“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!
On Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, the singer indicates how crazy his love interest makes him feel while likening these thrills to dance and beat sounds. He references the early 20th century term, “Jitterbug” which later became a popular dance in the US.
The first verse shows how the writer feels so enthralled by his new found lover, while the pre-chorus details how he feels somewhat suspicious at the same time because of a revelation from his best friend about this person. Regardless of this seemingly disturbing news, the writer does not give up on this person. Instead, he tells her to wake him up and take him along to a dance because he doesn’t plan on missing out on all the fun with her. While he continues to express his admiration for this lady, he admits that he may be fooling himself because he can’t simply let her go. Since he fears being left hanging, he repeatedly begs this woman to wake him up before she leaves.
“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” becomes an International Hit
This was the first big transatlantic hit by Wham!, a short-lived duo which nonetheless was one of the most-successful musical acts of the 1980s. In fact this song reached number 1 on both the UK Singles Chart and US singles chart (Billboard Hot 100), in addition to replicating the feat in quite a few other countries. Additionally it was certified platinum in the US, UK, Canada and Denmark and triple-platinum in the land down under. Simply put, this Wham! classic is considered one of the biggest hits of the 80s.
Songs this successful usually gone to enjoy a lasting pop media presence and endearment with fans. And in this case, some of the television shows and movies which have utilized this track include the following:
- 1998’s “The Wedding Singer”
- 2000’s “Charlie’s Angels”
- 2013’s “Glee”
Moreover, even as recently as 2020, Sony Music officially announced that “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” had been streamed in excess of 1,000,000,000 (1 billion) times globally.
List of Countries where this classic reached number 1
- United Kingdom
- United States
This whole song came about as the result of a mistyped note. What actually happened was that Andrew Ridgeley, one half of Wham!, written a note to his parents. In the note, he was asking that they wake him up from sleep before leaving the house. However, in writing the note, he accidentally repeated the “up” twice. Owing to this, he decided to deliberately repeat the “go” in the message twice too. At the end of the day, his message looked like this: “wake me up up before you go go”.
Ridgeley and his bandmate and lead singer of the group, George Michael (1963-2016) found the above so interesting, they decided to make a song out of it. And that was how the song’s chorus was born! Simply put, a typographical error was responsible for giving birth to this classic song.
George Michael went on to write and produce “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, which was featured on the pair’s second album, “Make It Big”. The track was officially released as the project’s lead single on 14 May 1984. Additionally it was the first song which Wham! actually recorded for the album. In all, “Make It Big” was commercially marketed with four singles, including this very song and the celebrated “Careless Whisper“.
NOTE: Besides the mistyped note, Ridgeley played no role in the penning of this song. This is the reason he isn’t given writing credits on the track. Michael is considered the track’s exclusive writer, thus possesses all writing credits.
Andy Morahan, a British filmographer, directed the music video to this song. On the clip, the boys proudly wore T-shirts which spelled out “CHOOSE LIFE” in very bold letters. These were put together by a politically-minded fashion designer named Katharine Hamnett. And for the record she did not intend them to read as an anti-abortion message, as they are oft interpreted.
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go talks about the supposed thrill that comes with falling in love with someone.