Former Wham! manager shares insights into George Michael’s views on the enduring success of ‘Last Christmas.’
Simon Napier-Bell, the former manager of Wham!, offered a unique perspective on the iconic holiday song “Last Christmas” and its impact on the late George Michael. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Napier-Bell, 84, delved into his experiences with the pop duo from their start in 1981 until their split in 1986, highlighting Michael’s bittersweet relationship with the song.
Michael, who passed away on Christmas Day in 2016 at age 53, appreciated “Last Christmas” but was somewhat vexed by its perfection. “He recognized it as his best work, which somewhat irked him, especially given its seasonal nature,” Napier-Bell remarked.
“George yearned to be remembered as a profound songwriter, and the fact that his most flawless song was a Christmas track was somewhat bothersome to him,” he added.
Napier-Bell praised “Last Christmas” for its timeless quality and its ability to resonate without feeling cliché. He marveled at how the song seamlessly blends festive elements without succumbing to cheesiness.
While “Last Christmas” continues to be a celebrated hit decades later, Wham!’s influence extends well beyond this single. The group, consisting of Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, was a pivotal part of the British Invasion of the ‘80s and achieved three other No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Their charitable endeavors also left a significant mark.
Michael was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this fall, with Carrie Underwood, Miguel, and Adam Levine of Maroon 5 performing tributes to his work at the induction ceremony.
Ridgeley, present at the ceremony, spoke highly of Michael’s artistic legacy to us. “He was an extraordinary talent, and this honor is a fitting recognition of that,” he said.
Reflecting on “Last Christmas,” Ridgeley shared his initial reaction to the song and its enduring appeal. “It struck me as an instant classic, capturing the essence of Christmas. Its lasting charm and status as a holiday classic is a testament to its quality and a wonderful tribute to Wham!’s legacy,” he concluded.
This rewrite maintains the original article’s structure, focusing on Simon Napier-Bell’s insights into George Michael’s feelings about “Last Christmas,” and highlighting the song’s and the band’s enduring legacy.