YouTube Music Video Classics: Wham!

Cover of 'Make It Big'
Cover of ‘Make It Big’

The style of the ’80s

By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist

Last month, George Michael passed away on Christmas Day in his cottage home. While many people will know him for his solo work, he is also famous for being in the group Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley, which set the standard in British pop music. Here are some of the group’s greatest music videos. Throughout the videos, watch carefully for the members of the band, especially for two of their backup singers. Rest in peace George Michael.

Wham! Rap

The group’s first hit single from their debut album Fantastic shot them to stardom. In the video, Michael visits Ridgeley in his parents’ house and he tells him to explore the world outside his front door. We see references of the duo’s neighborhood of London in the ’80s. The first few seconds of the music video look like a British version of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The song is one that you could dance to, and the music video is also the beginning of a long journey for the group.

Club Tropicana

In the video, Michael, Ridgeley, and two of their backup singers are part of a flight crew, and we see them off-duty in a sunny destination. We see classic shots of the group showering under a waterfall. We even see Ridgeley using a cellphone in the ’80s. The video really shows the fun of a sunny destination.

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

The music video of the group’s most famous song from their second album Make It Big has a lot of interesting things in it. We see the group performing in front of enthusiastic fans wearing the famous “choose life” shirts. There is a lot of dancing in the music video, as well as glow-in-the-dark scenes in the second half. Jimmy Kimmel and James Corden parodied this video during the Emmy Awards last year. The song sounds optimistic, which is one of the reasons to “choose life.”


The interesting thing about the group is that they were the first western group to perform in China, in 1985. This is as big as when The Beatles performed in the Budokan arena in Japan in 1966. The trip is documented in this music video. There is a lot of nostalgia for China in the ’80s, and we see interesting martial arts. When we see the group perform, we see a lot of people in the audience who are excited and dancing to Wham!’s music. The song should not be mistaken with the song that Michael made during his solo career.

Last Christmas

You likely heard this song a lot during the holiday season and its music video shows what Christmas in the ’80s looked like. The group and their band spend a weekend in a cabin in a mountain resort, and Michael gets very close to one of the people in their band, even though he is very close to one of their backup singers. The music video shows Wham! decorating, having dinner, and playing in the snow. There are some scenes in it that are very typical for music videos of songs made in the ’80s. Surprisingly and tragically, last Christmas was George Michael’s last Christmas.