"Careless Whisper" is a 1984 single by George Michael (credited to "Wham! featuring George Michael" in 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.
Unlike all the 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.
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  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". 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."
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 twelve. 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 17 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"  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.
In 2012 Brooke Shields revealed she thought the song was written for her, after she and Michael ended their relationship.
Music video 
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. However, it does not give credit to the young women (among others Lisa Stahl Sullivan) who also starred in the video.
Live performances 
"Careless Whisper" was generally the closing act for concerts on the 25 Live tour, and less often in the Faith Tour concerts, usually performed live in many concerts tours like the Cover to Cover Tour and the Rock In Rio Tour. George Michael would often perform "Careless Whisper" with an extended version of the ending, which is apparently his preferred version.
Cover versions 
- In 1984, Japanese singer Hideki Saijo did a cover version in Japanese called "抱きしめてジルバ" (Dakishimete Jitterbug).
- In 1985, Hong Kong pop diva Anita Mui covered the song in Cantonese under the title "夢幻的擁抱" (literally The Embrace of Dreams).
- In 1999, American rock band The Black Parade covered this song on their album, The Frontier Of No Return.
- Instrumental group Pieces of a Dream offered their version from the band's 1986 album "Joyride."
- A hi-NRG/eurodance cover of the song by Sarah Washington was released through Almighty Records in 1993.
- A cover version of "Careless Whisper" by Tamia appears on her debut self-titled album, Tamia. A second recording by Tamia appeared on the soundtrack album to the 1998 movie A Night at the Roxbury.
- Israeli singer David D'Or covered the song in a January 2005 clubby, English electronic house vinyl 12" single on the 3 Lanka and Hed Arzi labels, produced and mixed by DJ Amiad, with remixes by Future Funk and Michi Lange.  The track attracted international interest.
- A version by Willy Mason appears on the 2007 compilation album, The Saturday Sessions: The Dermot O'Leary Show.
- Gossip covered the song in 2007 for the album Radio 1 Established 1967, a collection of covers recorded for the 40th year anniversary of BBC Radio 1.
- Quebec City acoustic cover band The Lost Fingers recorded a cover of the song for their 2008 album Lost in the 80s.
- Irish singer Edward J. Valentine released a version that reached number 47 for 1 week in the Irish music charts in 2008. Mike Mulvihill of "The Power Hour" hailed it as "a song that defines this generation" and that this cover was "unrivalled." 
- American crunkcore band 3OH!3 covered this song with Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low and Juliet Simms of Automatic Loveletter.
- Seether covered the song in 2009 for the reissue of their 2007 record Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces. It was released as a single on 9 February 2009. Their version has reached #63 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and the top five on Mainstream and Modern Rock charts and the combined Rock Songs chart. In his review for Billboard, Bram Teitelman said, "the song is a mostly faithful take on the original, with guitars subbing for the saxophone intro before greeting a Staind-meets-Nickelback grunge dynamic. Younger rock fans who don't know George Michael from Boy George will love the song".
- In Mexico, Pedro Fernández also has a Spanish cover version called "Absurda Confidencia."
- Italian hardstyle DJ Technoboy covered the melody in his single "Vita".
- Adapted by Vincenzo Thoma in Italian "Io non ballerò" in 2011 on the album Romantico.
- Tupac Shakur performed a version of this song in his own style.
- As part of the Djent Goes Pop release, Akeldama covered this song.
- British Metal/cover Band Ten Masked Men covered the song.
- Italian singer Mina covered the song on the album Rane supreme, in 1987.
- In 2011 DSPGaming (Darksydephil) and Johnrambopresents (John Rambo), both popular Youtubers, sang the tune of the song during their trip to 2011 MAGfest.
The song has been covered by many other artists, including 2Play (2005), Bananarama (2001) on Exotica album, Brian McKnight (2007), Kenny G featuring McKnight (2004) from At Last...The Duets Album, Boston Pops Orchestra composed by John Williams, Columbia Ballroom Orchestra (1994), Dave Koz featuring R&B artist Montell Jordan taking the vocal lead (1999) on the album The Dance, David & the High Spirit (2003), Del (2004), Delight (2001), DJ Irene (2003), Farhad Besharati (2006), George Michael (1998), Gloria Gaynor, Harlemm Lee (2003), Hit Crew (2006), James Douglas (2003), Julio Iglesias (2006), Jordan Knight (2006), Katelyn Tarver (2006), Kenny G (2004), Kymeria (2005), Paul Mauriat, Richard Clayderman for his 1988 album 'A little night music', Roger Williams, Roxy Pain (2007), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (1998), Sarah Washington, The Sax Brothers (2003), Simion Luca (1998), Skip Martin (2006), Slinkee Minx (2004) [side A on "Closer" single], The Shadows (1987) on Simply Shadows, Barry Manilow (2008) Tereza Kerndlová and 3Oh!3 Ft : Juliet Simms of Automatic Loveletter & Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low, The Supervillains (2011) and sampled by the Paper Route Gangstaz, Sharam Jey ft. James Douglas - Out Of Your Mind(Club Mix).
