Listen to Wham's "Careless Whisper" before George Michael fixed it

This is Wham's "Careless Whisper" (1984) before George Michael took matters into his own hands. (The visuals are from the music video we know and love.) From Wikipedia:

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 Sound 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, was released later in the year, as a (4:41) B-side "Special Version" on 12" in the UK and Japan.

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  1. One's first impression with these things is often to be charmed by the novelty of it.

    But this version really is just awful. George was what, 18? And he already had the gumption to can the Legendary Producer his label had working with him.

  2. The prominence of the bass and of the jazzy guitar chords rob the song of variation. The guitar lick at 1:24 is cheesy and louder than the vocals. The gated reverb on the drums really dates this mix as well.

    My impression is that this mix is going for a more 80's jazz laid back kind of vibe, whereas the version we know today puts the vocals, and therefore, the story and its emotional connection with the listener, up front and feels like something you can actually slow dance to.

  3. It's not 80's music without rocksax.

  4. And then there's this amazing cover:

    The sneaky sax player cracks me up.

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