Wham! 2023 Movie Review
First off, I’m not & never have been a Wham fan, tho my younger sister was, and they were a big thing among girls when I was a teenager in the 1980’s.
I was into punk/new wave and early goth stuff at the time, however some disco stuff was brilliant & when we went to discos the first two Wham singles were fun to bop about to- they sounded like the CHIC Productions (Good Times,Lost in Music,We are Family, etc) to me…
Uncannily, John Peel played their first few singles on his late night show , and that’s where I first heard them. (JohnPeel: ‘…and the first person to write in and say ‘you shouldn’t have played that, you should have played the UK Subs instead’ will be turned into a toad. You’ve been warned!’) This documentary doesn’t mention that Peel played their tune (& later Last Christmas), though it does have an extract of him talking about their Club Tropicana single… despairingly.
The great strength of the documentary is that it is almost all just George/Yod & his best mate Andrew discussing their careers from the pre-band inception to their last concert. It features loads of great footage of the times. People had so much more hair in the 1980’s.
Watching this it was impossible not to be impressed with Georges incredible & androgynous voice, and how superbly it is recorded/produced on the records. He was certainly a talented songwriter & singer although I find much of his work rather too insipid & cliched for my tastes… & often overtly derivative- but hey- everyone was ripping off MOTOWN beats, including the JAM with a Town called Malice (*1), Elvis Costello (a whole lp-Get Happy) and the Teardrop Explodes with Reward & You disappear from view…Culture Club… the Redskins…the list is vast, lol.
Anyways, even if you’re not a Wham fan this is an enjoyable portal into the past, especially with hindsight of Georges later shenanigans & strange friendships with a real Princess,queens & policemen. He always had a bit of the Village People about him.
In fact this documentary could easily have been another half an hour longer, and benefited if it had included more views from old bandmates ( for example-none of the 3 girls who backed them are interviewed) & their contemporaries . All we see are a few very brief interviews with their famous manager,a handful of others including Elton John, & some TV interviewers addressing the duo.