It’s Christmastime. There’s no need to be annoyed.
Unless, that is, you are Andrew Ridgeley.
Yes, the holiday season is here. (Has been for a while, as you may have noticed.) It is a time to celebrate. A time to be thankful. Ah, but at the home of the talented (sic) Mr Ridgeley, this Christmas will be a difficult one.
Why this Christmas? Because of Last Christmas. (Or, for you millennials: Because Last Christmas.)
Last Christmas, a song once associated with the guitar-player (Surely, more of a guitar-holder. –ed.), is everywhere this month. Malls. Grocery stores. Coffee shops. Liquor/marijuana outlets.
Like Paul McCartney’s insufferably magnificent Wonderful Christmastime, it cannot be avoided.
Yet, unlike McCartney’s peppy Yuletide
cash-in tribute, the version you are likely to hear is not the original.
Last Christmas has been covered dozens of times by everyone from Whigfield (no relation) to Taylor Swift. This year, even Carly Rae Jepsen got the call, offering a dancefloor-friendly arrangement that replaces the original’s archaic drum-machine beat with a state-of-the-art drum-machine beat.
You win this round, Carly Rae. But expect to be visited by three ghosts next week.
Such covers are fair game, and to be expected for any, ahem, timeless Christmas carol. But, as a result, it seems the people behind the muzak we love now prefer to subject us to anything but Wham! at Christmastime. Even as the band’s co-frontman, er, frontman regularly urges us to say a prayer for the other ones.
Remember, shopping-mall program directors, if ever there was an other one, it was Andrew Ridgeley in Wham!
Yet, this persistent Ridgeleyist approach to selecting a seasonal favourite means more money for songwriter George Michael and not a penny for his former bandmate. (Try photo-op-mate. –ed.)
That is bad news for the Ridgeley family. Assuming there is one. Certainly, it will mean another quiet holiday season for little Andrew. Quiet, in part because every time someone turns on the damn radio… Wham! More salt rubbed into that stubborn wound.
Of course, you say, Andrew Ridgeley probably has other talents to fall back on. He was, after all, one-half of the greatest duo in the history of recorded music.
(Frankly, I’m surprised to hear you say that. But I’ll continue.)
Other talents? Watch this, if you dare.
So, this Christmas, say a prayer. Pray for the other one.
He gave us his heart. And we gave it away.
As though he were not someone special.