Live cover performances 
- The song was covered by Shayne Ward in British talent show The X Factor in 2005 and by Danyl Johnson in 2009.
- In the first season of Singapore Idol, the song was sung by Patrick Khoo, who literally whispered it. He did not pass the audition.
- In the fourth season of Canadian Idol, the song was sung by runner-up Craig Sharpe of Upper Island Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador. Zach Werner, one of the Canadian Idol judges, has noted Craig's vocal similarity to George Michael on numerous occasions.
- The song has been performed twice on American Idol, by Jamar in Season 1 and Paul Kim in Season 6.
- In the Australian TV show RocKwiz it was done as a duet between Kate Miller Heidke and Paul Dempsey.
- The song was later covered by Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright in several 2004 live performances.
- The Gossip performed a cover of "Careless Whisper" on the UK's BBC Radio 1's Established 1967, which they began with a verse from Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone".
- It has also been covered live by the Japanese rock singer Hyde (from L'Arc-en-Ciel fame) and the Taiwanese performer Teresa Teng.
- Barenaked Ladies performed a cover of the song between approximately 2000 and 2009. The band recorded and released many of their concerts from 2004-2009, and their cover of "Careless Whisper" has been included in at least one of those recordings, their January 31, 2008 concert aboard "Ships & Dip III", the band's musical cruise. The song was also featured as the opening song in their July 23, 2000 webcast concert from Anaheim, California.
- In an acoustic concert in Shanghai (13 March 2008), Incubus covered the song. Brandon Boyd sang a portion of the song, accompanied by temporary bassist Mike Einziger (Mike played bass for several songs, not all). Ben Kenney was absent from the show, as he was recuperating from an upset stomach.
- Singer Drew Stevyns performed Seether's cover of this song on the fourth season of America's Got Talent.
- Special education teacher Nathan Swanek routinely sings the song to his students as a form of positive behavior intervention.
- A "mash-up" version of the song is usually featured on Frisky and Mannish's set list. This version, "Fugue for Guilty Feet", combines "Careless Whisper" with various interpretations of "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You", "Conga", "Dancing in the Moonlight", "Into the Groove", "Moondance", "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)", "Murder on the Dancefloor", "Don't Stop Movin'", and "I'm in the Mood for Dancing".
- My Morning Jacket covered this song during their 2006 New Year's Eve show at The Fillmore in San Francisco.
- Panic! at the Disco have covered the song (without vocals) during several live performances in 2011. Stand-in guitarist Ian Crawford performed the saxophone introduction on guitar.
- Montell Jordan and saxophonist David Koz covered this song live during the Evening Gown Competition of the 2000 Miss Universe Pageant in Cyprus.
Appearances in other media 
- Its first appearance in TV series was in Knight Rider (1982 TV series) in 1985, in Season 3 Episode 20 "Knight in Retreat".
- In the episode "The Great Eekscape" of Eek! The Cat, Bill Clinton played a sample of the song with his saxophone when Sharky went to the White House.
- The song is featured on the video games Karaoke Revolution Volume 3 and Singstar.
- Degrassi: The Next Generation, which is known for naming its episodes after songs from the 1980s, has an episode named after this song. In it, a character is beginning to question his heterosexuality.
- In an episode of Jesse, Jesse comments on Diego's dancing with "I guess guilty feet really ain't got no rhythm", referring to a line from this song.
- The song was used as the theme to 1997 TV series The Broker's Man, starring Kevin Whately.
- The song was featured in the 2000 Miss Universe Evening Gown Competition.
- In the seventh season of Friends, Chandler's ex-girlfriend Janice has invited herself to the wedding of Chandler and Monica, unaware that she is an unwanted guest. Janice asks the couple what song they would like her to sing at the wedding, "Lady in Red" or "Careless Whisper".
- In the Philippines, this song gained notoriety after a scandal showing celebrities Dr. Hayden Kho and Katrina Halili singing this song and dancing scantily clad, was uploaded to YouTube.
- Tatum O'Neal and Nick Kosovich danced a rumba to it in Season 2 of Dancing with the Stars.
- In the episode "Everybody Hates Homecoming" from the show Everybody Hates Chris, James holds a boombox over his head with the song playing to prove his love for Chris's little sister Tonya, a nod to a similar scene in the 1989 film Say Anything.
- In 1993, every candidate auditioning for a part in Boyzone was made to sing Careless Whisper.
