George Michael’s former Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley has backed a campaign to get ‘Last Christmas’ to number one on the anniversary of the singer’s death.
The gay music legend passed away on Christmas day last year aged 53. His death was later found to be from natural causes.
One year on from the singer’s death, his former co-star has backed a campaign to get the singer his first Christmas number one.
Despite the band’s classic holiday track ‘Last Christmas’ being a firm holiday staple, it never topped the charts while George Michael was alive.
Writing in the Mail, Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley said getting the track to the top of the charts would be a fitting tribute to his late friend.
He said: “It has only been as we make our way towards Christmas and the anniversary of his passing that I have decided to speak in depth, and to lend my support to the most fitting tribute to my dearest friend of all – a bid to make Last Christmas this year’s Christmas No 1.
“For me and so many others, the bittersweet nature of the song means it will forever mark the best and the worst of times. Released in 1984, it is one of the most popular and iconic Christmas records of all time, selling more than two million copies
“Yet Last Christmas remains the biggest-selling UK chart single never to have taken the No 1 spot – pipped to the post by Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas.”
He added: “George was passionate about getting his songs to No 1, which is why it is important to me now that the anniversary of his death be marked by an accolade of this kind.
“When I received the news of my oldest friend’s death on the afternoon of Christmas Day last year, I had, only five minutes beforehand, sent him a message wishing him a wonderful Christmas.
“That night, after I had phoned our friends to convey the dreadful news – and despite having shed an ocean of tears already that day – the sheer eviscerating sense of loss cut my legs from beneath me and, on the deck and on my knees, I cried like I’d never cried before.
“Nothing had prepared me for the depth of pain George’s death precipitated.”
He added: “For me and for countless others, this coming Christmas will be tinged with sadness.
“I hope the haunting beauty of Last Christmas and the pleasure it brings might ease that sorrow – and that, with your help, posterity may one day record Last Christmas as a No 1. It would please my old chum no end!”
Ridgeley also opened up about the making of the song.
He wrote: “Last Christmas had its beginnings on an ordinary Sunday in 1984. George and I were visiting his parents.
“We’d had a bite to eat and were sitting together relaxing with the television on in the background when, almost unnoticed, George disappeared upstairs for an hour or so.
“When he came back down, such was his excitement, it was as if he had discovered gold which, in a sense, he had.”
“We went to his old room, the room in which we had spent hours as kids recording pastiches of radio shows and jingles, the room where he kept a keyboard and something on which to record his sparks of inspiration, and he played me the introduction and the beguiling, wistful chorus melody to Last Christmas. It was a moment of wonder.
“George had performed musical alchemy, distilling the essence of Christmas into music. Adding a lyric which told the tale of betrayed love was a masterstroke and, as he did so often, he touched hearts.”
More than 30,000 people have joined the campaign to get the song to Number 1 on Facebook.
The song was number three in Friday’s chart.
Ed Sheeran’s track Perfect is currently at Number 1, with Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You in the second slot.
According to the Official Charts Company, early sales reports suggest that Last Christmas has since overtaken Mariah Carey.
However, Sheeran’s song is still topping the chart, while Eminem track River – also featuring Sheeran – is also in contention.
The charts company added: “Whoever you’re backing, this is the time to get behind your favourite contender.
“This year’s Official Christmas Number 1 race kicked off Friday, December 15 with the cut-off point for sales and streams to be counted toward the chart being midnight Thursday, December 21.
“The Christmas Official Chart Top 40 will be counted down on The Official Chart on BBC Radio 1, Friday, 22 December from 4 pm.”
George was found dead at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, age 53, on Christmas Day last year.
Hundreds of tributes were placed outside his home following the news of his death.
According to the coroner’s report, he died of natural causes, not from a drug overdose as some claimed.
Last month, George’s ex-boyfriend Fadi Fawaz said he believes he will never find love again.
It was also revealed last week that police had launched an investigation into how a 999 call, thought to be made by Fadi, was leaked to the media.
Two members of ambulance staff were interviewed by police as authorities sought to find the source of the leak.