Wham! was one of the most iconic bands of the 1980s, with their Christmas hit Last Christmas ringing around the world every festive season. The band had just two members: Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael, the latter of whom sadly died on Christmas Day 2016. Now, Ridgeley has opened up about the whirlwind time of Wham! and his famous fellow band member.
Who is Andrew Ridgeley?
Andrew Ridgeley is a singer, songwriter and producer best known for his work alongside George Michael in Wham!
He was born in Surrey on January 26, 1965, and is of Italian, Scottish and Egyptian descent.
His family moved to Bushey, Hertfordshire, where he attended Bushey Meads School and met George Michael, who enrolled at the school.
Andrew Ridgeley speaks about his life in Wham! and with George Michael
According to one source, Ridgeley took Michael under his wing, and the pair started up a ska group, Executive, before they formed Wham!
After recording a homemade demo in Ridgeley’s living room, the pair signed with Innervision Records, before moving to Epic Records after their first album and some legal disputes with Innervision.
Ridgeley, according to People magazine, became known for his partying antics, to such extent that he was dubbed “Animal Andy” by British papers.
He was also regularly featured in the paper and notably reported to have been asked to leave a post-Live Aid party for being too wild.
But post-Wham!, Ridgeley moved to Monaco to race in Formula Three, but then moved to LA to pursue acting.
Following this, he returned to London and released a solo album, Son of Albert in May 1990.
This album was very different from his Wham! days, but sadly it did not sell as well as he had hoped, and prompted him to step away from music for a while.
Ridgeley went on to work with various charities and lives in Wadebridge, Cornwall.
George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley in Wham!
Ridgeley was in a long term relationship with Bananarama singer Keren Woodward, but the couple split in November 2017.
They were together for 25 years before their split, and she subsequently moved to London with her son from a previous relationship.
What is Andrew Ridgeley’s new book about?
Ridgeley has written a tell-all memoir about his time in Wham!, entitled Wham! George and Me.
Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael performing as Wham!
The official synopsis from Amazon reads: “For the first time, Andrew Ridgeley – one half of one of the most famous bands in the world – tells the inside story of Wham! and his life-long friendship with George Michael.
“It is 1975, Watford, and two teenagers, George and Andrew, meet for the first time.
“Bonding over their love for singing, songwriting and pop music, together they set out to follow an impossible dream.
“They didn’t know it then, but they were taking their first steps towards forming Wham!, a band that was to become one of the biggest in the world.
Andrew Ridgeley with former partner Keren Woodward
“Wham! were the soundtrack of the 80s; whether it was choosing life or Live Aid, the decade of flamboyance and fun was a party that seemed like it would never end.
“But it had to stop somewhere – and that was in front of tens of thousands of tearful fans at Wembley Stadium in 1986.
“In Wham! George and Me, Andrew Ridgeley tells the story of Wham! – from the day they met to that iconic final concert.
“For the first time, he reveals what it was like being at the centre of a pop hurricane and talks of his love for and friendship with George. It’s a story only he can tell.”
Wham! George and Me is out now