The song’s title, apparently, started as a joke.
Wham!’s Andrew Ridgeley had left a note for his parents one night, meaning to ask them to “wake me up before you go” in the morning. The note came out as “wake me up up before you go”, so – poking fun at himself – Ridgeley added the second “go”.
George Michael thought the “go-go” part could work as a song for the planned new image of Wham!, which was shifting gears from moody rockers to lovable pop stars. Clearly, it worked, as the next two years made Wham! household names around the world, until Michael’s solo ambitions ended the group in 1986.
For me, honestly, the real attraction of the video was the blonde on the far right… I always wondered whatever happened to her. Well, when researching this post, I found out that at the time “Wake Me Up” came out, she was dating Ridgeley. Later, she branched out from Wham! to form a short-lived singing duo with another of the group’s backup singers, Pepsi and Shirlie – she was Shirlie Holliman then. Today, she’s Shirlie Kemp, married to Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp for almost 25 years, which included helping him through his fight with brain tumors. She’s currently managing a music production business, and doing very sporadic appearances with Pepsi & Shirlie.
I didn’t realize this when I compiled my posting schedule in late 2011 – but Wham! is one of the only acts where I’ve featured all of their #1 hits (not counting the one-hit wonders). I guess I listened to them more than I probably wanted to admit back in the day…
Tomorrow, one of the first blockbuster hits of the 21st Century…
Other songs that reached #1 on November 17:
1958 – “Tom Dooley” by the Kingston Trio (their first, 1 week)
1962 – “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by the 4 Seasons (their second, 5 weeks)
1979 – “Still” by the Commodores (their second, 1 week)