Alright, people. Not every song needs to be about lost love, making love, world peace, imperative social issues or scorned revenge to be a classic tune. Every now and then it’s alright to simply say what the fuck ever, and have a little joy in your life.
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go may be the most innocently fun song of the 1980s, and I’m not at all embarrassed to confess it’s a tune I loved hearing and dancing to.
The story of how the song came about is sort of fascinating. As legend goes, Andrew Ridgely (the “other” singer in the group AKA not George Michael) lived at home with his parents even after Wham established themselves in the U.K. because he was always one the road, and also maybe too cheap to get his own place. One morning Ridgely needed an early wake up call so he left a note for his mother asking to “wake me up up.” After realizing he accidently duplicated the word up, he intentionally did the same with the last line of his note, which read “before you go go.” George Michael saw the note, found it funny and sure enough , it eventually became their first signature hit in America.
It’s fluff—great fluff during an era that was dominated by just about every other type of music on the radio. Far as I’m concerned, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go is uncontrollably affable and so happy-go-lucky it’s for all intents and purposes, a tune impractical to hate.
If you had the record (and I did) here’s the bonus— the B side is a completely unnecessary instrumental version. Keep that dance party going, baby!
Here’s the bad news—even if you don’t like the song, once you hear it you simply can’t extricate it from your mind. Cynics feel this song tormented an entire generation. I feel like those cynics are assholes.
This may be the happiest song that’s ever been made. Just embrace the damn thing!
Chart Success: This went all the way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, because why wouldn’t it? It remained number-one for three weeks before getting knocked off by Hall and Oates’ “Out of Touch.” It spent 24 weeks on the chart and finished 1985 third on the year-end Billboard Hot 100 (more on the number one song that year later in this countdown).
Great Lyrics: If you want to hate a song with the lyrics talking about the “boom boom” into your heart, then maybe you don’t have a heart at all.
“You put the boom boom into my heart,
You send my soul sky high when your lovin’ starts.
Jitterbug into my brain,
Goes bang bang bang till my feet do the same.
But something’s bugging me
Something ain’t right
My best friend told me
Where you were last night.”
Fun Facts: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go has been a favorite on many movie soundtracks. Those include The Wedding Singer, Charlie’s Angels, Zoolander (1 and 2), Talladega Nights, Heartbreaker, Happy Feet 2 and Sausage Party.
Long live Wham!
100. Hall & Oates – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)
99. Michael McDonald – I Keep Forgetting
97. The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Does Is Magic
96. Madonna – Papa Don’t Preach
94. Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time
93. Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone
92. Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes
89. Journey – Don’t Stop Believing
87. Debbie Gibson – Foolish Beat
86. Glen Mederios – Nothing’s Going To Change My Love For You
85. John Cougar – Jack and Diane
81. Billy Squier – Everybody Wants You
79. Shelia E. – The Glamorous Life
77. Whitney Houston – Greatest Love Of All
76. Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson – Say Say Say
75. Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)
74. Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It
73. Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie
72. The Police – Every Breathe You Take
71. Survivor – The Search Is Over
70. REO Speedwagon – Keep On Loving You
68. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
67. Kenny Loggins – Meet Me Halfway
66. Irene Cara – Flashdance…What A Feeling
65. Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It
64. Phil Collins – One More Night
63. Europe – The Final Countdown
62. Patrick Swazye – She’s Like The Wind
61. Matthew Wilder – Break My Stride
60. Men Without Hats – Safety Dance
59. Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf
58. Huey Lewis & The News – Power Of Love
55. Styx – Too Much Time On My Hands
53. Olivia Newton John – Physical
49. Marvin Gaye- Sexual Healing
48. Huey Lewis & The News – Do You Believe In Love
44. New Edition – Mr. Telephone Man
43. Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA
42. Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World
41. Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody
39. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark
38. Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
37. Christopher Cross – Sailing
34. Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is
33. Pat Benatar – Love Is A Battlefield
32. USA For Africa- We Are The World
30. Kenny Loggins – I’m Free (Heaven Helps The Man)
29. Dexys Midnite Runners – Come On Eileen
28. J. Geils Band – Centerfold
27. Hall & Oates – Private Eyes
24. Men At Work – Who Can It Be Now
23. Eddie Murphy – Party All The Time
22. Jermaine Stewart – We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off
21. Don Henley – Dirty Laundry
20. Scorpions – Still Loving You