Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In Music, November 17th

On this day in 1984: Wham! went to #1 on the U.S. singles chart with “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” It was first released as a single in the U.K. on May 14, 1984. It became their first U.K. and U.S. #1 hit. It was written and produced by George Michael. The single was certified platinum in the U.S., which at the time commemorated sales of over two million copies.

Michael’s inspiration for the song was a scribbled note that his bandmate Andrew Ridgeley had left for his parents, intended to read “wake me up before you go” but with “up” accidentally written twice, so Ridgeley wrote “go” twice on purpose.

In 1984, George Michael had this to say on the development of the song: I just wanted to make a really energetic pop record that had all the best elements of Fifties and Sixties records, combined with our attitude and our approach, which is obviously more uptempo and a lot younger than some of those records. It’s one of those tracks that gets rid of a lot of your own personal influences; it reminds me of so many different records that I couldn’t actually nail them down. I’d done a demo at home that just had a bass line and a vocal on it. Usually, I write the record in my head; I know what all the parts are going to be and I sing them to all our musicians. And it was great. … We actually did it as a rehearsal. We used a LinnDrum because the drummer was late, and it was such a good track that we kept it.

The song entered the U.K. singles chart at #4 after much hype from the duo claiming they would go straight to #1 which was a rare occurrence then – and climbed to the top spot seven days later, staying there for two weeks. The song also went to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, holding the top spot for three weeks.

Here’s a look at the Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1984:

1 4 WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU GO-GO –•– Wham! (Columbia)-11 (1 Week at #1) (1)
2 3 PURPLE RAIN –•– Prince & The Revolution (Warner Brothers)-7 (2)
3 1 CARIBBEAN QUEEN (No More Love On The Run) Billy Ocean (Jive)-15 (1)
4 5 I FEEL FOR YOU –•– Chaka Khan (Warner Brothers)-11 (4)
5 2 I JUST CALLED TO SAY I LOVE YOU –•– Stevie Wonder (Motown)-14 (1)
6 6 OUT OF TOUCH –•– Daryl Hall & John Oates (RCA)-8 (6)
7 7 BETTER BE GOOD TO ME –•– Tina Turner (Capitol)-10 (7)
8 11 STRUT –•– Sheena Easton (EMI-America)-13 (8)
9 12 ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT –•– Cyndi Lauper (Portrait)-7 (9)
10 13 PENNY LOVER –•– Lionel Richie (Motown)-7 (10)

11 8 BLUE JEAN –•– David Bowie (EMI-America)-10 (8)
12 10 DESERT MOON –•– Dennis DeYoung (A&M)-11 (10)
13 9 HARD HABIT TO BREAK –•– Chicago (Full Moon / Warner Brothers)-16 (3)
14 19 NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS –•– Paul McCartney (Columbia)-6 (14)
15 18 WHAT ABOUT ME? –•– Kenny Rogers, Kim Carnes & James Ingram (RCA)-10 (15)
16 22 COOL IT NOW –•– New Edition (MCA)-9 (16)
17 20 THE WAR SONG –•– Culture Club (Virgin)-7 (17)
18 25 SEA OF LOVE –•– The Honeydrippers (Es Paranza)-6 (18)
19 28 THE WILD BOYS –•– Duran Duran (Capitol)-3 (19)
20 24 I CAN’T HOLD BACK –•– Survivor (Scotti Brothers)-10 (20)

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