YOU'VE GOT ANGEMAIL!!!
This may be the George Michael mailing list, but there are a lot of people
who ask about Andrew Ridgeley--who get personal answers rather than posted to
YM. But since the Egyptian/Italian half of Wham! turns 34 today--January
26--I thought I'd rerun the ANGEMAIL three part series--with a few
changes--from a couple months ago in his honour.
For any of you who don't know, Ange is one of Andrew Ridgeley's many
nicknames, but also the most common.
John Ridgeley bounced his way into this world on Saturday January
26th, 1963. Born to Albert Mario--an executive at Canon cameras--and
Jennifer Jill (nee Dunlop)--a teacher--a little brother Paul--who would drum
for Wham!'s first album--would follow 13 months later.
Andrew's youth was a boisterious one, punctated by a few spills into the
pool--one of which broke his nose, and another that just about gave his mum a
heart attack--he was a very athletic boy, a particular fan of football
and George met in 1975--The year I was born, co-incidence? I think
not...--at Bushey Meads Comprehensive School and became fast friends--despite
George heaving him to the ground in a game of King of the wall, pretty
prophetic in a way ain't it?--and the rest we know as rock and roll
But what happened to the man about whom George announces at the beginning of
I'm Your Man as: "He's brave, he's tough, Mr. Ridgeley, do your stuff!" AFTER
June 28th, 1986?
As he was commonly
mocked for, Andrew took up Formula 3 motor car racing
having relocated to Monaco to avoid British taxation. Quick dubbed "The
Smasher" for his uncanny ability to smack up his race cars, he soon found
himself without sponsor when Renault dropped him.
Circa late 1987, Andrew relocated to LA, where he made a point of enjoying
his money, and not working.
late 1989, Andrew moved home to England, and re-settled in his former
stomping grounds of Hertfordshire. There, he set to work on writing music
with a gentleman called Gary Brougham. In late 1990, he released his debut
album "Son of Albert." (Oh, you haven't heard of it? Yeah, well, that was
kinda a problem.... The ill fated effort was not well received. I have
several reviews, here is but one:
shandrew-at-indiana.edu (shelly renee andrews) writes:
went through my archives to find thease things, and stumbled across
something funny...the "Son of Albert" album review that ran in Rolling Stone
June 28, 1990. Poor Andrew. I haven't heard the album, is it really this
liked it, but it's very guitar heavy, and Andrew's voice is not
much compared to George's. AG)
You probably already have
this,huh?..If so, here it is again for a laugh or
(Since I had already bought and listened to the album before reading
review--having gone to the mall with my mom who had to go to the bank, I
wandered off, and upon finding it in the "New Releases" I tore back to the
bank to borrow the necessary funds--I had a good laugh. AG)
star....(published scale goes down to 1 star only, and calls that "poor")
By: Jim Faber
"On the credibility
scale, Andrew Ridgely falls somewhere between LaToya
Jackson and oblivion. His critical standing is so low that some believe
Wham! roadies contributed more to the group's success than he did.
Unfortunately for him, Ridgeley's first solo album makes this asseessment
seem generous. At best, the album suggests a macabre vision of Ridgeley as
an evil-minded backup singer who
erased the actual lead vocals from the
tracks in a last-ditch attempt to draw attentin to himself. What other
explanaion can there be for a voice this shapeless and reedy at center stage?
The music Ridgeley co-wrote to cover these deficiencies only highlights the
problem. He all too obvioulsy latched onto a classic method of feigning
credibility: make every song loud and fast, so no one can figure out what's
wrong. The problem is theat one can't help but be riveted by the
ludicrousness of Ridgeley's affectations. He takes all the rocker moves --
the snarl, the screech, the fey swish -- and makes them ridiculous.
