In the 1980s Whispers had quite a bit to do with George Michael. Working for Wham's then manager Simon Napier-Bell (pictured above left) we filled the UK media with endless tales, sometimes they were true and often concocted but always, always harmless. In fact we named this column in honour of Michael's much loved song Careless Whispers.
In 1985 Whispers traveled to China when Napier-Nell pulled off the most extraordinary feat and convinced the Politburo that Wham should be the first foreign pop/rock band to perform there. It was a surreal experience after European concerts where fans went berserk over any Wham song while in China, each song was accompanied by polite claps from the audience who were made up of youngsters from the emerging middle-class.
Simon later recorded his efforts in getting Wham to China in a fascinating book I'm Coming To Take You to Lunch.
George was the intellectual of the duo while Andrew Ridgley was the fun guy and together they were a perfect compliment for each other. When Wham finally split the pair remained firm friends as did both with Simon Napier-Bell. Indeed the last time we say George Michael was when he was staying at Napier-Bell's Thailand villa a few years ago while yet another media controversy raged over a London car incident.
George Michael was a superstar in the true sense and probably one of the world's greatest writers of pop songs. In person he was self effacing, friendly and shy but underneath, a troubled soul who was just pulling his life together following the death of his long-time partner and various bouts of drug abuse. He will be missed.