Live in China, 1984. "Careless Whisper" is a pop ballad written by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley of Wham!. It was released on 24 July 1984 on the Wham! 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 around the world. It reached number one in nearly 25 countries, selling about 6 million copies worldwide—2 million of them in the United States
Unlike most of the other Wham! singles, the song was co-written by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. The two wrote it together as developing artists three years earlier in Watford, England. Michael and Ridgeley wrote the song when they were 17, taking inspiration from stories from Michael's early romantic overtures. Michael explained in his autobiography, Bare, that much of the song's content is based on events from his childhood. Michael wrote in his biography, "With 'Careless Whisper' I remember exactly where it first came to me, where I came up with the sax line... I remember I was handing the money over to the guy on the bus and I got this line, the sax line..."
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 original version produced by Wexler, and decided to re-record and produce the song himself; the second version was the one ultimately released as a single.
After the backing track and George's vocal had been recorded, Wexler had booked the top saxophone player from Los Angeles to fly in and do the solo. "He arrived at eleven and should have been gone by twelve", recalled Wham! manager Simon Napier-Bell. "Instead, after two hours, he was still there while everyone in the studio shuddered with embarrassment. He just couldn't play the opening riff the way George wanted it, the way it had been on the demo. But that had been made two years earlier by a friend of George's who lived round the corner and played sax for fun in the pub."