Meaning of “Careless Whisper” by George Michael and Wham!

“Careless Whisper” is a 1980s song about a lost love. It was released by the English singer-songwriter George Michael and the musical duo Wham! In the lyrics of “Careless Whisper”, the narrator/singer (Michael) laments about the loss of his relationship with his partner. The relationship in question came to an end after he had an affair with another woman. His betrayal leaves him heart-broken, lonely and full of regrets.

“So I’m never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you”

According to Michael, the cheating has also left him unable to “dance” with her like the way he used to. It is not clear whether the term “dance” is used literally or as a metaphor to refer to something he used to do with his partner.

The chorus is where the iconic line “I’m never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rhythm” appears. Here, the narrator is basically talking of how the tremendous guilt of his betrayal is preventing him from “dancing” again with his lover. Owing to the fact that his feet are guilty, they can’t dance. Why? According to him, guilty feet don’t possess the rhythm it takes to dance. This is surely one of the deepest lines the pop music world has ever seen!

On the whole, the narrator deeply regrets betraying that special person in his life. However, it’s too late. She’s gone, leaving him lonely and sad. Who I’m I going to dance with now? He asks himself as he wallows in regret, sadness and loneliness.

From the words of the song, it is not abundantly clear whether the narrator told his significant other about his unfaithfulness or she found it out by herself.

What does the term “careless whisper” mean?

The phrase “careless whisper” is a slang term that refers to something someone says without actually thinking about it. Simply put, it is unguarded talk.

Official music video for “Careless Whisper”

The official music video for this track, which was directed by Duncan Gibbins, was shot entirely in Miami, Florida. It features American actress and model Lisa Stahl. Lisa portrays the role of Michael’s betrayed girlfriend, who abandons him because of his affair. In a 2009 interview with Q magazine, Lisa revealed that she and Michael had to shoot the kissing scene twice. Why? Because the producers somehow lost the first footage of the scene involving the pair kissing.


Facts about “Careless Whisper”

  • The members of Wham! (George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley) wrote this iconic ballad. That said, it’s important to state that Michael wrote the majority of the song. He was also Wham!’s primary songwriter.
  • Michael was just 17 years old when he penned this classic tune. He said he wrote the song while he was aboard a bus heading towards work.
  • “Careless Whisper” was produced solely by Michael.
  • The song was released for the first time on July 24, 1984. It was the second single from Wham!’s second studio album Make It Big. However, outside America, the song was released as a solo single by George Michael. It went on to become the very first breakaway single of Michael’s solo career.
  • Despite the song being very instrumental in establishing Michael’s solo career, he said it wasn’t very close to his heart. In a People magazine interview, Michael said he was “fed up” with the song.
  • As of 2018, the single had sold over 6 million copies around the world. Owing to this, it is considered one of the most successful singles of all time. It peaked at number one in over two dozen countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States.


Is “Careless Whisper” an autobiographical song?

The lyrics of this song are often assumed to be autobiographical. According to the stories, Michael wrote the song about a time in his teenage life when he was dating multiple girls at the same time. However, this isn’t true. The lyrics are purely fiction. Michael himself state the song’s lyrics are nothing short of a work of fiction.

Who played the saxophone solo on “Careless Whisper”?

One of the major highlights of this classic song is its legendary saxophone line. It was played by English jazz saxophonist Steve Gregory. Besides working with George Michael, Gregory has worked with the likes of Queen, Freddie King and The Animals.

6 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I recall hearing in an interview that GM said he changed one word of the lyric that changed the song. What was that word? I’ve never figured it out.

  2. Chucho says:

    I figured it out. it’s
    The whole song makes total sense now.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous I hope you are being sarcastic because chucho is full of s–t! He just being a d–k trying to be funny.

  4. David says:

    My ex wife selected this song as our wedding dance song. A strange choice that I didn’t really comprehend at the time. Must have been an omen though.

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