I heard Wham!’s “Freedom” on the radio while driving yesterday. I’ve always liked this song, but what I’ve especially always remembered about it was its official video, which details the 1980s duo’s groundbreaking trip to China. Wham! was the first Western pop group ever to play a concert there.
As someone who teaches political science, I’ve always been intrigued by connections between pop culture and political change.
Consider this documentary film, for example, which essentially credits outlawed underground recordings of Beatles music with planting and nurturing the seeds of dissatisfaction with communism and yearning for freedom that eventually caused the Soviet Union to collapse. (This video appears to want to start around the 25-minute mark; you can manually start it from the beginning. Also, annoyingly, it has ads that seem to have transferred over when I embedded the clip. Sorry!)
One more video, in case you’re interested and/or just really love Wham! and the great ’80s hair/fashion of George Michael and that other guy (did anybody know his name?). Here is Wham! in China: Foreign Skies, the film that completely documents that historic Wham! concert and the group’s time in China. Enjoy 🙂
(Update, June 1, 2021: Both of these last videos appear to have been taken down from YouTube and Vimeo since I embedded them. I’ll try to find new versions out there and if I can’t, I’ll see if I can track down links to places you can rent or buy them. The first one I know I watched on PBS years ago. The second may be harder to find. Stay tuned.)