"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," singer George Michael told Rolling Stone in 1984 about "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."
"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," the singer continued about the breakout track. "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 (drum machine) because the drummer was late, and it was such a good track that we kept it."
Originally released as a single in England on May 14, 1984 (the song wouldn't officially arrive in America until August of that year), "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" climbed to the Number One spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 17, 1984. The song was Wham's first #1 in both the UK and America. It held the top spot in America for three straight weeks before being dethroned by Hall & Oates' "Out of Touch."
“When we started at the beginning of the year with ‘Wake Me Up’, that was the first surprise of the year for me, because I could see that in commercial terms it was a great leap," Michael told Record Mirror in November 1984. "We already knew we had ‘Careless Whisper’ to come out, also we already knew about ‘Last Christmas’ – which is our next single – ‘cos I’d written that in February. It’s real slush, sleigh bells and everything. We knew we had three singles that were potential number ones and that we’d take one single off the album – which hadn’t been written then. Our goal was, all things being perfect, we’d get four number ones this year."
Talking about speaking your dreams into reality: Wham! would go on to have four #1 hits in the UK that year: "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Careless Whisper," "Freedom" and "Everything She Wants." Only "Freedom" would fail to top the US charts, peaking at #3.