Wham!

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

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
Billboard Top Hits: 1984 1984
Various Artists
Rhino 3:54
No Image 1985
Various Artists
CBS / Fox
No Image 1986 CBS / Fox
Greatest Hits of the Eighties 1989
Various Artists
Telstar
Best of 1980-1990 1990
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:52
80's Greatest Rock Hits, Vol. 4: Party On 1992
Various Artists
Priority Records
The Final 1994 Epic 3:51
Billboard Top Hits: 1980-1984 1995
Various Artists
Rhino 3:54
Radio City Classic Hits the 80's 1995
Various Artists
Polydor 3:52
Ultimate Party Animal Album 1996
Various Artists
Global TV
The Best of Wham!: If You Were There... 1997 Sony Music Distribution 3:51
Gold and Platinum, Vol. 4: 1980-1984 1997
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:54
Non Stop Dance! 1998
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Awesome '80s, Vol. 6 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:52
The All Time Greatest Pop Album 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:53
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:49
The Official American Bandstand Library of Rock & Roll 2000
Various Artists
Atlantic 3:52
Number One 80's 2000
Various Artists
PolyGram 3:46
Best Party in Town 2000
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:51
Modern Rock: Dance 2001
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:53
Les Indispensables De 2001 Sony Music Distribution
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 Music 3:48
1984: Where Were You? 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Eighties Complete, Vol. 1-3 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:51
Party Animal 2002
Various Artists
Warner Elektra Atlantic Corp.
Winter Explosion!!! 2002
Various Artists
Columbia 3:47
80's Top Ten Hits 2003
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Friends Reunited: 42 Classroom Classics from the 80's 2003
Various Artists
Universal International 0:00
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
50 Years of the Greatest Hit Singles Platinum Collection 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:50
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
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
80's Navi 2005
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
No Image 2005
Various Artists
Columbia
Sing-A-Long Summer 2005
Various Artists
WEA / Warner Special Marketing 3:50
Floorfillers: The Ultimate Party Album 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Wedding Party 2006
Various Artists
ZYX Music 0:00
R35: Rock & Pops Super Hits 2006
Various Artists
WEA 3:51
Superstar of the 80s 2006
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:51
80's Collection 2007
Various Artists
Flashback Records
Jim Beam: Pub Jukebox Classics 2007
Various Artists
Liberation
Absolute Summer 2007
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 3:52
Platinum: Solo Numeros, Vol. 1 2007
Various Artists
Contrasena 3:50
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Rhino 3:53
Top 40 Dance Chart 1980-1995, Vol. 4 2007
Various Artists
Magic 0:00
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
RCA / Sony BMG / Universal Distribution / Zomba / Sony Music Distribution 3:50
TwentyFive 2008 Epic / Aegean / Sony Music 0:00
Ultimate Collection 100 Hits: Eighties 2008
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:52
Gay Top 50 Megamix 2008
Various Artists
Cloud 9 Holland 3:45
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
Best Gay Hits Ever! 2009
Various Artists
Cloud 9 Holland / Various Tunes 3:48
101 Running Songs 2009
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:51
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
Sony Music 3:48
No Image 2010
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:51
Loose Women: Girls' Night Out 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:52
I Love Papa 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music / Sony Music Distribution 3:52
Pure... 80s Dance Party 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:44
Mix 80's, 90's y Más 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:50
Tony Fenton's 50 Favourite No. 1s 2012
Various Artists
EMI 3:51
No Image 2012
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:50
30 Stars of the '80s [US] 2013
Various Artists
SME 3:50
Running Hits: New Balance 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:52
Now That's What I Call 80s Dance 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music / Universal Music TV 3:50
100 Hits: 80s Essentials 2013
Various Artists
100 Hits 3:52
Party Starters 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:52
Now That's What I Call 30 Years 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music / Universal Music TV 3:51
A Night at the Movies [Sony] 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:52
RMF 80's 2014
Various Artists
Universal
Pure... Dance Party 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:51
100 Hits: 80s Classics Karaoke 2014
Various Artists
100 Hits
No Image 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:52
Original Album Classics 2015 Epic / Sony Music 3:50
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
Ultimate Fitness [Sony] 2015
Various Artists
Sony Music
No Image 2015
Various Artists
Legacy
The Nation's Favourite Running Songs 2016
Various Artists
Sony Music
Decades of #1's: 80's 2016
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:50
No Image 2016
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:41
'80s Pop Annual 2017
Various Artists
Demon / Inter
No Image 2017
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:53
Now That's What I Call Now: 100 Hits from 100 Nows! 2018
Various Artists
Now Music
No Image 2019
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music 3:51
100 Hits: Car Songs
Various Artists
100 Hits / Demon Records / Edsel 3:53
1984: A Time To Remember The Classic Years
Various Artists
The CD Card Company / Sony BMG 3:53
20 Jahre Antenne Brandenburg: Rock & Pop
Various Artists
EMI / Mixed Repertoire 3:50
BRIT Awards Decades: '80s
Various Artists
Rhino 3:52
Dance into the Beat: Wham Collection
Various Artists
Strength
Dos Décadas Dance: 1980-1986
Various Artists
Beggars Banquet
Dzien Dobry Bardzo Radio Zet
Various Artists
Sony Music / Sony Music Distribution 3:50
Egb. La Música de una Generación
Various Artists
Warner Music 3:50
G-A-Y [Sony]
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:46
No Image
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:50
No Image
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Molly: Do Yourself a Favor [Original TV Soundtrack]
Original TV Soundtrack
Liberation 3:51
Notte Prima Degli Esami BMG Italy / Sony Music Entertainment
Now That's What I Call 20th Century
Various Artists
Now! 3:51
Now That's What I Call Summer
Various Artists
Sony Music / Universal Music TV 3:47
No Image
Various Artists
Mixed Repertoire
No Image
Various Artists
CBS Records
Party on: The Only Party Album You'll Ever Need
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:52
Sausage Party [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
Original Soundtrack
Sony Classical
Smash Hits '80s Annual
Various Artists
Rhino 3:50
The Time of My Life: The Greatest Hits of the Movies
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:50
Top of the Pops 1967-2001
Various Artists
ZYX Music
Top of the Pops: 1980-1984
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 3:52
Ultimate 80s Dance Party
Various Artists
Legacy
Ultimate Office Party!
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:51
We Call It 80's: 100 Songs To Remember
Various Artists
Fresca / Smith & Co. 3:53