Single Of The Week 06/02/98

Single Of The Week is where I review a single I'm particularly enamoured of at the moment. It might be a brand spanking new release, or a classic from decades past that I just feel like going on about.

ES 1001

Way back when Gusworld was just a young site in short pants, I wrote in one of my rants about how 'Freedom' was a very neglected part of the Wham! back catalogue. The more recent release of the If You Were There Wham! best-of has got me reflecting on this fabulous track once more.

Perhaps part of the reason why the song has been so neglected is that, at the time it became a hit in Australia and the UK in late 1984, it didn't have an official video. George and Andrew actually started on one in September of that year, but, to quote George:

We did one day's shooting which was very unremarkable and then the second day I turned up at the Adelphi Theatre and poor Andrew was surrounded by all these dancers in leg warmers! All kind of prancing about. And he just said to me, "look Yog, this is absolute shit. What are we doing?" And I said, "I know -- you're right. We're going to have to stop this, aren't we?" So we took the director aside and said, "look, it's really not your fault -- we didn't talk to you enough -- but this is not going to work." And we just cancelled it. It cost us about 40,000 quid and we didn't get anything out of it. I haven't even seen the footage from that first day.

That impediment wasn't enough to stop the single going to #1 in the UK and Top 5 in Australia; after all, as you can see in the picture above, the band were so well known that they didn't even need to put their name (or the name of the song) on the cover. But perhaps that lack of visual identity explains why, whenever you mention Wham! to someone casually, 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go' always wins the race for mindshare.

When 'Freedom' was eventually released in the US, more than a year later, a video was assembled with footage from Wham's China tour, and this can be found on the The Best Of Wham! video collection (which, like its parent album, doesn't include 'Bad Boys', which is very naughty). It's kinda cute, but it still would have been fun to see this song done properly on film. Maybe Robbie Williams can do a cover version?

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