Meanwhile, his guitar-based music is just as far off the mark. Though many
songs drew on a promising glitter-rock influeince, especially "Mexico" and
"Kiss Me," the music ultimately reeks of modern, low-end, spandex rock. Even
his cover of the Everly Brothers' "Price of Love" muffs it stomping all over
its own hook. Then again there is a CD bonus track that manages to get
things at least half right -- "Shake
(Hardcore)." It's the only song on the album with no lead vocal at all."
Its no wonder the guy crawled back into oblivion. You may not want to publish
this, It's so mean, and it'll be in the archives. I seem to remember George
commenting on "Son of Albert" somewhere along the way... In the RS Random
notes ...Something about how he liked it or it was pretty promising...What a
friend, what a friend.
it's not that bad. It's just a bit more guitar driven than anything
George has written. There's a very obvious Queen influence. And in an
interview, George said he did like it. AG)
There were 2 videos released. Shake endured a great deal of controversy for
it's voyeuristic overtones. My thanks to Alicia for pointing out that the
lady we are watching in the vid is indeed the same lady in the Father Figure
vid. Andrew was being very innovative. I recall Andrew went on a
promotional tour--no singing--and I saw a couple of interviews, funny as
usual--but alas, my VCR was out of order at the time... A second video
followed for Red Dress. I didn't find out about it until the summer of '96,
and my thanks to Alicia and Nancy for adding it to my collection.
Nonetheless, Andrew crawled back into the woodwork.
(All of this info courtesy of my Bananarama
OK, so some of you are asking what the hell does Bananrama have to do with
Andrew's personal life? Well, you guys know who Keren Woodward is? The
attractive brunette from Bananarama of course. She's also the current live
in love of Mr. Ridgeley. Now to be fair, this is a long term deal. They've
been together since 1991, and moved off to Cornwall England together in early
1996 to live in common law bliss. Although, having just typed that, should
they suddenly split up, I will blame myself, and will rush to England to
They live in Cornwall so that Andrew can indulge in his current love
surfing. It's probably also a better environment to raise children than
London. So is Andrew a daddy? (People hold their breath in terror...) Not
biologically, but he is a big part of Keren's 10 year old son Thomas' life.
So how did Miss Keren
and Mr. Andrew hitch up?
smm-at-pequod.otago.ac.nz (sarah mager) writes:
in response to angemail
useless fact of the week andrew ridgeley's younger brother Paul was the
drummer for Bananarama's world tour back in 1989 - and two years later andy &
keren are getting it on...a coincidence I think not.....
Courtesy of a recent NanaNews, a transcript of a 1993 Bananarama interview:
And talking of lucky (ahem), Keren's bagged herself an international playboy
as a sparring partner - ex-Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley. How did that happen?
"We were socializing with George (Michael) quite a bit, and Andrew would
occasionally crop up at a dinner party or a club. I'd known him on and off
for a while and ..."
Sarah: "... she was desperate ..."
"... we kept in contact with each other."
Is this the big one? Love and kisses and rockets and stars and everything?
Oh don't be so stupid, I refuse to answer that question."
It's not then.
"No, it's just that I'm not answering
that question. If I say no I'm going to
sound like I'm down on the whole thing, and if I say yes I'm going to sound
like I'll love him desperately for the rest of my life. Apart from anything
else, you can never tell, as I've learned from the past."
touchy touchy ...
OK, so Keren's not willing to say it's gonna last forever, now we know why
and Andy get along so well...
(All of the above info courtesy of my Bananarama compatriates.)
Also, I have heard a
rumour to the effect that they finally--ahem--"hitched
up" down in Rio in '91. George likely had something to do with it. Andrew
was down there for the Wham! reunion, and allegedly--Sarah, JT, Catherine,
Mike: confirm/deny?--Bananarama was performing at Rock in Rio II also.
Whatever the case: My best wishes to the Ridgeley/Woodward household. May
Andrew enjoy many years of surfing, and Keren's career get back on track!
Well there you have it. If I have missed anything, or you have
add, PLEASE let me know.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREW!
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