We’ve all felt it.
The way a song can take you instantly back to the moment you first heard the song. The place you were comes flooding back, the smell, the temperature, who you were with. You also remember what you were thinking at that time. What you were going through, who you were happy with, or maybe who you weren’t happy with too.
One of those songs was “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” by Wham. I remember exactly where I was when I first heard it. I had a late pickup and delivery route and it was about 6:30 on a Friday night. I knew my friends would soon be going out to the restaurant where I would meet them later. I was ready to be done with work and get the weekend started. As I’m driving down Union Ave in midtown Memphis I heard the now familiar opening beats and ‘Jitterbug’. What was this?
Backing up a bit, 1984 was a strange period for me and my friends. We were out of college and not exactly sure what was going to happen next in our lives, in our country. Music and friends were the two escapes from the daily grind. From the beginning the song was different. It was oddly upbeat and positive. Prince’s “When Doves Cry”, John Waite’s “Missing You” and Elton John’s “Sad Song” were all released that year. To hear such a dare I say ‘happy’ song was unusual. I was a die hard rock fan, and didn’t have much time for fluffy pop music. But I was hooked immediately on the beat and the incredibly catchy chorus. Its optimism was evident, if not necessarily in the lyrics, it was there in the beat and the production.
Although it was more than 36 years ago I can remember it like it was yesterday. Looking back, those days were wonderful. They were days of promises ahead, some good years and some bad, but the horizon was open and ours for the taking.
When I hear the song here and there on the radio it brings back good memories and a little bit of longing for those ‘old’ days.