Andrew Ridgeley

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Andrew Ridgeley
Background information
Birth nameAndrew John Ridgeley
Born (1963-01-26) 26 January 1963 (age 56)
Windlesham, Surrey, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1981–2018
Associated acts

Andrew John Ridgeley (born 26 January 1963)[1] is an English singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known for his work in the 1980s as a member of the musical duo Wham!.

Early life[edit]

Ridgeley was born in Windlesham,[1] Surrey, England. His parents are Jennifer John (née Dunlop) and Alberto Mario Zacharia (who later changed his surname to Ridgeley); his mother is Scottish and his father is of Italian and Egyptian descent.[1] Ridgeley grew up in Bushey, Hertfordshire, and attended Bushey Meads School.[1] His mother was a schoolteacher at Bushey Heath Primary School and his father worked for Canon.[1] When George Michael was enrolled at the school, Ridgeley volunteered to take him under his wing.[1]


After years of playing in various music groups, the most notable being the Executive, Michael and Ridgeley formed Wham! They then approached various record labels with a homemade tape (which took 10 minutes to record in Ridgeley's living room) and signed with Innervision Records. The band left Innervision after the first album and signed with CBS.


Wham! enjoyed worldwide success from 1981 to 1986, selling more than 28 million records worldwide.[2] Wham! made their US debut appearance on Dick Clark's American Bandstand and became the only British act in the 1980s to have three No. 1 singles in both the UK and the US.[3]

In 1984, Ridgeley had rhinoplasty surgery to reduce the size of his nose. After photos were published in British newspapers showing Ridgeley's face in a bandage, Wham!'s manager, Simon Napier-Bell, fabricated a story that the bandages were the result of Ridgeley having been hit on the nose by somebody in a nightclub. After days of tabloid headlines, the true reason was revealed.[4] A year later, Ridgeley said he regretted the surgery, thinking that his nose was now too small.[5]

Wham! had two UK No. 1 singles in 1984 and were competing that year with pop rivals Duran Duran to be Britain's biggest pop act. Napier-Bell devised a publicity scheme that he believed would turn Wham! into major international stars. In April 1985, he took Wham! to China for a 10-day visit. This gained huge worldwide media attention when Wham! became the first Western pop group to play in China, in front of 15,000 people at the Worker's Gymnasium in Beijing. The visit was recorded for a documentary film titled Wham! in China: Foreign Skies.[6][7] In 1985, Ridgeley performed at the Live Aid charity concert next to backing singers like Kiki Dee while his bandmate Michael performed with Elton John.

By 1985, Ridgeley had developed a reputation as a party animal, who regularly got drunk at nightclubs; the British tabloids referred to him as "Animal Andy".[5] He was kicked out of the official party at the end of the Live Aid concert in July 1985 for his wild behavior.[5]

In 1986, "The Edge of Heaven" became Wham!'s fourth and final UK No. 1 single. With Michael keen to move into a more adult market, Wham! broke up after a farewell concert entitled "The Final" in front of 72,000 people at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 28 June 1986.

On 27 January 1991, Ridgeley joined Michael on stage for a few songs at the encore of his performance at the Rock in Rio event at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.[8] Since 1991, Ridgeley has generally shunned the limelight,[9] but he did agree to give an interview on camera for the first time since the split in a 2005 documentary, A Different Story, about the life of George Michael.[10] Ridgeley also appeared as a studio guest on the first series of the BBC 2 programme Fantasy Football League in 1994.[11]

In 2005, Ridgeley and Michael made plans to reunite as Wham! for Live 8, but Ridgeley reportedly pulled out at the last minute. In 2012, Michael dismissed rumours that he and Ridgeley were set for a Wham! reunion to mark the 30th anniversary of the group's first record. Michael said that there was no truth in speculation the group would reform for a one-off concert.[9]

Upon hearing of Michael's death on 25 December 2016, Ridgeley paid his respects on Twitter, saying, "Heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog."[12]


Since 1982, he has reportedly amassed £10 million from sales and royalties of records.[13] Much of his income comes from the 1984 single "Careless Whisper", which was one of the few Wham! songs that Ridgeley had a part in writing; the two had written the song together several years earlier, when both were 17. (Ironically, despite Ridgeley's involvement in writing the song, the single was issued as a Michael solo piece.)[14] "Careless Whisper" has sold six million copies worldwide[15] and, as of 2012, was the 34th best-selling single of all time in the United Kingdom, having sold over 1.3 million copies.[16] Ridgeley still receives thousands of pounds a year from his share of "Careless Whisper" royalties alone.[17]

Shortly after the breakup of Wham!, Ridgeley moved to Monaco, and tried his hand at Formula Three motor racing. Meeting with little success, Ridgeley moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of a career in acting. He returned to Britain permanently in 1990.

