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Oct 09

WHAM! – “I’m Your Man”

FT + Popular35 comments • 4,385 views

#560, 30th November 1985, video

Wham!’s first single for a year followed the “Wake Me Up”/”Freedom” model – a Motown template airbrushed for the mid-80s, brisk and bright and shiny-toothed. But something’s changed – George Michael’s no longer the lens of the song, he’s now its focus. “I’m Your Man” does what the title promises, introducing us to someone confident in his stardom and sure of his ability to hold your attention without too much assistance from the music.

It’s an unfussy record that feels far more like a solo outing than “Careless Whisper” did – the arrangement bobs along on a keyboard line that’s tucked discreetly low in the mix, and the slight echo on George’s voice makes it sound like he has the studio almost to himself to go in for a spot of old-fashioned soulboy begging. On “Whisper” Michael shared hookspace with the sax, but “I’m Your Man”‘s horn solo is perfunctory and shoved quickly offstage to make room for George’s most urgent straight-to-camera plea – “BABY your friends do not need to know!”. Most of this record is pleasant but ordinary, but these moments. when he breaks out of the song’s flimsy restraint and hustles us direct – “I’ll be your first I’ll be your last I’ll be the only one YOU ask” – are where “I’m Your Man” convinces. Even if what it convinces us of is more ambition than devotion.

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Comments

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  1. 26
    Abe Fruman on 20 Oct 2009 #

    I absolutely hated Wham! at the time but this isn’t too bad really and definitely one of their best singles.

  2. 27
    anto on 20 Oct 2009 #

    I’m surprised this is so well thought of. One of the things I’ve noticed about Popular is that engaging oneself with it leads one to consider musical preferences/prejudices that might have been taken for granted sometimes finding particular songs are not as annoying or as exciting as you might have thought.
    Whams frequent appearances at this stage have lead me to consider why I don’t care for their records. I guess it’s because to my ears Wham songs are shrill and repetitous and George Michaels vocals just don’t appeal to me. ” I’m your Man ” is indeed atypical Wham which is why I don’t rate it that highly.

  3. 28
    LondonLee on 21 Oct 2009 #

    On the one hand I find this less annoying than ‘Wank Me Off Before You Go Go’ and think it’s the better song, but on the other hand it seems sort of pointless and doesn’t seem to be anything more than *another* Wham! single.

    I find the video quite shameless in it’s marketing/positioning motives too, not sure if I should be annoyed or admire that either.

    I don’t know what I think anymore.

  4. 29
    MikeMCSG on 21 Oct 2009 #

    #25 Ian, pedantic point but I think The Chart Show started around Easter 1986.

  5. 30
    Matthew H on 22 Oct 2009 #

    Yeah, I like this well enough, but mainly for the bit Doc Casino references at #24 – that “I don’t need you to care” section reaching apotheosis with “I’m your maaaaaaaa-aaaaa-aaaaaa…” is a true hands-in-the-air moment. Glorious.

    I’ll also second Punctum’s props to ‘Blue’ at #22. Poignant, sinuous little thing. ‘Blue’ that is, not Punctum. Although I don’t know for sure.

  6. 31
    Brooksie on 16 Mar 2010 #

    I love all the Wham! singles, but for me this one is George playing things by the book. It seems to lack inspiration. Whereas on previous singles the backing music seemed as structurally important as the singing / lyrics, on this it just seems there to hustle you to the end of the record. This is the Wham! song on which the “plastic” accusation they so often faced is the clearest to me. I totally agree with Punctum; the B-side ‘Blue (Armed With Love)’ means much more to me and leaves a more lasting emotional impact. It’s how Wham! sounded when George was striving for ‘honesty’. Frankly, George always sounded more honest when he was being miserable.

  7. 32
    Patrick Mexico on 20 Dec 2013 #

    Good God, that sleeve. My favourite photo-developing themed single until a pop-punk bunny fourteen years later featuring Zooey Deschanel as you’ve, er, never seen her before.

  8. 33
    Izzy on 20 Dec 2013 #

    Ha! I was going to say if that had been done by Peter Saville it’d be hanging in a museum – glad I went back and checked to see if anyone had made that joke already.

  9. 34
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  10. 35
    Carlo on 15 Mar 2018 #

    I liked this vid, I did, way back in the day. The base, the look of and easy shooting style. Not too rehearsed. It looked like a fun time making “I’m Your Man.” This video did not break the bank in cost. Nothing too serious. A feel good thing. Wham was cool like that. Too bad that’s gone now . Good times !

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