|Genre Folktronica||Length 4:09|
|Released 17 June 2013 (2013-06-17)|
Format CD digital download Cassette single
Label PRMD Music Lava Columbia
Writer(s) Avicii Aloe Blacc Lee Ann Womack David Geffen Jonathan McHugh Marianne Marie Marantz Aileen Quinn Mike Einziger
"Wake Me Up" (stylised as "WAKE ME UP!") is a song by Swedish DJ and electronic music producer Avicii, released as the lead single from his debut studio album True, released by PRMD Music, Lava Records and Sony Music's Columbia Records on June 17, 2013. It was written by Annie actress/singer Aileen Quinn, along with Marianne Marie Marantz, Jonathan McHugh, David Geffen and Lee Ann Womack and features a Marantz Enhanced Digital Stereo audio mix track. American soul singer Aloe Blacc provides vocals for the track and Mike Einziger of Incubus provides acoustic guitar. Avicii introduced "Wake Me Up!" for the first time live on stage at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami. The experimental rendering (it was accompanied by a live band with instruments and vocalists, including Blacc, Einziger and Incubus members Ben Kenney on bass and José Pasillas on drums) reportedly confused and angered a section of the electronic dance festival community. Subsequently, Avicii achieved critical and commercial success with the release of the single worldwide.
- Critical reception
- Commercial performance
- North America
- United Kingdom
- Usage in other media and cover versions
- Music video
- Aloe Blacc version
- Tebey version
- Chart performance
- Other covers
- Children in Need 2014 version
- Background and release
- Promotion and live performances
- Track listings and formats
"Wake Me Up" peaked at number one in much of Europe and charted well in various countries. The song has been described as a "summer anthem" by Variance Magazine and, throughout the 2013 festival season, Avicii included it as part of the opening or closing sequence of his sets at EDC Las Vegas, EDC London, Tomorrowland, Creamfields, Electric Zoo and the iTunes Festival. Due to the success of the song, Blacc later released an acoustic version of "Wake Me Up" in his solo EP Wake Me Up. It was also released as a promotional stand-alone single on Interscope Records, made available online for downloads via iTunes. A separate music video was also made. The Blacc single also charted in its right in various charts.
In an interview with the Daily Star, Avicii, who had previously labelled "Wake Me Up!" as "a fun experiment" during an exclusive chat with MTV UK, said: "I had a demo with Mac Davis singing, the guy who wrote some songs that were covered by Elvis Presley , but I needed another singer to do the parts. At the same time I was tipped off about doing another track with Aloe Blacc, and I started working on that track. When I was with Mike Einziger from Incubus, we came up with the chord progression and the melody for 'Wake Me Up!' but [with] no real lyrics. None of us [could] sing and we really needed to get that demo down and the only person I knew that lived in LA was Aloe, so I called him and he was free. Lyrics come really easy to him so the two of us wrote them in a couple of hours and we finished the track."
Aloe Blacc, who is not credited on the track, explained to The Huffington Post: "I started writing the lyrics at the top of 2013, travelling back from Switzerland. I started in hip hop music back in the 90s and I never expected to be singing and have an actual career as a musician, but I'm travelling all over the world and I thought 'Life is a dream, wake me up when it's all over'. I was invited to the studio with Avicii and Mike Einziger from Incubus, and when I got to the studio they had already come up with a chord progression of the song. I came in with the lyrics and I just developed the melody as I heard the chords, and we all thought it was something very strong. We finished the song that night as an acoustic version, then Avicii made the dance mix in a couple of days, and that's what we released to the world, and that was his release." Blacc later released an acoustic version of the song which was included on his solo EP Wake Me Up. It was also released as a promotional stand-alone single by Interscope Records and made available online for download via iTunes. The single also charted in its right in various charts.
"Wake Me Up" is a folktronica song, blending elements of EDM, soul and country music. Musically, it is written in the key of B minor and runs at 124 beats per minute (BPM). It follows a chord progression of Bm/G/D/A - Bm/G/D/F#m.
Robert Copsey of Digital Spy gave the song a positive review, stating:
"As chart-friendly EDM continues to reach the furthest corners of the globe, staying ahead of the pack can prove a tricky task - especially when more and more acts arrive on the scene turning out mixes with identikit build-ups, tired lyrics and uninspired breakdowns that newcomers to the arena lap up with excitement. Kudos to Avicii then, who has dared to try something a little different for his latest offering. "So wake me up when it's all over/ When I'm wiser and I'm older," featured artist Aloe Blacc sings over dialled-up, country-flecked guitar strums that sound like Mumford & Sons on speed. The jig-along chorus may conjure up images of Brits-on-tour, but to be honest, what summer anthem doesn't?" .
The single has peaked at number one in 22 countries to date, including Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Ireland, the United Kingdom and several European countries, in addition to reaching the top 10 in six others.