CBS Records (later Sony Music), having taken up the option on Wham!'s contract that specified solo albums from Michael and Ridgeley, released a guitar and drum driven solo recording from Ridgeley, Son of Albert, in 1990. His brother Paul, an occasional percussionist for Bananarama, played drums on the album. Singles included "Shake" and "Red Dress".

"Shake", which was the first single from his solo album, reached No. 16 on the Australian charts[18] and No. 58 in the UK charts.[19] "Shake" was the 81st highest-selling single of 1990 in Australia.[20] "Red Dress" charted in Australia, where it peaked outside the top 100.[18]

Ridgeley's record company, CBS, passed up the option of a second album from him after unsuccessful sales of the album Son of Albert, which was panned by critics and failed to make the top 75 in the UK.[13] Son of Albert was one of the worst received albums of 1990, achieving only half a star in a savage Rolling Stone magazine review.[17] Ridgeley later said: "It was disappointing and depressing to receive quite such a beating over that album."[17]

Charitable work[edit]

Andrew Ridgley has several times participated in the Dallaglio Cycle Slam, a charity bike ride for the Dallaglio Rugby Works, established in 2009 by England rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio, that helps young people tackle life in a positive way, with the help of Rugby. [21][22]

Personal life[edit]

Ridgeley lives near Wadebridge, Cornwall, England, in a restored 15th-century farm property that he shared with former partner Keren Woodward,[23][24] a member of the group Bananarama. The couple split in November 2017.[25]




Year Single Peak positions Album
1990 "Shake" 58 16 48 77 Son of Albert
"Red Dress" 110
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "1963 – Andrew Ridgeley Born". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  2. ^ "George Michael – The History". Archived from the original on 7 September 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  3. ^ "WHAM!". Official Charts. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  4. ^ Andrew Hart. Understanding the Media: A Practical Guide. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Gold, Todd (23 September 1985). "Double Wham!my: George Michael & Andrew Ridgeley Are Making It Big". People.
  6. ^ "How Wham! brought the West to China". BBC News. 24 March 2005. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Great gig, shame about the show trial". The Telegraph. 31 March 2001. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Tours Menu". Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Wham! reunion rumours quashed by George Michael". ITV. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  10. ^ "George Michael steps back into spotlight". BBC News. 6 December 2005. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  11. ^ "BBC One – Fantasy Football League, Series 1, Episode 6". BBC. 19 February 1994. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  12. ^ Andrew Ridgeley [@ajridgeley] (26 December 2016). "Heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog. Me, his loved ones, his friends, the world of music, the world at…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  13. ^ a b "Loser who had the last laugh". Daily Mail. 11 March 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  14. ^ "Radio 2 – Sold on Song – TOP 100 – Careless Whisper". BBC. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  15. ^ "George Michael". Songwriting Magazine. 20 August 2012. Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  16. ^ "Best Selling Singles of All Time". Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  17. ^ a b c The complete guide to the music of George Michael & Wham! L Ellis. 1998 – Music Sales Group
  18. ^ a b c d Australian (ARIA Chart) peaks:
  19. ^ a b "Official Charts > Andrew Ridgeley". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  20. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart 1990 (61–100) (from The ARIA Report No. 50)". (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  21. ^ "LE COL PARTNER WITH DALLAGLIO CYCLE SLAM 2018". Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  22. ^ "DALLAGLIO CYCLE SLAM 2018". Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  23. ^ "Wham!'s Andrew Ridgeley and girlfriend Keren Woodward secretly split after 25 years – then reconciled". Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  24. ^ "Net celebrity... Keren Woordward". Daily Mail. 28 September 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2012. (broken link)
  25. ^ "Andrew Ridgeley and Keren Woodward have split up". RTÉ. 5 November 2017. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  26. ^ a b " > Andrew Ridgeley in Dutch Charts" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  27. ^ "Billboard > Artists / Andrew Ridgeley > Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  28. ^ "Andrew Ridgeley – US Hot 100 Chart". Retrieved 9 April 2014.

External links[edit]