Wham! were a British duo formed in 1981 by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. They were briefly known in the United States as Wham! UK because of a naming conflict with another existing U.S. band.
Wham! sold 25 million certified records from 1982 to 1986.
Michael and Ridgeley met at Bushey Meads Comprehensive School in Bushey near the suburb of Watford in Hertfordshire, England, UK. At first they performed in a short-lived ska band called The Executive, alongside three of their former school friends David (Austin) Mortimer, Harry Tadayon and Andrew Leaver. When this group split, Michael and Ridgeley eventually formed Wham!, signing with Innervision Records, a contract they later sued to be released from. Once that situation was resolved, they signed with CBS (Columbia Records in the United States and Canada, and Epic Records for the rest of the world).
Michael took on the majority of roles and responsibilities within the band—composer, producer, singer, and occasional instrumentalist—but the contribution of Ridgeley as the group's image specialist and spokesman was crucial to the band's initial success. Ridgeley convinced a reluctant George Michael that Wham! needed to change...