The Story Of The Wham! Stopping Paul McCartney From Going Number 1
The majority of music enthusiasts would not mistake Paul McCartney for the Wham!. The Macca and The Beatles declined an offer of $250 million to reunite during the 1970s, and it’s highly unlikely that Wham! ever considered such a lucrative deal for a reunion.
Nevertheless, there are certain resemblances between these two musicians. Although both enjoyed success, there was a brief period in 1984 when a Wham! Song prevented McCartney from reaching the top spot on the charts.
The Wham! Song ‘Freedom’ Kept McCartney From Going to No. 1 on the Charts
McCartney experienced great success as a solo artist during the 1980s with several of his songs achieving remarkable popularity. Among these hits were “Coming Up,” a captivating blend of disco and new-wave genres, his collaborative effort with Stevie Wonder titled “Ebony and Ivory,” and “Say Say Say,” an outstanding track featuring the vocals of Michael Jackson.
McCartney expanded his horizons into the film industry with Give My Regards to Broad Street. In 1984, he took on the roles of a writer, producer, and lead actor in the movie. As expected, McCartney also composed the soundtrack.
Unfortunately, the entire undertaking turned out to be a catastrophe, except for one positive aspect. David Gilmour from Pink Floyd contributed some positivity by playing the guitar on the song “No More Lonely Nights.” This was arguably the sole highlight from both the film and its accompanying soundtrack.
The ballad rendition of “No More Lonely Nights” showcases Gilmour’s distinctive guitar skills and his recognizable sound. His involvement brings a certain intensity and heightened sentiment to the heartfelt romantic track.
The audience showed a positive reaction to the song, but Wham! prevented McCartney from reaching the number one position with their hit track “No More Lonely Nights.” On October 21, 1984, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley’s song “Freedom” claimed the top spot on the charts in England.
Meanwhile, McCartney’s tune reached its highest position at number two, as Wham! maintained their dominance. According to the Official Charts Company, “No More Lonely Nights” remained in the top five for a few additional weeks before gradually descending.
Chart-Topping Success in the 80s
Despite McCartney’s experience in achieving chart-topping success with The Beatles, Wings, and as a solo performer, Wham! proved unstoppable in late 1984. Their songs “Freedom” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” reached the number one spot, while “Careless Whisper,” from their Make It Big album, became beloved by fans. Additionally, their song “Last Christmas” reached the second position on the charts in December 1984.
Wham! achieved two additional number-one hits in the UK in 1985 and 1986 before they eventually broke up. Essentially, Michael and Ridgeley were highly successful in dominating the music charts in their native country during the mid-1980s.
They surpassed established artists like Stevie Wonder, taking over the top position. They also managed to keep contemporary hitmakers like Culture Club from reaching the number one spot. Breaking free from their dominant hold on the charts proved to be a difficult task for everyone, not just McCartney.
Despite this, McCartney harbored no grudges and collaborated with Michael on “Heal the Pain.” The song reached No. 31 in the UK charts in 1991, and they performed it together at Live 8 in July 2005.
It is noteworthy that both McCartney and Michael achieved comparable levels of individual success after departing from their respective bands.
According to Billboard, McCartney attained nine songs that reached the top of the charts and an additional 14 songs that ranked within the top 10 in the United States. On the other hand, Michael achieved eight No. 1 hits, with “Faith” being his most successful, and seven more songs that made it to the top 10.
In England, Michael achieved greater success in his solo career after leaving the band Wham!, compared to McCartney’s solo career after the Beatles. According to the Official Charts Company, Michael had an impressive total of seven songs that reached No. 1 on the charts, along with an additional 16 songs that made it to the top 10 as a solo artist.
On the other hand, McCartney managed to reach the No. 1 spot on the charts with three songs, and he had 13 more songs that reached the top 10.