Andrew Ridgeley (born January 26, 1963), is an English pop singer, guitarist and environmentalist. He came to public attention as a member (with George Michael) of the 1980s pop music duo Wham!.
Andrew was born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, England. His father Albert Mario Ridgely (of Egyptian and Italian ancestry) worked with Canon, and his mother Jennifer (of English ancestry) was a schoolteacher. Andrew has a younger brother, session drummer Paul Ridgeley.
Andrew attended Bushey Meads School (where his mother worked). There he met George Michael.
Their common musical interests led them to form Wham!. After going around to various record companies with a homemade tape (which took ten minutes to record in Andrew's living room), the Boys From Wham! found a record label willing to sign them, Innervision.
Innervision, however, had a trick up its sleeve: it forced Wham! to sign an unfair contract, which Andrew, backed by George, later challenged legally. The resulting legal victory for Wham! led to Innervision's bankruptcy and the dissolution of the company.
Wham! went on to enjoy huge worldwide success in the early '80s, making their US debut appearance on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand".
The band was chosen over fellow pop acts like Bananarama and Duran Duran to become the first Western musical act to perform in China. Wham! filmed the journey and released a video, Foreign Skies: Wham! in China.
After Wham!'s breakup in 1986, Ridgeley moved to Monaco and tried his hand at Formula Three motor racing. After not meeting with as much success as he had hoped in that endeavour, he first moved to LA (for the usual singer/actor crossover), then he returned to England permanently in 1990.
CBS Records (later Sony Music), having taken up the option on Wham!'s contract that specified solo albums from George and Andrew, released a guitar and drum-driven solo album from Ridgeley, Son of Albert, in 1990. (The drums were played by his brother Paul.)
Singles include "Shake" and "Red Dress". CBS Records preferred the pop sound of Wham! and subsequently passed upon a second album.
After retiring from active music making, though active in music-writing under various pseudonyms, Ridgeley became a prominent environmentalist in the cause of water quality at English surfing beaches and riverways.
He had become active in surfing in the early 1990s, and while surfing with his brother Paul off the coast of England, both men contracted a waterborne illness from the raw sewage being discharged from a nearby pipe. The illness led to an interview with The Times, and Andrew became an environmental activist in the cause of water quality. Andrew is active in the UK charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).
Andrew is a partner in an English company that makes surfing goods. He frequently fronts both his name and money to help pass and enact laws against the discharge of raw sewage in UK offshore waters. Ridgeley's and SAS's efforts were hugely successful in recent years, resulting in numerous safe sewage laws enacted which have virtually eliminated E. coli illness and deaths in the UK.
He now lives in Cornwall, England, in a restored 15th century dwelling with his wife Keren Woodward (of the 80's pop group Bananarama).
The Sunday Mirror reported in October 2006 that WHAM! would reunite at Wembley Stadium in December 2006, at the conclusion of George Michael's Live 25 tour. WHAM! back-up singers Pepsi and Shirlie will also be part of the reunion performance.