16 Things You Didn't Know About Wham!'s Last Christmas

The Christmas classic, which is almost 40 years old, was written by George Michael in his old bedroom at his parent's house in a "moment of wonder".
Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael of Wham! performing in 1984
Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael of Wham! performing in 1984
Phil Dent via Getty Images

Although few and far between, there are certain Christmas songs that we really don’t mind hearing on a loop every Yuletide and Wham!’s Last Christmas is up there with Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You in that respect.

With its universal theme of lost love combined with that instantly recognisable – and deceptively simple – melody written by the late great George Michael (something his Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley has described as “musical alchemy”), it’s no surprise that Last Christmas has been a feature of the festive chart pretty much every year since its original release in 1984.

But if you thought you knew everything there was to know about the Christmas classic after hearing it for the 20,000th time, think again...

George wrote the song in his childhood bedroom during a visit to his parents’ house with his Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley


“We’d had a bite to eat and were sitting together relaxing with the television on in the background when, almost unnoticed, George disappeared upstairs for an hour or so,” Andrew later recalled.

“When he came back down, such was his excitement, it was as if he had discovered gold which, in a sense, he had.

“He played me the introduction and the beguiling, wistful chorus melody to Last Christmas. It was a moment of wonder.”

Upon its initial release, the song was a double A-side

It was paired with Everything She Wants, aka The Greatest Wham! Song Of All Time (this is not up for debate)

Andrew Ridgley describes Last Christmas as “musical alchemy”

Pete Still via Getty Images

“[George] distilled the essence of Christmas into music. Adding a lyric which told the tale of betrayed love was a masterstroke and, as he did so often, he touched hearts,” Andrew said.

George wrote, produced and played every single instrument on the track

Steve Rapport via Getty Images

Oh and he sang it too, obvs.

The song was recorded at the height of summer in August 1984

George plastered the studio in Christmas decorations to set the mood for the recording session.

The video marked the last time in his life that George was filmed…

…without a beard.

The video features former EastEnders star Martin Kemp

NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Spandau Ballet bassist was dating Wham! backing singer Shirlie Holliman at the time, who he would later go on to marry.

Upon its original release in 1984 it was kept off the top spot by another song featuring George Michael

Charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band Aid might have bagged the top spot, but Last Christmas still managed five weeks at number two.

Wham! also donated all proceeds from the sale of the song to Band Aid’s Ethiopian famine appeal.

Last Christmas has been a mainstay of the UK singles chart over the last five decades

In the years since its original 1984 release, the song has entered the UK top 40 on 15 occasions, reaching the top 10 no less than 6 times

The song took 36 years to reach numbr one on the UK singles chart

It finally reached the top spot on New Year’s Day in 2021.

Before reaching the summit, the single held the record for the highest-selling single never to reach number one

That record is now held by Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera.

George was sued for plagiarism for the alleged similarities between Last Christmas and the pop classic Can’t Smile Without You

The case was dismissed when a musicologist presented 60-odd songs from the past century that had a comparable chord sequence and melody.

In Germany, the song is the most successful Christmas single of all time

It has spent 153 weeks on the German Singles Chart and has charted every year since 1997.

The song has been covered by many different artists, and is a favourite of pop girls in particular, including Taylor Swift...

...Ariana Grande...

...Miley Cyrus...

...Gwen Stefani...

...Rita Ora...

...Carly Rae Jepsen...


...Billie Piper...

...and Whigfield

But the award for The Version Nobody Asked For goes to this musical monstrosity…

The song inspired the 2019 romcom, Last Christmas

George collaborated with actor Emma Thompson, who co-wrote the screenplay, on the film’s concept before his death in 2016. It stars Emilia Clarke, best known for playing Daenerys in Game Of Thrones, alongside Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding.

And finally, an Austrian DJ once played the song for four hours non-stop on his radio show

Joe Kohlhofer told listeners in December 2015 that he felt they weren’t in the Christmas spirit and so barricaded himself into the studio, locking out his co-host and producer and played the song on a loop.

He eventually stopped only after his four-year-old daughter was put on the line. She told her father that she didn’t like the song.


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