“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” is one of those lines drilled into your head if you grew up in the 80s, and Wham! was a band that everyone fondly remembers jamming to.
No band is more uniquely 1980s than Wham!. It was 1984 when Wham! released its second album, aptly named “Make It Big” which undoubtedly made the band one of the most popular of the mid-80s.
Their first single, entitled “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, was an instant success and by November 1984 it had climbed its way to the number one spot on the Billboard charts.
Not only was it able to climb the charts in the US, but it also climbed to the number one spot in the UK and held onto the position for 3 weeks.
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
George Michael was the author of the song “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”. His own bandmate, Andrew Ridgeley had left a hand-scribbled note for his parents asking them to wake him up.
But, in writing the note he accidentally wrote the word “up” twice, which inspired George Michael to use the word “go” twice in the title of the song. It took the band only two days to record the song at a studio in London.
With a scribbled note as inspiration for the song title, George Michael set about writing the most energetic song he could possibly muster. He wanted to combine some of the best elements of the 50s and 60s with current pop music trends.
As a result, he was able to provide a more up-tempo beat that strung a chord with both young and old. The moment you heard the word “jitterbug” at the beginning of the song, your feet and head would begin tapping along to the beat.
“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” In Zoolander
Despite having been written back in 1984, and climbing all the way to the top of worldwide music charts, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” still remains in the limelight as a result of pop culture. The song appeared in a number of films and television shows throughout the 90s and into the new millennium. One of the most popular renditions of the song appears in the movie is Zoolander:
In the film, Zoolander’s male model friends had pulled into a gas station to fill up the tank of their old Ford Bronco. And as the song fades in, the models, being models, began to have a wet fight.
Only they did not fight using water as would be expected, rather they started spraying each other down with gasoline from the pumps which leads to a fiery disaster. In retrospect, Zoolander referred to the incident as a “freak gasoline fight accident”.
The “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” Music Video
Like many songs of the 1980s, the success of “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” can be widely attributed to MTV. As the video starts, the band members can be seen on a stage wearing a “Choose Life” T-shirt as the steady beat rolls in.
Before any verse is sung, the video starts off by repeating the word “Jitterbug” four times in a row, with the sound of a finger snapping in between each repetition. The reference to the jitterbug, was an ode to a very popular 1930s dance.
Unlike other songs in the 1980s, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” entered the UK singles chart all the way up at the number four position, and it only took a few days for the song to find its way up to the number one spot.
Across the pond, the song climbed its way up to the number one spot in the Billboard charts and stayed there for over 3 weeks. To date, their official YouTube video has over 12 million views.