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
Billboard Top Hits: 1984 1984
Various Artists
Rhino 3:54
Make It Big 1984 Columbia 3:50
No Image 1985
Various Artists
CBS / Fox
No Image 1985 CBS / Fox
No Image 1986 CBS / Fox
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 Alex 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
Wonderful World [Dino] 1995
Various Artists
Peter Pan (ISP) 3:51
Ultimate Party Animal Album 1996
Various Artists
Global TV
The Best of Wham!: If You Were There... 1997 Sony Music Distribution 3:51
Eighties Complete, Vol. 2 1997
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:51
Gold and Platinum, Vol. 4: 1980-1984 1997
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:54
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
The Official American Bandstand Library of Rock & Roll 2000
Various Artists
Atlantic 3:52
Number One 80's 2000
Various Artists
PolyGram 3:46
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:52
Modern Rock: Dance 2001
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:53
Zoolander 2001
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood 3:51
Simply the Best Eighties 2001
Various Artists
Warner Music 3:48
Eighties Complete, Vol. 1-3 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:51
No Image 2002
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 3:48
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
Casey Kasem Presents: America's Top Ten - The 80s #1 Pop Hits 2004
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 3:51
Sing-A-Long Summer 2005
Various Artists
WEA / Warner Special Marketing 3:50
R35: Rock & Pops Super Hits 2006
Various Artists
WEA 3:51
No. 1 80s Pop Album 2007
Various Artists
Music Club Deluxe 3:53
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
Now That's What I Call Music: 25 Years 2008
Various Artists
EMI 3:51
100% 80's 2008
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:39
80's Top 100 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:48
Sounds of the 80's Generation 2008
Various Artists
Destra 3:50
101 Running Songs 2009
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 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
Mix 80's, 90's y Más 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:50
Now! That's What I Call Music: 30 Years 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music / Universal Music TV 3:51
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
Molly: Do Yourself a Favor [Original TV Soundtrack]
Original TV Soundtrack
Liberation 3:51
No Image
Various Artists
CBS Records
Party on: The Only Party Album You'll Ever Need
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:52