[1] Wham!, ‘Freedom’

We’ve established that I was a low-key Duranie. Revisionist history always has it that pop from ’82 to ’84 was all about Duran Duran vs Spandau Ballet*. Rubbish. The world was fought over by Duran Duran and Culture Club. As a consequence I hated Culture Club, even though these days I can listen to one or two singles and always enjoy a crass and bitchy Boy George innuendo.

‘Freedom’ killed Culture Club. There was a blaze of publicity for CC’s return, but ‘The War Song’, released the same week as ‘Freedom’, just couldn’t cope with Wham!’s sales juggernaut and was pulverised**. A swift fall down the chart was assured, and next single ‘The Medal Song’ peaked at No.32. Disastrous.

This is No.1 for other reasons, naturally. It’s a perfect pop Motown pastiche, for one, and the guitars and horns go mad at the end, for another. It was all very easy for George. Time after time, he was releasing vinyl joy.

Junior got into the record by standing on her dad’s lap, clapping and trying to eat his hands. By the last chorus, she was trying to eat her own feet. We’d reached the edge of elevenses.

*Spandau Ballet were irredeemably awful. No exception. Ok, except maybe that winningly hackneyed saxophone solo in ‘True’, weirdly.

**It’s incidental that ‘The War Song’ was useless anyway.

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