- Comedians Hamish and Andy used the song on October 4, 2010, in a competition to see who could sing the softest, using a decibel-meter to measure the volume. Hamish won.
- Saxophonist Sergio Flores, widely known as Sexy Sax Man, plays the famous riff at public locations such as malls, events, stores and sometimes colleges in California.
- Tamia's cover of the song is featured in the film A Night at the Roxbury (1998).
- In Iran, the Anime series Akage no anne's intro song were replaced by the instrumental version of this song and it has made it to be known as Song of Anne in Iran.
- In the third episode of the second season of the British TV serie Misfits, the song is played when Nathan tries to seduce Simon, after he was bewitched by a magical tattooer.
- In Caravan Club, the fifth episode of the first series of The Inbetweeners, Simon dances to this song with a girl he's trying to have sex with.
- In Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy, an astronaut played by Michael Fielding slow-dances to the song with a deer-like woman played by Dolly Wells in a surrealistic space-exploration-centric slapstick sketch.
Track listing 
All songs written and composed by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley.
||"Careless Whisper" (Radio Edit)
||"Careless Whisper" (Instrumental)
||"Careless Whisper" (Extended Mix)
||"Careless Whisper" (Instrumental)
||"Careless Whisper" (Extended Mix)
||"Careless Whisper" (Jerry Wexler Special Version)
||"Careless Whisper" (Condensed Instrumental Version)
- Note: The Extended Mix is identical to the album version from Make It Big.
- Saxophone – Steve Gregory
- Bass – Deon Estus
- Drums – Trevor Morrell
- Electric piano – Anne Dudley
- Guitar – Hugh Burns
- Keyboards – Chris Cameron, Andy Richards
- Percussion – Danny Cummings
- Photography – Tony McGee
- Producer/Arranger – George Michael
- Composer – Andrew Ridgeley, George Michael
Charts and sales 
Peak positions 
Sales and certifications 
See also 
- ^ The complete guide to the music of George Michael & Wham! L Ellis… - 1998 - Music Sales Group
- ^ a b c Bare by George Michael and Tony Parsons, Penguin Books, 1991. Page 112 ISBN 0-14-013235-X
- ^ a b Bare by George Michael and Tony Parsons, Penguin Books, 1991. Page 166 ISBN 0-14-013235-X
- ^ Grove Towers from Google's streetview
- ^ LISA STAHL SULLIVAN: LA CHICA DE "CARELESS WHISPER" DE GEORGE MICHAEL" (1984)
- ^ Lisa Stahl
- ^ "Joyride overview". Allmusic.com.
- ^ "DJ Amiad - Careless Whisper (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-03-09.
- ^ a b Barrett, Christopher (14 February 2004). "Global Pulse: Prolific Coral Goes Budget-price". Billboard. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
- ^ "Edward Valentine - Careless Whisper - Music Charts". Acharts.us. Retrieved 2013-03-09.
- ^ Bram Teitelman, Single Reviews - "Careless Whisper", Billboard.com, 21 March 2009
- ^ Delight website
- ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1984 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2013-03-09.
- ^ "Careless Whisper", Austrian Singles Chart Austriancharts.at (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
- ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 36, 1984". Retrieved 27 Feb. 2008.
- ^ "Careless Whisper", French SNEP Singles Chart Lescharts.com (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
- ^ German Singles Chart Charts-surfer.de (Retrieved 30 July 2008)
- ^ Irish Singles Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved 17 April 2008)
- ^ Hit parade Italia (Retrieved 31 May 2008)
- ^ Japanese Oricon Year-end Singles Chart of 1985 (Retrieved 1 August 2008)
- ^ List of number-one singles on the Japanese Oricon International Chart (1968-2000)
- ^ "Careless Whisper", Norwegian Singles Chart Norwegiancharts.com (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
- ^ "Careless Whisper", South African Chart  (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
- ^ "Careless Whisper", Swedish Singles Chart Swedishcharts.com (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
- ^ "Careless Whisper", Swiss Singles Chart Hitparade.ch (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
- ^ "Careless Whisper", UK Singles Chart BBC.co.uk (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
- ^ Lwin, Nanda. Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide (2000). Mississsauga, Ont.: Music Data Canada
- ^ a b Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved 11 December 2007)
- ^ "Canadian single certifications – Wham – Careless Whisper". Music Canada. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- ^ "French single certifications – George Michael – Careless Whisper" (in French). InfoDisc. Select GEORGE MICHAEL and click OK
- ^ "Les Singles en Argent :" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- ^ "List of best-selling international singles in Japan". JP&KIYO. 2002.
- ^ "Dutch single certifications – George Michael – Careless Whisper" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- ^ "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
- ^ Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
- ^ "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