Young George Michael, 21, surprises Terry Wogan with wise and articulate interview answers

19 October 2020, 17:20 | Updated: 23 November 2020, 16:42

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley appeared on BBC TV show Wogan in 1984
George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley appeared on BBC TV show Wogan in 1984. Picture: BBC/Wogan

By Giorgina Hamilton

The Wham! pin-up was appearing on Terry Wogan's TV show when he surprised the host with his articulate interview responses.

A video clip of a TV interview with a 21-year-old George Michael shows just how eloquent the star was from an early age.

Appearing on Wogan in 1984, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley sat side-by-side on stage as the legendary TV host grilled them on their huge success with Wham!.

QUIZ: How well do you know Wham! song lyrics?

What producers probably thought would be a easy-going fluff piece turned into a far more interesting interview, when the young George Michael gave enlightening and surprising in-depth answers about the band's fame and their legions of fans.

"Are you happy with being famous, with being recognised, with teenagers screaming at you. Do you like that aspect of it?" Terry Wogan asks the young pair.

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Appearing on Wogan in 1984, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley sat side-by-side on stage as the legendary TV host grilled them on their huge success with Wham!.
Appearing on Wogan in 1984, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley sat side-by-side on stage as the legendary TV host grilled them on their huge success with Wham!. Picture: BBC/Wogan
The TV interview with a 21-year-old George Michael shows just how eloquent the star was from an early age.
The TV interview with a 21-year-old George Michael shows just how eloquent the star was from an early age. Picture: BBC/Wogan

George pauses, before answering: "I think everything is relative really. For every high there is a low, I suppose. I think if we weren’t happy we wouldn’t be doing it and we wouldn’t be trying to achieve more."

See more: 19-year-old George Michael's phenomenal first TV appearance with Wham! - watch video

Wogan then went on to ask Andrew about his much publicised nose job, saying: “It’s not often people in popular music to own up to having their nose straightened," adding, "you haven’t been that liked by the critics, why do you think that is?"

“It’s because we do own up to everything we do," George replied.

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"We are really honest about how we market ourselves and we are probably the only band at the moment who are totally unashamed of being screamed at," he says.

"We do everything that everyone else does, it’s just everyone else is very subtle at the way of camouflaging themselves. We just think it’s not insulting your public by being honest and telling them you’re doing it, because they enjoy it just the same. Marketing is marketing and image is image, no-one thinks that’s really us.

See more: Astonishing night 'furious' Stevie Nicks was turned away from Wham! concert

The interview came just months after George Michael released his first solo single of Careless Whisper from Wham!'s Make It Big album in July 1084.
The interview came just months after George Michael released his first solo single of Careless Whisper from Wham!'s Make It Big album in July 1084. Picture: BBC/Wogan

See more: Forgotten photos of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley at the height of their Wham! fame

George looks across to Andrew before adding: "I think deep down no-one think we are what we portray ourselves to be in our videos or anything. But because we make it so obvious that we are mucking about I think we blow other people’s cover and it’s irritating to a lot of people."

When Wogan then asks Andrew what he will do when the fame fades, Ridgeley says he would like to "retire with grace", causing the host to say: "Won’t that be hard if you have enjoyed the extrovert behaviour and enjoying the adulation, how are you going to stop?"

See more: 21-year-old George Michael's duet of 'Careless Whisper' with Smokey Robinson is magnificent

George then launches into a thoughtful and articulate response regarding their own role in the music industry as a whole.

"I think actually there’s a general misconception that will pass over the next ten, fifteen years - if the music industry lasts that long - that the new wave of groups that are screamed at and made a lot of fuss about in the papers," he says, adding: "There is a basic difference between us the screams ten years ago."

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George spoke thoughtfully and articulately regarding Wham!'s own role in the music industry as pop stars.
George spoke thoughtfully and articulately regarding Wham!'s own role in the music industry as pop stars. Picture: BBC/Wogan

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"Funnily enough it seems to be the beginning of every decade you get the screamers and this decade there has been ourselves and three or four other groups, but this time the groups seems to be writing [music] for themselves.

"They seem to be much more in control of the situation than say, the Bay City Rollers in the early seventies or David Cassidy and the Osmonds, who were all being written for and when they became too old for their fans the song writers dropped them like hot bricks.

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"They didn’t want has-beens to do they songs, they wanted to make money out of them. So the artists themselves weren’t in control of their destinies, but a lot of the new ones are, so it’s actually going to be interesting to see how long everybody lasts,” he says, gesturing to Andrew.

"After this we can go into other things, if we get bored,” George smiles.

Read more: What is Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley up to now?

Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael of Wham! at the film premiere of 'Dune' in 1984.
Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael of Wham! at the film premiere of 'Dune' in 1984. Picture: Getty

"Are you jealous of his solo success?" Wogan suddenly asks Andrew, referring to George's recent release of 'Careless Whisper'.

"No, I feel like a big part of it and we did write the record together," Andrew says as before his bandmate steps in to stick up for him.

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"We wrote it years ago," George said firmly, bringing Terry's questioning to a halt.

The interview came just months after George Michael released his first solo single of 'Careless Whisper' from Wham!'s Make It Big album in July 1984.

As it had been written by Andrew and George when the pair were just teens, it was credited as Wham! featuring George Michael and the smash hit song went to number one in nearly 25 countries.

See more: Moment George Michael first locks eyes with ‘future soulmate’ in audience while singing Careless Whisper