Andrew Ridgeley

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Andrew Ridgeley
Ridgeley in 2019
Ridgeley in 2019
Background information
Birth nameAndrew John Ridgeley
Born (1963-01-26) 26 January 1963 (age 61)
Windlesham, Surrey, England
  • Guitarist
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • Guitar
  • vocals
Years active
  • 1981–1991
  • 2005
  • 2018–present
Formerly of

Andrew John Ridgeley (born 26 January 1963)[1] is an English musician, best known for his work in the 1980s in the musical duo Wham!.

Early life[edit]

Ridgeley was born in Windlesham, Surrey,[1] to Jennifer Jill (née Dunlop) (1943–2009) and Alberto Mario Zacharia (1933–2015), who later changed his surname to Ridgeley; his mother was of English and Scottish descent and his father was of Jewish, Italian, Yemeni and Egyptian descent; his father's family were expelled from Egypt as a result of the Suez Crisis.[1][2][3] He has one sibling, Paul, born February 1964.[4] Ridgeley grew up in Bushey, Hertfordshire, and attended Bushey Meads School.[1] His mother was a schoolteacher at Bushey Heath Primary School while his father worked for Canon.[1] When George Michael started school, Ridgeley volunteered to take him under his wing.[1]


After the break-up of the short-lived group The Executive (of which Ridgeley, his brother Paul, and Michael were members),[5] Michael and Ridgeley formed the duo Wham! in 1981. Michael was the lead vocalist, primary songwriter, and played keyboards, while Ridgeley co-wrote songs, played guitar, and performed backing vocals.[6] They approached various record labels with a homemade demo tape–which took ten minutes to record in Ridgeley's living room–and signed with Innervision Records (distributed by CBS Records).[7] After one album, the duo signed with Epic Records/CBS.


Wham! enjoyed worldwide success from 1982 to 1986, selling more than 35 million records worldwide.[8] They made their U.S. debut on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, becoming the only 1980s British act to have three No. 1 singles on both the U.K. and U.S. charts.[9]

In 1984, Ridgeley underwent surgery to have his septum straightened to improve his breathing after having broken his nose at age nine.[10] After photos were published in British newspapers showing Ridgeley's bandaged face, Wham!'s manager, Simon Napier-Bell, fabricated a story that the bandages were the result of Ridgeley having been hit in the nose in a nightclub. After days of tabloid headlines, the true reason was revealed.[11]

Ridgeley in 1985

In 1984, Wham! charted two U.K. No. 1 singles, and were competing that year with pop rivals Duran Duran to be Britain's biggest pop act. Toward this end, Napier-Bell devised a publicity scheme that he believed would turn them into major international stars: In April 1985, he took Wham! to China for a ten-day visit. They gained huge worldwide media attention when Wham! became the first Western pop group to play in China: after two warm-up shows in Hong Kong, they played a show in Beijing in front of 15,000 people at the Worker's Gymnasium, and one final show in Canton. The visit was recorded for a documentary film titled Wham! in China: Foreign Skies.[12][13] In 1985, Ridgeley performed at the Live Aid charity concert with other backing singers, while Michael performed with Elton John.

By 1985, Ridgeley had developed a reputation in the tabloid press as a drunken party animal at nightclubs; the British tabloids referred to him as "Animal Andy" and "Randy Andy".[14] He was ordered to leave the official party at the end of the Live Aid concert in 1985 for his unruly behaviour.[14][dubious ]

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


Shortly after the breakup, Ridgeley moved to Monaco and tried his hand at Formula Three motor racing. Meeting with little success, he 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, whilst Paul Gray, bassist with early punk rock band the Damned played the bass. The first single from the album was "Shake"; it reached No. 16 on the Australian singles chart[15] and No. 58 in the UK Singles Chart.[16] "Shake" was the 81st highest-selling single of 1990 in Australia.[17] The second single, "Red Dress", charted in Australia but peaked outside the top 100.[15] Son of Albert sold poorly, failing to make the top 75 in the UK Albums Chart. It was also one of the worst received albums of 1990 among critics, achieving only half a star in a savage Rolling Stone magazine review.[18] As a result, CBS passed up the option of a second album. Ridgeley later said, "It was disappointing and depressing to receive quite such a beating over that album."[18]

On 27 January 1991, Ridgeley joined Michael on stage for a few songs at the encore of his Rock in Rio event at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.[19]

Since 1991, Ridgeley has generally shunned publicity,[20] but he did agree to give an on-camera interview for the first time since the split in a 2005 documentary, A Different Story, about the life of George Michael.[21] Ridgeley also appeared as a studio guest on the first series of the BBC 2 programme Fantasy Football League in 1994.[22]

