Martin Kemp says 'it's time to move on' from Spandau Ballet
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Greatest Hits radio presenter Martin Kemp was granted an exclusive early listen by now late friend Sir George Michael before it hit the radiowaves – and he confided in his wife moments later that it was “the worst thing I’d ever heard”. Yet despite predictions that the song would “sink”, it quickly rose to number one, selling over two million copies in the USA alone.
I think it’s going to sink. I think it’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard
Martin makes the admission during an upcoming Christmas Day memorial special devoted to the star, entitled George Michael: 5 Years On.
Speaking of the meteorically successful Wham! hit, he exclaimed: “I remember clearly the first time I ever heard that.
“[My wife] Shirlie and I had to drive round to his house because I left my jacket there the day before.
“When I knock on the door, he says to me, ‘Martin before you go anywhere, come upstairs I want to play you a new song.'”
He continued: “We go up to his bedroom and on the tape recorder he plays the demo of Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.
“I say all the things that are right that you should say like, ‘This is brilliant, it’s going to be a great song. You’re going to do really well with it, it’s going to be a smash.’
“Then I say goodbye to him, get my jacket and I go.”
However, his real feelings came out the minute he got into the car to leave.
“I said, ‘Shirl, he just played me the new song Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. Listen I think it’s going to sink. I think it’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard.'”
Of course, the catchy 1984 song then gained the number one spot in numerous countries around the world, achieving Platinum status in six.
Laughing off his faux-pas, Martin joked: “Anyway what do I know, good job I’m not his manager!”
This Christmas Day will mark exactly five years since the tragic star’s demise at just 53.
A coroner declared the death was of natural causes, pointing out a dilated cardiomyopathy (a disease that affects the heart muscle and makes it difficult to efficiently pump blood around the body) along with myocarditis and fatty liver.
However Martin will use the radio show to share happy and nostalgic memories of good times with George.
He recalled how the music legend “absolutely loved” Christmas and did not hesitate to shower him and his family with gifts to mark the occasion.
“Christmas in the Kemp household didn’t start until December 14 when two giant hampers would be delivered through our door from Harrods,” he recalled.
“Two massive baskets full of wine and cheese and food and meats and everything you needed to have a great Christmas.
“This didn’t happen just once or twice. This happened for 30 years.”
He also recalled a time when George invited a party of 20, including himself, along to Richard Branson’s Necker Island on a private plane for an epic trip of “scuba diving together and building sandcastles”.
Martin explained, simply: “When he first became this global superstar, and all of a sudden had all of this money, he wanted to share it with his friends.”
Listen to George Michael: 5 Years On hosted by Martin Kemp on Greatest Hits Radio on Christmas Day between 5-7pm.
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