Definitions

go straight

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" is a song by English pop duo Wham! which was released in 1984 and became their first UK number one hit. It was written and produced by George Michael, one half of the duo.

History

Michael's inspiration for the song was a scribbled note left by his Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley for Andrew's parents. Released in May 1984, it heralded the beginning of a softer, sunnier image for Wham!, who had spent the previous year as a moodier, more politically-themed duo, with songs about unemployment, young marriage and battles of will between parents and their children. With the release of "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", they re-emerged with wider smiles, more colourful clothing and a more positive disposition in interviews.

The song entered the UK singles chart at number four - after much hype from the duo claiming they would go straight in at number one, which was a rare occurrence then - and climbed to the top seven days later, staying there for three weeks.

The song also went to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA and Michael followed it up with a solo single, "Careless Whisper" and another Wham! hit, "Freedom", both of which were also UK number-one hits. The album, Make It Big, was an unqualified success. Wham! had three more UK number one singles and split at their height in 1986.

Music Video

The music video, essentially the duo performing (it also introduced Ridgeley as a guitar player for the band) to a teenage audience, was memorable for the clothes, which became a lasting sartorial image for the 1980s as a decade. Michael and Ridgeley, plus backing singers Pepsi and Shirlie, were wearing Katharine Hamnett T-shirt designs which said "CHOOSE LIFE" (originally a slogan targeted at drug abuse and suicide) and "GO GO", which became much sought-after fashion items of the year, along with her similarly stark garments as part of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood phenomenon which said "FRANKIE SAY RELAX", among others. Michael was also seen in luminous gloves, which he later bemoaned as the clip of him always picked out by advertisers whenever "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" went on to a compilation album. The video was filmed at the Carling Academy Brixton in London.

Covers

  • In 2004, Japanese actor Yuji Oda made a cover of the song ("Wake Me Up Go! Go!") as a companion to his cover of "Last Christmas", both songs being the main soundtrack of the Japanese television drama he was starring in, Last Christmas.
  • A cover of the song was recorded by Italian indie band Annie Hall.

Cultural references

Uses in other media

  • The song was the demo song in the SA11 Casio Keyboard.

Track listing

7": Epic / A 4440 (UK)

  1. "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" (3:51)
  2. "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go [Instrumental]" (4:03)

The US 7" single (Columbia 04552) had the same track listing.

12": Epic / TA 4440 (UK)

  1. "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" (3:51)
  2. "A Ray of Sunshine [Specially recorded for 'The Tube']" (4:03)
  3. "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go [Instrumental]" (4:58)

Chart performance

Chart (1984) Peak
position
Australia 1
Austria 6
France 17
Germany 2
The Netherlands 1
Norway 1
Sweden 1
Switzerland 2
UK 1
US 1

References

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