Careless Whisper

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"Careless Whisper"
Single by George Michael
from the album Make It Big
B-side"Careless Whisper" (Instrumental version)
Released24 July 1984 (1984-07-24) (UK)
1 February 1985 (1985-02-01) (U.S.)
Format12" maxi
7" single
Recorded1984
GenrePop, blue-eyed soul, smooth jazz
Length5:04 (Single version)
6:30 (Album version)
LabelColumbia
Writer(s)George Michael
Andrew Ridgeley
ProducerGeorge Michael
CertificationPlatinum (RIAA, BPI)
Wham! singles (USA) chronology
"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"
(1984)
"Careless Whisper"
(1984)
"Freedom"
(1984)
Alternative covers
12-Inch single cover
Audio sample
Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
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"Careless Whisper"
Single by George Michael
from the album Make It Big
B-side"Careless Whisper" (Instrumental version)
Released24 July 1984 (1984-07-24) (UK)
1 February 1985 (1985-02-01) (U.S.)
Format12" maxi
7" single
Recorded1984
GenrePop, blue-eyed soul, smooth jazz
Length5:04 (Single version)
6:30 (Album version)
LabelColumbia
Writer(s)George Michael
Andrew Ridgeley
ProducerGeorge Michael
CertificationPlatinum (RIAA, BPI)
Wham! singles (USA) chronology
"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"
(1984)
"Careless Whisper"
(1984)
"Freedom"
(1984)
Alternative covers
12-Inch single cover
Audio sample
Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.
file info · help

"Careless Whisper" is a 1984 single by George Michael (credited to "Wham!" in Canada and the US), released by Epic Records in the UK, Japan, and other countries; and by Columbia Records in North America. The song was George Michael's first solo single although he was still performing in Wham! at the time (the song is included on Wham!'s album Make It Big). The song features a prominent saxophone riff, and has been covered by a number of artists since its first release. It was released as a single and became a huge commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic. It reached number one in nearly 25 countries, selling about six million copies worldwide.

History[edit]

Unlike all the other Wham! singles (except "Wham Rap!" and "Club Tropicana"), it was co-written by Andrew Ridgeley, the other member of the duo. The two had written it together as unknowns three years earlier, when Michael was working as a cinema usher in Watford, England. In a June 2006 interview on London radio station Magic 105.4, Michael said that he wrote it "in his head" during work and that he recalls coming up with the saxophone riff whilst boarding a number 32 bus on the way home.[1]

The song went through at least two rounds of production. The first was during a trip Michael made to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where he went to work with producer Jerry Wexler at Muscle Shoals Studio. Michael was unhappy with the version that was originally produced and decided to re-record and produce the song himself, this time coming up with the version that was finally released. The version Wexler produced did, however, see the light of day, but only later on, as a (4:41) B-side "Special Version" on 12", released in the UK.

The record label Innvervision were going to put out the Jerry Wexler version of Careless Whisper after the Club Fantastic Megamix as far back as 1983. Dick Leahy stated in George Michael's autobiography [2] that while he couldn't stop the release of the Club Fantastic Megamix, he could stop the release of this single on the basis that as a publisher they "have the right to grant the first license of the recording of a tune of which he controls the copyright".[2] He couldn't do anything about the Club Fantastic Megamix because it was already released material. He said: "We knew how big that song could be so it was necessary to upset a few people to stop it."[2]

The officially released single, a mid-tempo ballad with a saxophone solo by Steve Gregory, was issued in August 1984, entering the UK singles chart at number 12. Within two weeks, it was at number one, ending a nine-week run at the top for "Two Tribes" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. It stayed at number one for three weeks, going on to become the fifth best-selling single of 1984 in the United Kingdom; it was outsold only by the two Frankie Goes to Hollywood tracks "Two Tribes" and "Relax," Stevie Wonder with "I Just Called to Say I Love You" and Band Aid with "Do They Know It's Christmas." The song also topped the charts in 25 other countries, including the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in February 1985 under the credit "Wham! featuring George Michael". Spending three weeks at the top in America, the song was later named Billboard's number-one song of 1985.

Michael has been critical of the song saying it "was not an integral part of my emotional development" [3] which he found sad because of the song meaning so much to so many people. He went on to say:

It disappoints me that you can write a lyric very flippantly - and not a particularly good lyric - and it can mean so much to so many people. That's disillusioning for a writer.[3]

Music video[edit]

The music video shows the guilt felt by a man over an affair, and his acknowledgement that his partner was always going to find out. It was taped on location in Miami during June 1984 and features such locales as Coconut Grove and Watson Island. The final part of the video shows Michael leaning out of a balcony at the last floor of Miami's Grove Towers.[4]

Cover versions[edit]

Recorded[edit]

The song has been covered by many other artists, including 2Play (2005), Bananarama (2001) on Exotica album, Brian McKnight (2007) and Kenny G featuring McKnight (2004) from At Last...The Duets Album.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley

7": Epic / A 4603 (UK)
No.TitleLength
1."Careless Whisper" (Radio Edit)5:04
2."Careless Whisper" (Instrumental)5:02
12": Epic / TA4603 (UK)
No.TitleLength
1."Careless Whisper" (Extended Mix)6:31
2."Careless Whisper" (Instrumental)5:02
12": Columbia / 44-05170 (US)
No.TitleLength
1."Careless Whisper" (Extended Mix)6:20
2."Careless Whisper" (Instrumental)4:52
12" Maxi: Epic / QTA 4603 (UK) - Special Edition
No.TitleLength
1."Careless Whisper" (Extended Mix)6:31
2."Careless Whisper" (Jerry Wexler Special Version)5:34
3."Careless Whisper" (Condensed Instrumental Version)4:52