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 they were set for a reunion to mark the 30th anniversary of their first record. Michael said that there was no truth in speculation the group would reform for a one-off concert.[20]

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."[23]

Ridgeley performed a cameo role in Last Christmas, a 2019 film that featured many songs by Wham!.[24][25]

Ridgeley inducted Michael into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2023.[26]

Charitable work[edit]

Ridgeley has several times participated in the Dallaglio Cycle Slam, a charity bike ride for the Dallaglio Rugby Works, established in 2009 by former England rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio, which helps young people tackle life in a positive way with the help of rugby.[27][28]

Personal life[edit]

From 1990 to 2017, Ridgeley was in a relationship with Keren Woodward,[29][30] a member of the group Bananarama. They lived with her son in a restored 15th-century farm property near Wadebridge, Cornwall, England.[31] Ridgeley announced he was dating socialite Amanda Cronin in summer 2022; they separated in May 2023.[32]


On 8 October 2019, Penguin Random House published Ridgeley's memoir Wham! George & Me.[33]



With Wham![edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "1963 – Andrew Ridgeley Born". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  2. ^ Saner, Emine (19 July 2023). "'Oh God, I envied his voice!': Andrew Ridgeley on ego, angst and loving George Michael". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  3. ^ Sanghera, Sathnam (12 October 2019). "Andrew Ridgeley Cheltenham Festival". Cheltenham Literature Festival 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2023.
  4. ^ Andrew Ridgeley Wham! George Michael & Me (Penguin Michael Joseph, 2019), page 46
  5. ^ "Andrew Ridgeley on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 31 December 2016. No 'Harry Tadayon' in The Executive GM, AJR, David Austin, Andrew Leaver & Paul Ridgeley Jamie Gould & Tony Bywaters joined us at 1 point 2
  6. ^ George Michael, Nigel Goodall (1999) George Michael: in his own words Omnibus Press, 1999 (Google Books)
  7. ^ Lucas, Gavin (10 January 2012). "Dream In Colour: The Art of Stylorouge". Creative Review.
  8. ^ "George Michael – The History". Archived from the original on 7 September 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  9. ^ "WHAM!". Official Charts. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Wham! George Michael & Me" p232
  11. ^ Andrew Hart (1991). Understanding the Media: A Practical Guide. Routledge. p. 187. Retrieved 24 December 2012 – via Internet Archive. ridgeley nose.
  12. ^ "How Wham! brought the West to China". BBC News. 24 March 2005. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  13. ^ "Great gig, shame about the show trial". The Telegraph. 31 March 2001. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  14. ^ a b Gold, Todd (23 September 1985). "Double Wham!my: George Michael & Andrew Ridgeley Are Making It Big". People.
  15. ^ a b Australian (ARIA Chart) peaks:
  16. ^ "Official Charts > Andrew Ridgeley". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  17. ^ "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.
  18. ^ a b The complete guide to the music of George Michael & Wham! L Ellis. 1998 – Music Sales Group
  19. ^ "Tours Menu". Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Wham! reunion rumours quashed by George Michael". ITV News. 20 June 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  21. ^ "George Michael steps back into spotlight". BBC News. 6 December 2005. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  22. ^ "BBC One – Fantasy Football League, Series 1, Episode 6". BBC. 19 February 1994. Retrieved 24 December 2012.
  23. ^ "George Michael: Former partner 'heartbroken' at star's death". Sky News. 26 December 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2023.
  24. ^ "Here's one aspect of the 'Last Christmas' twist you may have missed". Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  25. ^ Last Christmas (2019) - IMDb, retrieved 26 December 2020
  26. ^ Morona, Joey (4 November 2023). "George Michael posthumously enters Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with tribute from Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Retrieved 4 November 2023.
  27. ^ "LE COL PARTNER WITH DALLAGLIO CYCLE SLAM 2018". Archived from the original on 21 December 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  28. ^ "DALLAGLIO CYCLE SLAM 2018". Archived from the original on 21 December 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  29. ^ "Wham!'s Andrew Ridgeley and girlfriend Keren Woodward secretly split after 25 years – then reconciled". 26 July 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  30. ^ "Net celebrity... Keren Woordward". BBC News. 28 September 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2012. (broken link)
  31. ^ "Andrew Ridgeley and Keren Woodward have split up". RTÉ. 5 November 2017. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  32. ^ Kaloi, Stephanie (6 July 2023). "Andrew Ridgeley's Dating History: From Keren Woodward to Amanda Cronin". People. Retrieved 14 July 2023.
  33. ^ "In Book, Andrew Ridgeley Pays Tribute To George Michael And A More Innocent Pop Era".

External links[edit]