Make It Big - Track #1 - 1984 - Performed by Wham! - Written by Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael

Wake me up before you go-go
Don't leave me hanging on like a yo-yo
Wake me up before you go-go
I don't want to miss it when you hit that high
Wake me up before you go-go
'Cause I'm not plannin' on going solo
Wake me up before you go-go
Take me dancing tonight
I wanna hit that high

Wham!'s first big single in the United States, this song was nearly inescapable in 1984 in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and in a variety of other locales across the world, topping the UK singles chart for two weeks in early June (and probably for longer if not for the UK's obsession with Frankie Goes To Hollywood that summer), the Australian singles chart for five weeks in July and August, and the United States singles chart in late November and early December for two weeks. The song is sugary, repetitive, and deeply infectious, which is the recipe for a massive hit; add in an attractive, young vocalist with a very strong voice in George Michael and you have a phenomenon.

I so fondly remember that Thanksgiving holiday when you could barely turn on the radio without hearing Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. I was in first grade then and my regular babysitter was a pop music junkie. She idolized Cyndi Lauper and Wham!, and her clothing and appearance made that evident; she made herself up to look like Cyndi, but she rarely appeared then without wearing a white Wham! tee.

Her name was Angela, and she was the first girl I ever had a crush on.

You put the boom-boom into my heart
You send my soul sky high when your lovin' starts
Jitterbug into my brain

She would come over to watch me while my parents were out for the evening, smelling fresh and clean and looking like a younger version of Cyndi Lauper. She'd bring a pile of singles with her and sometimes her flute; her family was very encouraging of her interest in music and thus she would get a new single record each week.

She was so beautiful, so different, so funny. She gave me a "Frankie Say Relax" t-shirt for my birthday that year, and I would always wear it when she would come to watch me. As soon as my parents left, she would put her newest single on the turntable and the two of us would dance around the living room singing along to it.

Wake Me Up Before You Go Go was our song, I guess.

Goes a bang-bang-bang 'til my feet do the same
But something's bugging you
Something ain't right

Angela would often put a heavy layer of makeup on me, and I was quite willing to let her do it, because she would be so close to me when she applied the makeup. She would paint my lips and cheeks, and I would look at her and feel as though I was full of thousands and thousands of tiny bubbles, filling me up to the point where I felt like I was going to explode.

We would dance to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, with a few other songs randomly thrown in, for hours in the living room. We would face each other and sing along the words from memory, and I felt so jubilant and completely free, as though the entire world were a nonstop magic carpet ride.

You take the grey skies out of my way
You make the sun shine brighter than Doris Day
Turned a bright spark into a flame
My beats per minute never been the same

After a few hours of dancing and singing and just being close to Angela, I would almost pass out from being tired, and she would pick me up and hold me in her arms. I remember so often being on the verge of sleep, looking up at her with my eyelids heavy, and seeing her smiling down at me and singing wake me up before you go go I don't want to miss it when you hit that high in a soft little whisper. I would fall asleep in her arms, and she would carry me to bed and tuck me in and I would have dreams where the two of us would run away together and sing on stage at a Wham! concert.

For Christmas that year, Angela spent several hours making a handful of cassette mix tapes from her mass of singles; she had a stereo system that allowed her to copy her records to cassette. I received three full cassettes of the highlights of early to mid 1980s pop music, chosen and assembled with loving care by a girl who had stolen my heart completely.

My best friend told me what you did last night
Left me sleepin' in my bed
I was dreaming, but I should have been with you instead.

All good things must eventually come to an end, and it wasn't long before my parents would just leave me at home alone; they felt I was old enough to stay at home without needing Angela to come over. I missed her terribly every time my parents would leave, and I would listen to those tapes and sing along when everyone else was gone, but it wasn't the same.

Angela is now married and works as a real estate agent; she has three kids and a wonderful husband and her eyes still have that sparkle they had so many years ago. I bump into her every once in a while and we exchange a friendly hello, but I have never told her how much of an impact she had on me.

'Cause you're my lady, I'm your fool
It makes me crazy when you act so cruel
Come on, baby, let's not fight
We'll go dancing, everything will be all right

How can you even explain the complete magic of a childhood crush, in all of its simplistic but yet unforgettable beauty? For me, there is no better way to describe it than to point to a catchy pop song, and Wake Me Up Before You Go Go is a prime example of it.

In the end, it is the shared experience that is important, not the pop music.

CST Approved

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