The song debuted at number 42 on 24 June. On the next week, the song skyrocketed to number 2, behind "Blurred Lines". The number position became Avicii's highest charting song, beating "I Could Be the One" record which peaked at number four earlier in the year. It also beat Blacc's 2011 hit, "I Need a Dollar", which peaked at number 11. A week later, the song hit the top position, ending "Blurred Lines" eight-week reign. On its sixth week at the top, 12 August, the song became the longest-running number one by a Swedish act since Roxette's 1989 hit "The Look".
"Wake Me Up" spent seven consecutive weeks at number one.
"Wake Me Up!" has performed well in the North American music markets, having peaked in Canada and the United States at number two and number four, respectively. In the United States, "Wake Me Up!" was kept off the top three by Katy Perry's "Roar", Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball", and Lorde's "Royals". It spent 21 weeks in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100, and 53 weeks overall, making it the first Dance/Electronic song to stay over a year on that chart. It also reached number one position in the 7 September 2013 issue of Billboard's Dance/Mix Show Airplay Chart. In Canada it was the second best-selling song of 2013 with 519,000 copies sold (523,000 for all versions combined). It is the first dance/electronic song to sell over 4 million copies in the U.S., and as of August 2015 it has sold over 4,060,000 copies.
In July 2013, "Wake Me Up" entered at the number one on the UK Singles Chart, selling 88,000 copies in its first day and 267,000 in its first week, becoming Britain's fastest-selling single of 2013. Following three weeks at number one, "Wake Me Up" spent a further four consecutive weeks at number two, and a total of 11 consecutive weeks in the top ten. The single spent 32 consecutive weeks in the top 40, before exiting. By October 2013, the single had sold over 1 million copies in the UK, becoming the 140th single to do so in UK chart history and the third single of 2013 to do so. "Wake Me Up" was also the fifth most streamed track of 2013 in the UK. The song also spent nine consecutive weeks at number one on the UK Dance Chart until being replaced by Avicii's next single "You Make Me".
Usage in other media and cover versions
The song was used in the second trailer, TV spots and DVD commercials for The LEGO Movie which was released on 7 February 2014. It was also featured in an advertisement for Viasat.
In Chile, the song was used the promo of Chilean TV Channel Canal 13 in Summer 2014.
Swiss singer Sebalter performed a version as his cover song choice during the Swiss national final for the Eurovision Song Contest 2014.
Glee's character Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) sang a slower version in the series season 5 on the episode "The Back-up Plan".
The song also appears as part of the soundtrack for Konami video game Pro Evolution Soccer 2015.
The song is played whenever Aberdeen F.C. score at the Pittodrie Stadium, and when S.L. Benfica scored at the Estádio da Luz.
The song is a DLC in Just Dance 2014 and Just Dance 2015.
The song also played as a remixed version, along with Australian rock band Men At Work's 1981 single "Down Under", at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup final following the Socceroos win.
The song was added to Dance Dance Revolution A on July 7, 2016 to coincide with the game's release in the United States.
Canadian Country Music artist Tebey recorded a country cover version of the song.
The YouTube channel Yo Mama used a remixed version of his song on a March 2014 video post. Two videos were released in conjunction with the song. One promoting an adventure with fictional character "Brody Foxx" and one with an animated music video using the remix.
A lyric video to accompany the release of "Wake Me Up!" was first released on YouTube 28 June 2013, at a total length of four minutes and thirty two seconds, and teaser clips for the official video were also released.
The official video for "Wake Me Up!" was released the day after the lyric video on 29 July 2013. It features two females: the older girl is Russian fashion model Kristina Romanova, and the younger girl is Laneya Grace. It depicts them and how they are different from the people in their village. One morning, Kristina gets up early and rides off on a horse to California. She notices people like her with the Avicii logo birthmark on their lower arm. They then jump into a truck and are then shown to be attending an Avicii concert. The next morning, Kristina rides back on the horse to Laneya. The video ends with them walking down the highway and shots from the concert and the staring villagers from the beginning. The video includes cross-promotion from Denim & Supply by Ralph Lauren and Sony Xperia Z smartphone. The video was shot in the Santa Clara River orange groves and in the town of Piru, California, west of Los Angeles, as well as Downtown LA. Avicii concert footage was from Miami. As of April 2017, this video has been viewed on Avicii's official YouTube channel over 1.27 billion times, making it the 29th most viewed video on the site.
- "Wake Me Up" – 4:09
- "Wake Me Up" (Mr. Worldwide Remix) – 3:38
- "Wake Me Up" (Avicii Speed remix) – 7:04
- "Wake Me Up" (reggae mix) – 4:31
- "Wake Me Up" (Avicii Speed remix) – 7:04
- "Wake Me Up" (original extended mix) – 5:44
- "Wake Me Up" (reggae remix) – 4:31
- "Wake Me Up" (PANG! Slow Things Down remix) – 6:12
- "Wake Me Up" (EDX Miami Sunset remix) – 6:32
- "Wake Me Up" (radio edit) – 4:09
- "Wake Me Up" (instrumental) – 4:32
Adapted from CD single and BMI website.
