Category Archives : SinoBeat

Video: How George Michael’s Wham! became the first western pop band to play in communist China

George Michael’s Wham! made history in 1985, after they became the first western pop band to perform in communist China.

It took their manager Simon Napier-Bell 18 months to carefully negotiate the gig with the Chinese authorities.

george michael

Photo: Legacy Recordings.

Wham! were chosen over Freddie Mercury’s Queen, for their wholesome image.

It was during a time when Beijing was keen to welcome foreign investment and open up to the world.

On April 7, a crowd of 12,000 packed the People’s Gymnasium in Beijing, paying the equivalent of HK$13.5 for a ticket. But the atmosphere was subdued as few in the audience had ever seen a live rock show.