Personnel[edit]

Charts and sales[edit]

Peak positions[edit]

Chart (1984)Peak
position
Australian Singles Chart[7]1
Austrian Singles Chart[8]2
Dutch Top 40 Singles Chart[9]1
French SNEP Singles Chart[10]3
Germany Singles Chart[11]3
Irish Singles Chart[12]1
Italian Singles Chart[13]1
Japanese Oricon Singles Chart[14]4
Japanese Oricon International Chart[15]1
Norwegian Singles Chart[16]2
South African Singles Chart[17]1
Swedish Singles Chart[18]2
Swiss Singles Chart[19]1
UK Singles Chart[20]1
Chart (1985)Peak
position
Canadian The Record[21]2
Canadian RPM Top Singles1
US Billboard Hot 100[22]1
US Hot Black Singles8
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks[22]1

Sales and certifications[edit]

RegionCertificationSales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[23]Platinum100,000^
France (SNEP)[24]Silver585,000[25]
Japan (RIAJ)204,000[26]
Netherlands (NVPI)[27]Platinum100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[28]Platinum1,450,000[29]
United States (RIAA)[30]Platinum1,000,000^
Total available sales:3,439,000

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Order of precedence
Preceded by
"Two Tribes" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
UK number-one single
18 August 1984 – 1 September 1984
Succeeded by
"I Just Called to Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
18 August 1984 – 1 September 1984
Preceded by
"Smalltown Boy" by Bronski Beat
Dutch Top 40 number-one single
8 September 1984 – 6 October 1984
Preceded by
"What's Love Got to Do with It" by Tina Turner
Australian Kent Music Report number one single
17 September 1984 – 8 October 1984
Preceded by
"Such a Shame" by Talk Talk
Swiss number-one single
30 September 1984 – 21 October 1984
Succeeded by
"I Just Called to Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder
Preceded by
"Like a Virgin" by Madonna
Canadian RPM number-one single
26 January 1985 – 2 February 1985
Succeeded by
"Easy Lover" by Philip Bailey with Phil Collins
Preceded by
"You're the Inspiration" by Chicago
Billboard Adult Contemporary (chart) number-one single
9 February 1985 – 9 March 1985
Succeeded by
"Too Late for Goodbyes" by Julian Lennon
Preceded by
"I Want to Know What Love Is" by Foreigner
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
16 February 1985 – 2 March 1985
Succeeded by
"Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon
Preceded by
"When Doves Cry" by Prince
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single of the year
1985
Succeeded by
"That's What Friends Are For" by Dionne and Friends

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The complete guide to the music of George Michael & Wham! L Ellis… - 1998 - Music Sales Group
  2. ^ a b c Bare by George Michael and Tony Parsons, Penguin Books, 1991. Page 112 ISBN 0-14-013235-X
  3. ^ a b Bare by George Michael and Tony Parsons, Penguin Books, 1991. Page 166 ISBN 0-14-013235-X
  4. ^ Grove Towers from Google's streetview
  5. ^ "Joyride overview". Allmusic.com. 
  6. ^ "Edward Valentine - Careless Whisper - Music Charts". Acharts.us. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  7. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1984 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  8. ^ "Careless Whisper", Austrian Singles Chart Austriancharts.at (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
  9. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 36, 1984". Retrieved 27 Feb 2008. 
  10. ^ "Careless Whisper", French SNEP Singles Chart Lescharts.com (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
  11. ^ German Singles Chart Charts-surfer.de (Retrieved 30 July 2008)
  12. ^ Irish Singles Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved 17 April 2008)
  13. ^ Hit parade Italia (Retrieved 31 May 2008)
  14. ^ Japanese Oricon Year-end Singles Chart of 1985 (Retrieved 1 August 2008)
  15. ^ List of number-one singles on the Japanese Oricon International Chart (1968-2000)
  16. ^ "Careless Whisper", Norwegian Singles Chart Norwegiancharts.com (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
  17. ^ "Careless Whisper", South African Chart [1] (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
  18. ^ "Careless Whisper", Swedish Singles Chart Swedishcharts.com (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
  19. ^ "Careless Whisper", Swiss Singles Chart Hitparade.ch (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
  20. ^ "Careless Whisper", UK Singles Chart BBC.co.uk (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
  21. ^ Lwin, Nanda. Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide (2000). Mississsauga, Ont.: Music Data Canada
  22. ^ a b Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
  23. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Wham – Careless Whisper". Music Canada. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  24. ^ "French single certifications – George Michael – Careless Whisper" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select GEORGE MICHAEL and click OK
  25. ^ "Les Singles en Argent :" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  26. ^ "List of best-selling international singles in Japan". JP&KIYO. 2002. 
  27. ^ "Dutch single certifications – George Michael – Careless Whisper" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  28. ^ "British single certifications – George Michael – Careless Whisper". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Careless Whisper in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Click Go
  29. ^ Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  30. ^ "American single certifications – Wham – Careless Whisper". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 27 June 2012.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]