George Michael was 'under pressure' to succeed academically before Wham! success
George Michael was under "a lot of pressure to achieve" academically.
The late pop star - who passed away on Christmas Day 2015 at the age of 53 following a battle with heart disease - shot to fame as part of music duo Wham! in 1981 but his former bandmate Andrew Ridgeley has now explained that even though they met at school and wanted to pursue a career in showbiz, George says they held off until they completed their studies.
Speaking on UK TV show, 'This Morning', he said: "We met at school, we were in the second year and we became firm friends immediately. We talked about forming a band throughout early teens and he always said it had to be after our O-Levels. There was a lot of pressure on him to achieve academically. Then he said it had to be after the A-Levels, but we decided it was now or never. November 5, 1979 that was. We did a few gigs, and we recorded a few demos it imploded in 1981 and we decided to continue songwriting. "
The 'Club Tropicana' hitmaker went on to add that it was a friend of his who eventually gave them their big break with a record deal after getting no offers from elsewhere.
He recalled: "We were a product of new wave and punk. So we touted our songs around and got no responses but Mark Dean, who was a friend of mine socially, he worked in the music biz and I kept haranguing him to listen to the tape and he called us up to meet us, waked through door and offered us a record deal. That was big."
Andrew has decided to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Wham!'s first album with 'The Singles: Echoes From The Edge of Heaven' collection in honour of the band's first release together and noted now that George - who went on to have a successful solo career in his own right - has passed, it is time to acknowledge the pop duo's "legacy" once again.
He said: "It's the 40th anniversary, that was last year, of the first release and there was always an element of Wham's legacy being brought along in the wake of George's career but since his passing that is no longer there and this is our first initial thing, so I think we are kicking things off with the boxset, CDs, it goes right across all the formats."