About fifteen years ago, I was visiting my hometown outside of Los Angeles, tooling around with a couple of friends around the local colleges. I remember where we were because we were able to get excellent radio reception from the nearest school’s radio station. Anyway, we were listening to the end of the traditional hourly campus radio raga-indie-funk-chant mashup, when the DJ comes back on and says:
“That’s it for me. Coming up next…..” at which point my friend Amit blurts out: “All Wham! All Weekend!”
Needless to say, there was much cracking up to be had. But whereas your normal human being probably would have let that moment slip into the ether, Amit’s phrase has stuck with me through the years, to the point where (now that I have the potential to captivate the world with my awesome writing) I can actually make an all Wham! weekend a reality. And why wouldn’t I? Their best stuff stands out among the best of what has been forever snarkily branded as being “So ’80s!”, and George Michael is an important, quality artist in the history of popular music (or at least he was until the mid-’90s, but that’s best left for another series, possibly titled All Wasted Talent All Weekend).
Now, Wham’s! (or is it Wham!’s?) output wasn’t all that large: even with remixes, you couldn’t fill up a whole weekend with Wham! (oho! the power of alliteration entrances you, does it not?!). So the music featured here is going to be related to both Wham! and George Michael as a solo artist (Andrew Ridgeley’s single solo output, Son of Albert, was already covered by Jefito in this site’s previous incarnation, and you will all thank me for staying away from it). Also, I doubt you’d expect me to give you a whole 48 hours of music, do you? (Answer: No.) What I am going to give you are five posts to encompass the weekend: one for Friday night, and two each for the a.m. and p.m. hours of Saturday and Sunday. Each post revolves around a specific style or theme. Those are the “rules”: Pretty simple, huh?
Well then, bitches, let’s get this started!
Friday night is party night, so I’ve scoured my resources, and come up with eleven Wham!-related mashups to help you get a sweat going. There are a few more out there, but these are the best of the bunch as far as I’m concerned. I’ve tried to include the name of the remix master responsible for each mashup where it’s available. My favorite is probably the genius merging of the backing track of “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me” with Diana Ross’ vocals for “I’m Coming Out.” These songs are virtually interchangeable in their construction. Even the chord changes work perfectly, allowing for the entirety of each song to be joined together, instead of the just the main beat, or the backing track for a single verse. As an aside, I guess it’s not surprising that Narada Michael Walden would have one of his tunes match up so well with one written and produced by Chic — the Nile Rodgers and N.M. Walden “eras” of funk-pop did seem to flow directly into each other.
You’ll notice that the last one merely uses the backing track of a cover of a Wham! song. I’ve included it for two reasons. One, because “Last Christmas” is by far the most covered Wham! track (and enjoys a bizarre, possibly ironic, rabid following by a certain subset of the population–there’s even a Last Christmas blog that tries to collect all possible versions) and so if there’s going to be a cover mashup included it might as well be that one; and because I think the Jimmy Eat World’s backing track makes a nice contrast to the original, and especially, because it fits in so nicely with the Blur song. It works much better than the Jimmy Eat World cover, by itself, which is even more repetitive than the Wham! original, which I didn’t think was possible.
DJ Prince – Ceejay vs. Wham! vs. Michael Jackson – A Little Mashup Love
DJ Twombly – Wham! vs. Jay-Z – Christmas Encore
Aretha & George Michael vs. Diana Ross – I Knew I Was Coming Out
The Kleptones – Wham! vs. Bon Jovi – Careless or Dead
Soulwax – Missy Elliot vs. George Michael – Get Ur Faith On
DJ Earworm – Scissor Sisters vs. The Beatles vs. George Michael vs. Aretha Franklin – No One Takes Your Freedom
The Avalanches: Wham! vs. Digitalism – Ray of Zdarlight
Rihanna vs. Wham! – If It’s Faith That You Want
The Supremes vs. Wham! – Stop in the Name of Freedom
Apollo Zero – Robin Thicke vs. Wham! – Lost Without Careless Whispers
FaultSide – Blur vs. Jimmy Eat World – Miracle on Threadneedle Street
After this, I’m sure you’ll be ready to sleep in Saturday. But don’t get up too late, or you’ll miss some more Wham!-ified surprises.