Year Released: 1984

Notable Songs: “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “Careless Whisper”, “Freedom”, “Everything She Wants”

Album MVP: “Careless Whisper”

Why I Loved It: This title is about as symbolic to an 80s act as it can get, because boy did Wham ever “Make It Big” with this album.  Staying on that symbolic word, this album symbolizes 80’s straight-up pop music as well as anything. Many of you won’t agree but in my opinion this is one of the best albums of the entire decade. If you don’t like hearing that then tough shit—go start your own countdown. While their music on a whole is undeniably a huge slice of 80’s cheese, “Careless Whisper” was pretty fuckin’ deep, man.  Sung entirely by George Michael (his Wham! bandmate, Andrew Ridgely would leave the stage when they would sing this on tour), it’s a song about cheating and regretting it. I didn’t care much for the song’s premise as a 14-year old when it came I simply loved signing a long to Michael’s masterful (yes I said fuckin’ masterful) vocals. By the way this song was No. 14 on my Favorite 100 Songs of the 80s countdown last year. The story of how “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” came about is as fascinating as the song itself.  As i wrote last year when ranking this song No. 19 on the same countdown, “As legend goes, Ridgely 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.”  Add in two more hit songs to the collection and this is one of the very best 80’s albums, it’s as simple as that.

Commercial Success:  Critics don’t think much of Wham but it’s hard to fathom how ridiculously well this album of theirs did commercially. It rose to number-one on the Billboard Top 200 and stayed there for three weeks before Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” knocked it off. It would stay on the charts for 72 weeks and finish 1985 ranked fifth on the year-end Billboard Top 200.  From the album sprung three number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” reached one, spent three weeks on top and finished ’85 third on the year-end Billboard Hot 100.  “Everything She Wants” reached one and stayed there for two weeks.  Of course the biggest hit of all was “Careless Whisper”, which rose to one, stayed there for three weeks and went on to finish 1985 number-one on the year-end Billboard Hot 100. For good measure “Freedom” peaked a three on the Billboard Hot 100, giving the album four top three songs. In total Make It Big has sold more than 10 million copies around the world.

Fun Facts: From “Under the advisement of Ridgeley, they moved on from their leather-wearing, angry and somewhat political sound to a fluffy, flashier, friendlier pop sound. Michael spoke to Q in 1988 about never quite being comfortable with wearing white shorts and all the earrings. “That was so feminine looking!,” he said. “When I look back on that it’s so disgustingly embarrassing. I saw a clip from (‘Wake Me Up Before You) Go-Go’ recently and I thought, Who the f–k is that? What the f–k was I trying to prove? I’ve never really been quite sure who in the audience goes for this look.” Image won over substance with the popularity of MTV, though, and Make it Big went gold in the United States.

After the incredible success of their second album, Michael began to hear a shift in the sound of his songwriting. It resulted in Wham! announcing in 1986 that they would go their separate ways. They played one last farewell show in June to 72,000 fans at Wembley Stadium.”


 100.  Van Halen – OU812 

99. Stevie Wonder – In Squared Circle

98. Taylor Dayne – Can’t Fight Fate

97. Kool & The Gang – Emergency 

96. Stevie B – In My Eyes 

95. Keith Sweat – Make It Last Forever 

94. Michael Bolton – Soul Provider 

93. Go Go’s – Beauty & The Beast 

92. LL Cool J – Bigger And Deffer (Bad) 

91. Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry 

90. Def Leppard – Hysteria

89. New Edition – Heartbreak

88. Don Henley – Building A Perfect Beast

87. Beverly Hills Cop – Movie Soundtrack

86. Culture Club – Kissing To Be Clever 

85. Rolling Stones – Tattoo You

84. Asia – Asia 

83. Tiffany – Tiffany 

82. Lionel Richie – Dancing on the Ceiling

81. Barbara Streisand – Guilty 

80. Phil Collins – …But Seriously 

79. Air Supply – The One That You Love

78. J. Geils Band – Freeze Frame

77. Duran Duran – Rio 

76. Billy Ocean – Suddenly 

75. Run DMC – Raising Hell

74. Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion

73. John Cougar – American Fool

72. Huey Lewis and The News – Picture This

71. Top Gun – Movie Soundtrack

70. Steve Winwood – Back In The High Life

69. Air Supply – Lost In Love

68. LL Cool J – Radio

67. Journey – Frontiers 

66. Styxx – Paradise Theater

65. Madonna – Like A Prayer

64. Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full 

63. Tears for Fears – Songs From The Big Chair

62. Tina Turner – Private Dancer 

61. Steve Nicks – Bella Donna

60. U2 – The Joshua Tree

59. Bon Jovi – New Jersey 

58. Huey Lewis and the News – Fore!

57. Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814

56. Prince – 1999

55. ZZ Top – Eliminator 

54. Survivor – Vital Signs

53. New Edition – New Edition 

52. Dirty Dancing – Movie Soundtrack

51. Foreigner – 4

50. Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

49. Lionel Richie – Lionel Richie 

48. Men at Work – Business As Usual

47. Run DMC – Run DMC

46. Richard Marx – Richard Marx

45. Paula Abdul – Forever Your Girl 

44. Rocky IV – Movie Soundtrack 

43. Tom Petty – Full Moon River 

42. Whitney Houston – Whitney 

41, REO Speedwagon – Hi Infidelity 

40. Christopher Cross – Christopher Cross

39. Culture Club – Colour By Numbers 

38. Chicago – Chicago 17

37. Bryan Adams – Reckless

36. Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet

35. Heart – Heart 

34. Def Leppard – Pyromania 

33. Toto -Toto IV

32. The Police – Ghost In the Machine 

31. Madonna – Madonna

30. New Kids On The Block – Hangin’ Tough

29. Hall and Oates – H20

28. Don Henley – The End Of The Innocence

27. The Police – Synchronicity 

26. Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

25. Beastie Boys – Licensed To Ill

24. Hall & Oates – Private Eyes

23. Neil Diamond – The Jazz Singer

22. Madonna – Like A Virgin

21. Debbie Gibson – Out Of The Blue

20. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel 

19. Journey – Escape 

18. Billy Joel – An Innocent Man 

17. Van Halen – 1984

16. Janet Jackson – Control 

15. Madonna – True Blue 

14. Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual 

13. George Michael – Faith