It’s been over a year since Wham’s last number one, but their next chart-topper still feels like a direct follow-up to the Motown stylings of ‘Freedom’…
I’m Your Man, by Wham! (their 3rd of five #1s)
2 weeks, from 24th November – 8th December 1985
The beat is breezy, the bassline is pretty cool, and George and Andrew are as perky as they’ve ever been. I did call for some cheesy pop, after what has been a pretty earnest autumn from the likes of Midge Ure, Jennifer Rush and Feargal Sharkey, and cheesy pop is what we’ve got. If you’re gonna do it do right, Right do it with me… they chant in the bridge, in a perfectly inane pop hook.
George Michael does his best to lift things, giving a good vocal performance reminiscent of ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’. But there’s something ever so strained in his ad-libs and in the soaring sax, a feeling that they might be trying that bit too hard to paper over the cracks…? Maybe I’m projecting, because we now know that Wham! split up just six months after this made #1. (‘I’m Your Man’ was the last song the pair ever performed together, at their final Wembley concert.) In the video too, a black and white performance of the song at the Marquee Club, Michael is bearded and manly, ready for his imminent solo career. (To be honest, this might as well be a GM solo number – he’s the ‘man’ in the title, Andrew ain’t getting a look in…)
‘I’m Your Man’ is also perhaps a slightly more adult song than it seems at first glance. It’s apparently about a booty call, or a secret affair. Or, and maybe I’m again projecting with hindsight, it’s about anonymous gay sex. Baby our friends do not need to know! George growls… Got a real nice place to go… Or how about: Wanna take you, Wanna make you, But they tell me it’s a crime… Plus the ‘baby’ in the song is never given a pronoun…
I dunno. I’ll happily read a gay subtext into just about anything. But it’s an interesting distraction from what is a decent, if not mind-blowing, pop song. Wham, and GM, were capable of better. But ‘I’m Your Man’ has lived on, and can possibly lay claim to being the duo’s best loved song, after ‘Last Christmas’. George Michael himself re-recorded it in the mid-nineties, and in 2003 none other than Shane Richie took a cover to #2, all in the name of charity.
7 thoughts on “560. ‘I’m Your Man’, by Wham!”
I really rate this track and this run of chart toppers. Yet another record that topped my personal charts and wham’s best ever record. Apart from last christmas. 😊 i think the next number one from wham is the more By Numbers Motown groove buy hey classic solo stuff is on the horizon and it was the right move artistically. Plus the gay subtext is only subtext cos Pet Shop Boys and George werent talking about their private lives at the time. Boy George was doing his best in interviews to encourage them but …. The 80s wasnt quite ready for heart throbs to be gay. Not yet.
I’ll have to wait until their final #1 before deciding properly, but I think I’d have ‘Wake Me Up…’ and ‘Freedom’ over this one.
I can see how coming out as gay would have hurt a teen idol like George Michael, but Pet Shop Boys? They always seemed pretty gay to me, even when I was much too young to really get it.
Oddly enough chris lowe was a bit of a sullen pin up in their imperial phase. The gay turnaround started with hints like its a sin and rent and the domino dancing track and video really alienated the usa media. A bit too gay for mainstream and that was the end of their pop charting career there. Same with George really.
There’s a really good new biography of George Michael I was just reading simply called George Michael A Life that I highly recommend. Does a good job at going in depth into his life and career.
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