“I never looked at it as a single 'til everybody started saying it was great”: The Wham! song that George Michael called his favourite and he made on his own with a Roland Juno-60 and a LinnDrum

George Michael Wham!
(Image credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

As Wham!’s two full-length studio albums, Fantastic and Make It Big, are re-released on vinyl - marking the first time that they’ve been available in the format for more than 30 years - it’s a good time to reflect on the making of Everything She Wants, the song that George Michael called his favourite of the band’s songs.

Included on the Make It Big album in 1984, and released as a double A-side single with Last Christmas, Everything She Wants is pretty much all Michael’s own work, and everything you hear comes from either a LinnDrum or Roland Juno-60 (aside from the vocal, of course).

"It's the only song I've written that successfully came from a backing track first,” Michael told ASCAP in Action in 1985. “I wrote the LinnDrum pattern and found a synthesizer program I liked and wrote the backing track in one evening, took it back to the hotel, and wrote the vocal in a hotel room the next morning. Because it was thrown together that way, I never looked at it as a single 'til everybody started saying it was great.”

Great it most certainly is - in fact, Michael would later go on to describe Everything She Wants as his favourite Wham! record, and it was one of only two of the band’s songs - the other being The Edge Of Heaven - that he would continue to perform on his solo tours. 

Perhaps one of the reasons for this is because it was the record that convinced Michael that he could do everything (write, record, produce and perform), and represented a departure from the previous Wham! workflow. This is something he would later confirm in an interview booklet that shipped with the Legacy Edition of the Faith album, which was released in 2011.

“For the most part I try and play everything,” he explained of his creative approach at the time, before adding that “it wasn’t the case in Wham! apart from Last Christmas and Everything She Wants [which] are all me. Both of these tracks were all made on one synthesizer.”

That synth was the Roland Juno-60, the ‘affordable’ six-voice poly that had been released in 1982. A versatile beast, it could do basses, pads, leads and stabs, making it the perfect tool for Michael to use to craft Everything She Wants. 

RetroSound has just released a cover of the song; here, the Juno-60 is replaced by the Juno-106 - and you'll hear an SH-101 and PPG Wave 2.2, too - but you get the general idea.

The simplicity of the song’s arrangement is evident when you listen to the finished record. It’s said that the original intention was to replace the two-bar LinnDrum loop with a different drum track in the studio, but in the end, Michael’s demo beat made it onto the finished record, and certainly doesn’t sound out of place. 

As Michael notes above, he would follow the Everything She Wants blueprint for Last Christmas, another LinnDrum/Juno-60 joint, but it seems that the star was never quite as enamoured with his festive hit as his career progressed.

Indeed, it was Everything She Wants that Michael performed during his MTV Unplugged set in 1996. “This next track is the one Wham! track of the evening,” he said by way of introduction. “I think most people would guess which Wham! track I would play.”

Michael would also take time out to work on a remix of the song the following year for inclusion on The Best of Wham!: If You Were There, a second greatest hits compilation, demonstrating that his love for it remained undimmed.

When it was originally released, in 1984, the Last Christmas/Everything She Wants single was famously kept off the UK chart top spot by Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas, but it did hit number one in the US, selling more than a million copies in the process.

Not bad for something that was "thrown together," we'd say.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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