By Ken Foote

(CBS 11) – The British pop/rock group Wham! has one of the best holiday songs ever: Last Christmas.

The man behind the success of this group was George Michael, born Georgios Kriiacos Panayiotou, to a Greek restaurant family. His musical partner was Andrew Ridgeley whom he met in school.

Under the name Wham! they charted eight times on Billboard with four # 1hits: “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” in 1984, “Careless Whisper” in 1984, “Everything She Wants” in 1985, and “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” in 1987 (a song performed with the late Aretha Franklin). But they also released a very popular holiday song as well.

“Last Christmas” was released on December 3, 1984 on the Epic Records label. Written and produced by Michael and running 4:27, the lyrics go like this:

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special

Once bitten and twice shy
I keep my distance
But you still catch my eye
Tell me, baby
Do you recognize me?
Well, it’s been a year
It doesn’t surprise me
(Merry Christmas!) I wrapped it up and sent it
With a note saying, “I love you, ” I meant it
Now, I know what a fool I’ve been
But if you kissed me now
I know you’d fool me again

The song was #1 in many countries around the world such as Slovenia and Sweden. It reached #5 on the American Holiday 100. At one point there was a claim made by the writers of the song “Can’t Smile Without You” by The Carpenters against Michael for plagiarism but the case was later dismissed.