Wham!

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

Composed by George Michael

Song Review by

The almost blindingly bright, soul-tinged pop confection "Wake Me up Before You Go-Go" gave the British duo Wham! their first number one single in 1985, establishing George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley as the premier bubblegum teen idol act of the mid-'80s. It was also the first clear evidence of Michael's seemingly effortless mastery of the pop song form, a facility he would demonstrate time and time again over the next decade. "Wake Me up Before You Go-Go" is relentlessly perky, but to dismiss it as mere fluff is to overlook a tremendous guilty pleasure. The song is tightly and impeccably constructed, and its inescapable melody and bouncy beat are almost a force of nature, so difficult are they to resist. Moreover, the song's individual elements are the work of a fully formed pop craftsman -- from the way the keyboards and bass interact and leave room for each other to breathe, to the playful bass voice chanting "jitterbug" at regular intervals, to Michael's accentuation of the arrangement by adding (and subtracting) a lightly swinging horn section and soulful backing choir. It often takes some time for the big-picture status of bubblegum pop tunes to become clear -- at least until the initial backlash against their ubiquitous popularity wears off -- but in retrospect, it's clear that "Wake Me up Before You Go-Go" is one of the decade's true mainstream pop classics, which is why it's become a staple of '80s retro play lists, as well as the song most listeners immediately identify with Wham!

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Make It Big 1984 BMG / Columbia / Sony Music Entertainment 3:51
Greatest Hits of the Eighties 1989
Various Artists
Telstar
Best of 1980-1990 1990
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:52
Summer in the City, Vol. 3 1994
Various Artists
Columbia 3:48
Radio City Classic Hits the 80's 1995
Various Artists
Polydor 3:52
Awesome '80s, Vol. 6 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:52
Number One 80's 2000
Various Artists
PolyGram 3:46
Modern Rock: Dance 2001
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:53
Zoolander 2001
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood 3:51
Party Power Pack, Vol. 5 2001
Various Artists
Pol 3:50
Simply the Best Eighties 2001
Various Artists
Warner Strategic Marketing 3:48
Winter Explosion!!! 2002
Various Artists
Sony/Columbia 3:47
Biggest Hits of the 80's 2003
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:52
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Columbia
Awesome '80s [2 Disc] 2003
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:52
Now: Decades 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Casey Kasem Presents: America's Top Ten - The 80s #1 Pop Hits 2004
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 3:51
Karaoke Party: More Retro 70s & 80s 2004
Karaoke
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:46
School Reunion: The Disco 2004
Various Artists
Virgin 3:51
Much Dance 80's 2004
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Clasicos de los 80's 2005
Various Artists
Contrasena
Sing-A-Long Summer 2005
Various Artists
WEA/Warner Special Marketing 3:50
Floorfillers: The Ultimate Party Album 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
R35: Rock & Pops Super Hits 2006
Various Artists
WEA 3:51
Superstar of the 80s 2006
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:51
Jim Beam: Pub Jukebox Classics 2007
Various Artists
Liberation
Absolute Summer 2007
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 3:52
Top 40 Dance Chart 1980-1995, Vol. 4 2007
Various Artists
Magic
No. 1 80s Pop Album 2007
Various Artists
Music Club Deluxe 3:53
Absolute Hits: 80s Number 1s 2007
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 3:53
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:50
Now That's What I Call the 80s 2008
Various Artists
Universal 3:43
Ultimate Collection 100 Hits: Eighties 2008
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:52
Now That's What I Call Music: 25 Years 2008
Various Artists
EMI 3:51
Party Time, Vol. 6 2008
Various Artists
SPG / Unidisc 3:46
Sounds of the 80's Generation 2008
Various Artists
Destra 3:50
Essential: Get The Party Started [Sony] 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music
Ultimate 80's [Music Club] 2009
Various Artists
Music Club International Records 3:52
The Best Year of My Life: 1984 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:52
100 Essential Tracks: No. 1 Hits 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:48
No Image 2009
Various Artists
Commercial Canada 3:52
No Image 2010
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:51
I Love Papa 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music / Sony Music Distribution 3:52
Pure... 80s Dance Party 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:44
Bachelorette Party 2011
Various Artists
Somerset 3:52
30 Stars of the '80s [US] 2013
Various Artists
SME 3:50
Running Hits: New Balance 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:52
100 Hits: 80s Essentials 2013
Various Artists
100 Hits 3:52
RMF 80's 2014
Various Artists
Universal
100 Hits: 80s Classics Karaoke 2014
Various Artists
100 Hits
The Nation's Favourite 80s Number Ones 2015
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:50
Now That's What I Call the 80s [2015] 2015
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:52
No Image 2015
Various Artists
Legacy
No Image 2016
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:41
100 Hits: Car Songs
Various Artists
100 Hits 3:53
1984: A Time To Remember The Classic Years
Various Artists
The CD Card Company / Sony BMG 3:53
No Image
Various Artists
Mixed Repertoire 3:48
BRIT Awards Decades: '80s
Various Artists
Rhino 3:52
Dzien Dobry Bardzo Radio Zet
Various Artists
Sony Music / Sony Music Distribution 3:50
G-A-Y [Sony]
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:46
Molly: Do Yourself a Favor [Original TV Soundtrack]
Original TV Soundtrack
Liberation 3:51
Party on: The Only Party Album You'll Ever Need
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:52
No Image
Original Soundtrack
Sony Classical
We Call It 80's: 100 Songs To Remember
Various Artists
Fresca / Smith & Co. 3:53
blue highlight denotes editor's pick