Song:Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
Album:Make It Big
Though in the end, Wham! was a footnote in launching George Michael to a successful solo career, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go was a huge hit and I don't know if Michael is a successful solo artist without it. Michael and Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley were schoolmates in Bushey, England. At first they were in a ska band called The Executive. But when that split up, they formed Wham! and signed with Innervision Records with CBS distribution. The problem was they were so eager to be successful, they signed a terrible contract and they would have to sue Innervision to get out of it. So Michael was the lead singer and he wrote all the songs. Clearly it was inevitable that he would be a solo artist. They scored some top ten hits in England like Young Guns (Go For It), Wham Rap!, Bad Boys and Club Tropicana that Epic in the US expressed interest in releasing Wham! in the US. For one thing, teen girls went nuts over Wham!. But they had to get out of their Innervision contract. They closed in 1985. So now that Wham! were on Epic worldwide, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go blitzed the world and made Wham! pop stars. It was a worldwide chart topper and the album Make It Big was certified 6XPlatinum. Michael got the idea for the song from a note Ridgely wrote to his parents. He says he just wanted it to be an upbeat pop song. The next single Careless Whispers was sold more as a Michael solo record and it was also a huge hit. The interesting thing is Ridgeley co-wrote Careless Whispers so that song made him wealthy. From there, things started to fall apart. Wham! went to China in 1985 with much hoopla. Lindsay Anderson was supposed to make a documentary about the tour. But the film was not released. A re-edited version was released on DVD in 2006. The split was coming so Wham! released a final album in 1986 which was a rehash of previously released material. Then Michael went solo and we all know how successful he was. Ridgeley moved to Monaco and tried auto racing. Then he moved to Los Angeles to try acting. After returning to England, Epic agreed to release the 1990 album Son Of Albert. It didn't sell and Ridgeley quit the music business. He lives off of the Careless Whispers royalties. He rarely appears in public. Wham! was supposed to reunite in 2005 but Ridgeley backed out. So of course Wham! had the potential to be much bigger if they had stayed together. It just wasn't in the cards. Here's the video for Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham!.