Theme Song: This is a videocassette full of videos, so there is no direct theme song, but rather a selection of seven.
My mom and my sister fucking loved Wham! to no end. They each had a copy of Make It Big and on certain days they would play their records at the same time, but not in sync with each other. My mom would be downstairs and my sister upstairs and my room was in the middle resulting in some of the most psychedelic phasing I’ve been unable to ever replicate. It was totally disorienting and is probably why I wanted to get into hallucinogenic drugs and nitrous as soon as possible.
Interesting Dated References: The very brief global domination of Wham!.
Best Line: George Michael is a strong singer. His voice is strong. I’m not sure what the other Gene Ween-looking guy was doing in the band, though, other than hopping around a lot with a guitar.
Social Context: 12-year-old girls and unhappily married women around the world demanded more Wham! media. The burgeoning home video market was as good a place as any to cash in.
On this tape we have videos for “Wham Rap,” “Bad Boys,” “Club Tropicana,” “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” “Careless Whisper,” “Last Christmas,” and “Everything She Wants.” No introductions, special bonus footage, interactive menus, or value-added content. Just the videos, one after another, until they’re done.
Summary: I guess I either didn’t know or didn’t care that prior to Make It Big, Wham! had an album that was considered European dance protest music. Apparently the two leather-clad young men were capturing the strife and struggles of England in easily digestible, dance song format.
I also did not know about this terrible song called “Wham Rap” until just now. This is pre-Americanized Wham! and it shows. Things don’t really get good until “Club Tropicana,” which is apparently a socio-political satire song while still managing to sound like a super coked-out Steely Dan outtake in double-time.
You have to give George Michael some credit. For all his fashion sense and sex appeal, he sure as shit never shaved or even trimmed down his thighs throughout the 80s.
Then there’s the video for “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” which has been analyzed enough by the world so I’m not even going to talk about it.
Do you remember how in 1988 my mom took away all my Dead Milkmen tapes? I had transcribed the lyrics to “Sri Lanka Sex Hotel” onto a piece of paper and put it in my desk. She found it, got upset, and gave me this long speech about morals and how I shouldn’t pollute my mind with filth. I think I was in 4th grade, so the reaction to finding a piece of paper that reads, “Let’s burn it down, and knock it over; let’s have sex with it, or leave it alone,” seems justified. However it was no less than two weeks later she and my sister are blaring “I Want Your Sex (Parts I & II)” non-stop. I vividly remember they were singing along to it the car and when I pointed out it wasn’t fair to take my tapes away, my mom made up some bullshit about the George Michael song being a “celebration” and not obscene. Like a 4th grader is going to be able to argue with that. That shit was so unfair.
The good thing about the compilation is that it’s chronological so you can watch George Michael’s hair get more and more out of control. The hair is pretty tame in the early videos, but by the time you get to “Careless Whisper” and then “Last Christmas” it has nearly tripled in size.
And by the time you get to “Everything She Wants,” his hair has transformed into some type of matte-finish plastic shell.
Poster and Box Art: More alternate shots from the “Make It Big” sessions, credited to famous British photographer Tony McGee.
Availability: Used VHS on EBay for bargain prices.