Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Careless Whisper" by Wham! featuring George Michael

#1 Alert!
Platinum Record Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  2190
Date:  12/22/1984
Debut:  37
Peak:  1 (3 weeks)
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Pop, Blue-Eyed Soul

**A shout-out to a watchful reader who pointed out correctly that I missed covering this song! On the actual chart it was mislabeled as a re-entry and since I look for ones listed in bold as "NEW," I overlooked this song, especially since it debuted very high on the chart far apart from the rest of the week's debuts. So here is a catch-up entry! I think it's only the second song I missed in five years, so I guess that's not too bad!

Pop Bits:  After enjoying four Top 10's in their UK homeland, Wham! finally broke through in the US with the #1 "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," the first single from their second album Make It Big. For the follow-up, this ballad would be issued. However, since George Michael had recorded this song off on his own without his bandmate Andrew Ridgeley, it was decided that this single would be credited as a solo effort from Michael. In most countries, the single was listed as by George Michael. However, in a few places (such as the US) it was thought better to keep the Wham! name on the single to help associate it with the album. Therefore, the US credit turned into "Wham! featuring George Michael." Regardless of the credit, the song grabbed a spot in the Top 40 in its debut week and proceeded to head to the top spot. It would also reach #1 at AC and #8 at R&B. With the song debuting at the very end of '84, nearly its full chart run would then take place in '85. Because of that, it became the #1 charting single for 1985.

ReduxReview:  The one thing that I always remember about this song is the line "guilty feet have got no rhythm." I was in a songwriters class at college when this came out and the professor initially though the line was "guilty feelings, got no rhythm," which he thought was a great line. When he found out it was "guilty feet," he was so bummed. He railed on about it and thought that line ruined a great song. Frankly, I liked the "guilty feet" and didn't know why the line so perturbed him. Regardless, the song is classic 80s and it took George Michael's star to a whole new level. It showed what he was capable of and it led to bigger hits and Grammy recognition.


Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) For the most part, George Michael wrote the majority of the songs for Wham! However, this is one song that both he and Ridgeley worked on together. Most of the song had been created by Michael, who got a musical idea for the song when he was 17 and riding a bus to a DJ gig. The famous sax line came first and then the rest followed. Ridgeley assisted in completing the song later. However, Ridgeley didn't participate in the recording of the song and even though it appeared on the Make It Big album, it turned into a George Michael solo single.  2) Michael recorded this song twice. First, he flew to the famed Muscle Shoals recording studio in Alabama and recorded it with the legendary producer Jerry Wexler. Once completed, Michael decided it wasn't what he had in mind for the song. He went back to the UK and produced a new version himself. That version is the one that ended up being used. The Wexler version got a release later in the UK as the b-side to a special 12" extended version of the song. (I've heard this version and I must say that Michael was right in redoing the song. Wexler did a solid job and gave the song an older blue-eyed soul feel, but Michael's was spot on for the time and for Wham's sound. And his vocal was better.)


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