On This Day in 1985: Wham! play China

31 years ago, on this very day in 1985 Wham! made history by being the first Western pop group to play in China. Watch the documentary Wham! in China Foreign Skies (which remains unreleased on DVD or blu-ray) in full below.


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Just a wee correction to the common mythology, Wham were not the first Western band to play China, an obscure New Zealand band The Spys preceded them by some four years, playing quite a few dates. http://www.audioculture.co.nz/people/living-force

Wham, of course were a much bigger deal but The Spys deserve the credit for first.


Why don’t they just release a blu-ray with however many different edits all included, so the punter can choose the one they want to watch? Too obvious? Too sensible, perhaps?


Lindsay Anderson’s original cut DOES still exist, but it cannot be publicly screened until George Michael changes his mind or dies. You can view it in private at the British Film Institute.

Anthony C

George Michael once said in an interview at the time that the band wasn’t paid for this as they couldn’t take money out of China – instead (he says) they offered to pay them with bicycles!

However, this was a promotional stunt and the resulting publicity firmly cemented their success in the USA.

A DVD one day would be great – sadly a blu-ray would be (kinda) technically impossible.



But what about Jarrett on DVD?


Haha, that hair…it’s so in the way….even they are uncomfortable with it. LOL!
By the way, that Jarre album “The Concerts In China” is absolutely brilliant. The drummer, whoever it is, lifts that entire album to something genial (together with Jarre obviously). It’s remastered and sounds like a million bucks. I highly recommend it!!

Patrick Gleeson

Roger Ritzitelli was the drummer. Get the original CD master from 1982 – Yakuda Audio’s mastering is diabolical – way too loud …

Patrick Gleeson

Jarre was the first – October 1981. I see over the last few years that he has at least been recognised as such. For many years Wham! were the de facto “first western act to perform in China”, now they’re the “first western pop band” to play China.


Perhaps it will be part of the ‘Make it Bigger’ reissue???


Speaking of Jean-Michel Jarre…..when are we going to see his concert film output released on DVD?….anyone have an idea?

CJ Feeney

It was mentioned a few years ago that the Houston concert tapes were too poor for Jarre’s standards and are unlikely to be released on DVD or Blue Ray. Such a shame as it was such a spectacular occasion.

The wedding concert for Prince Albert (?) of Monaco was available on you tube in HD, so could, theoretically, get a release.

CJ Feeney
Todd R.

Sadly, this is the ONLY live video recording produced during the WHAM! period. Of course we’d all love a video copy of THE FINAL, or even a few of the gigs from the MAKE IT BIG tour, etc. So so much remains locked away – 4 versions of WHAM RAP (including 12″ mixes – never on CD yet) Jerry Wexler “Careless Whisper”, the list goes on and on – tragic.

Paul Trotman

Didn’t Jean-Michel Jarre beat them by a few years?

Paul Trotman

Didn’t Jean-Michel Jarre beat them by a few years? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4HHx8SAE8E

Paul Kent

I heartily recommend Simon Napier-Bell’s book “I’m Coming To Take You To Lunch” which tells the story of how he took Wham! to China. Brilliant (as are all his books).

Shaun Bennett

I remember owning Wham! in China Foreign Skies on VHS, I always hoped that, one day, it would find its way to DVD.

The film contains some great live renditions of Wham!’s repertoire: Blue (Armed with Love); Careless Whisper; Everything She Wants; Love Machine*
* denotes cover version – originally by Billy Griffin & The Miracles.

Auntie Sabrina

Weren’t Queen also in the running to play China?


6:36 – Martial arts montage to Bad Boys – feels like a glimpse into some hypnotic parallel universe…


You’d think the Anderson edit, entitled “If You Were There” (90 mins, only 4 Wham songs instead of 12) must be out there in some dark corner of the internet…


Especially given that Anderson publicly said GM ruined a “beautiful” film : “(He was) a young millionaire with an inflated ego. I was struck by his total disinterest in China. His vision only extends to the top 10.”


This REALLY needs to be released properly. Despite the mediorce reviews it got at the time, it is an important part of musical history and the Wham! back catalogue. Love the intro to Careless Whisper!