Nonetheless, in a China that was rather monochrome and drab, with everyone dressing in similar shades of green and grey, Wham!’s mere presence was shocking. Many had never even seen foreigners before, let alone listened to Western pop music.

“I did feel that although we were very privileged to actually be put in the position that we were, acting as ambassadors of a sort… but I don’t think nobody had any idea of what to expect from Chinese audience,” Michael said of Wham’s trip to China, at the beginning of a video promoting the US release of the duo’s single Freedom in 1985.


Wham's Beijing concert poster in 1985.
A poster of Wham!’s 1985 Beijing concert.
Image: Little Pig Boy/Weibo

Some Chinese bloggers recalled (link in Chinese) that the ticket price was around 30 to 40 yuan (now about $5), a third of the national average monthly salary at the time. In addition, an “introduction letter” from a person’s state employer was required to buy tickets.

A 60-minute film documenting the tour called Foreign Skies: Wham! In China is available here on YouTube.

Echo Huang contributed reporting.

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