the album charted and I like all these singles:

 U.S. charted singles: Pop DanceACR&B
 Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go 1274
 Careless Whisper 1
18
 Freedom3
4
 Everything She Wants17412

Of the other songs, I enjoy the laid-back groove of Like A Baby and while the cover of the Isley Brothers song If You Were There isn't too imaginative, it sure fits perfectly on this album.  And only in the '80s could we have a song titled Credit Card Baby.  The only skippable track is the Spector-via-Springsteen wannabe, Heartbeat.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  Everything She Wants is my favorite Wham! song not only because it's a great song, but because I thought I was living the lyrics at the same time the song was peaking at the top spot on the pop charts. I probably wasn't anywhere to close to living those lyrics, but to an 18-year-old drama queen, it sure seemed that way at the time.

Bonus: Everything She Wants is also enjoyed in the house on the Non-Stop-Pop radio station on Grand Theft Auto V.





*Two weeks ago on another blog (My Favorite Decade, 1976-1985), I asked myself if I owned all of the #1 albums from that particular decade. It turned out that I wasn't anywhere close to owning them all and, embarrassed, went on a CD shopping spree to rectify the situation.  With most of these #1 albums, I am hearing them complete for the first time this week.

2 comments:

  1. My name is HERC and I am a Wham fan. This is my story. (previously told here.)

    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.

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    1. Fantastic! is not available on Spotify but you can hear it in full HERE.

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