Song Of The Week - Wham - Freedom
Pride, released in the UK this week, boats a brilliant ‘80s soundtrack, and who better represents that era of striking miners and gay activists than the mighty Wham?
Before he was one of Britain’s most respected songwriters and solo performers, George Michael was part of this legendary pop duo in which one boy sang the songs and wrote the songs, and the other one pretended to play guitar and danced pretty. Nonetheless they produced some of the greatest British pop moments of the decade, becoming so huge in the process they opened China up for western pop and staged their farewell show at Wembley Stadium (supported by none other than Gary Glitter – less said about that the better.)
Back in 1985 at the height of the miners’ strike, Wham was involved in a series of gigs that took place at London’s Royal Festival Hall. The diverse five night stand ranged from the likes of Alexie Sayle and the late Rik Mayall, to Paul Weller and The Style Council, Loudon Wainwright III and, somewhat incongruously, Wham. George and Andrew (with backing singers Pepsi and Shirley) cavorted around stage in their tight shorts and “Chose Life” T shirts, appearing to mime to backing tracks, a decided change from the rest of the right-on keeping it real types on the rest of the week’s bill. This was made more evident when the backing track broke down. Boos were quickly heard, to which George replied “If you think that’s what this is all about then you’re not here for the right reasons…” (we’re paraphrasing slightly.) At which point the tape was fixed, the boys danced on and it was another one in the eye for Maggie Thatcher.
On that night Wham’s heart was clearly in the right place – just like that of Pride.
This clip below features the lads back on Top Of The Pops in their prime, proving that miners or no miners – boy, could these guys mime!
Movie wise, of course, Freedom is not the only song from the wonderful Wham back catalogue to have soundtracked a significant moment on screen – one has only to think of the words “Orange Mocha Frappuccino” and the tragic impact Wake Me Up Before You Go Go had on the life of Derek Zoolander.
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