Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Wham! 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go'

Chart Peak: 1 [2 weeks]


At about the 1:14 mark in this video, George Michael is wearing a pink shirt, tight shorts, fingerless gloves and ear-rings and singing "You make the sun shine brighter than Doris Day." 14 years later he announced he was gay, whoever would have guessed etc.

'Wake Me Up' was Wham!'s first Number One and marks the start of their hugeness: presumably its placement as track 24 on Now 3 represents an attempt to spread the big songs throughout the album, rather than an attempt to bury the song. It's a turning point in their career too, as they moved away from the political and social commentary of early songs like 'Young Guns' and 'Wham! Rap' in favour of glossier, more straightforward lyrics allied to a Sixties musical pastiche - or at least what George Michael would have thought was a Sixties sound at the time, it's now rather obviously of its time. Despite the presence of a drummer in the video, the drums on the track are synthesised, just as Pepsi and Shirlie are clearly miming to Michael's backing vocal for most of the song. And as much as I realise that the video isn't really part of the remit of this blog (it doesn't even have the excuse of being on the VHS version of Now 3) it's hard not to notice it, because it seemed so much a part of the success of the duo, and seemed so emblematic of the times: even I can remember people wearing those CHOOSE LIFE t-shirts and variations on them, although I don't recall that Andrew Ridgeley's Foreign Legion-style helmet ever took off in the same way. The song and video seem to have fixed most people's idea of what they were, much to Michael's later annoyance but the more pompous and self-regarding his solo career gets the more time I have for daffy little numbers like this one. Not a song I'd go out of my way to listen to, but I can at least admit to its qualities now.

Also appearing on: Now 7
Available on: The Final

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