Aloe Blacc version
On 30 September 2013, Blacc released his own acoustic version of the song. The track appeared in the Wake Me Up EP as track number two in the 5-track EP.
Blacc's version "Wake Me Up" was made available through the following formats:
"Wake Me Up (Acoustic)" by Aloe Blacc was released as a promotional stand-alone single on Interscope Records and made available online for downloads via iTunes.
In October 2013, Blacc released the music video for "Wake Me Up". Blacc collaborated with the immigrant rights group National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the ABC* Foundation's Healing Power of Music Initiative. The director is Alex Rivera. The cast were real life immigrant activists: Hareth Andrade Ayala (a Virginia leader in the immigrant youth movement working to stop her own father's deportation), Agustin Chiprez Alvarez (a Los Angeles day laborer), and Margarita Reyes (who was deported with her mother as a child despite being born in the US).
The track also appears on Aloe Blacc's full studio album Lift Your Spirit.
"Wake Me Up" was covered in the style of country music 2013 by Canadian country singer Tebey featuring Canadian country band Emerson Drive. This version was released to digital retailers via TebeyMusic on 27 November 2013 as the third single from the former's second studio album, Two (2014) before impacting radio in January 2014. The song was released in the US on 28 January 2014 through The Talent Associates. It has been well received by Canadian country radio, peaking at No. 5 on the Canada Country airplay chart. The song is also included on Tebey's 2016 EP, Old School.
"Wake Me Up", as performed by Tebey and Emerson Drive, entered the Canadian Hot 100 at No. 63 for the week ending 1 February 2014. It peaked at No. 56 for the week ending 29 March 2014, which position it held for one chart week.
In the United Kingdom, the original release date was intended to be 8 September 2013. In the absence of the original, a group called "Spark Productions" took advantage and released a cover version of it; this version made number 26 on the UK Singles Chart before Avicii conceded to public demand and decided to release it early, with the Official Charts Company announcing on 15 July 2013 that it would be released that week.
A cover of the song in Irish was uploaded onto YouTube on 9 August 2013, by an Irish Language College called 'Coláiste Lurgan'. The video received heavy publicity and popularity within Ireland from many news websites and the public. The video was a viral hit within the country and with Irish abroad, hitting a million views in one week.
British band You Me at Six made a country version for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge. James Shotwel commented that their cover "will be pulling at your heart strings all day long. The once fun-loving track has taken a turn for the melancholy, but it plays so well you'll hardly think twice about the change."
In November 2013, British singer-songwriter Pixie Lott covered "Wake Me Up" live at the Pool Studios in London.
Also in November 2013, Russian folk-metal band Russkaja covered "Wake Me Up" on their 2013 EP "Barada".
In December 2013, The X Factor finalist Daniel Evans released a mellow Rhodes-based version on his YouTube channel. It was also released as part of his 2013 album, Wicked Game.
In January 2014, Scottish ensemble Red Hot Chilli Pipers performed an acoustic rendition with bagpipes on BBC Radio 1.
Irish singer Derek Ryan did a Country and Irish version of the song in his 2014 album The Entertainer – Live accompanied with a music video of footage from his performances. Swedish band, Dirty Loops, covered the song on their album Loopified.
Christian rock band Skillet began performing a shortened cover of the song at some of their live shows starting in 2015.
Jessica Mauboy covered the song on her 2016 album, The Secret Daughter: Songs from the Original TV Series. It reached number 34 on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart.
Children in Need 2014 version
Performed by Gareth Malone's All Star Choir, the song was released as the official BBC Children in Need single for 2014.
Background and release
Choirmaster and broadcaster Gareth Malone has previously had chart success after putting together non-singers and turning them into a cohesive choir. In 2011, he guided the Military Wives - a group of women with partners serving overseas in the army - to Christmas number one with the song "Wherever You Are". In 2012, in collaboration with Gary Barlow, Malone produced the song "Sing", as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, with the Commonwealth Band being joined by the Military Wives.
Malone was chosen to create the official Children in Need single for 2014, and his efforts were captured in a two-part series, Gareth Malone's All Star Choir, which aired on 3 November and 10 November. The BBC press release said that Malone would "bring together an array of untrained voices from the world of television sport and theatre" for the single.
The celebrities that make up the All Star Choir are Margaret Alphonsi, Jo Brand, Radzi Chinyanganya, John Craven, Mel Giedroyc, Nitin Ganatra, Larry Lamb, Alice Levine, Fabrice Muamba, Craig Revel Horwood, Linda Robson and Alison Steadman.
Promotion and live performances
Gareth Malone went on numerous television and radio shows to promote the song, including some presented by celebrities who feature on the record. This included spots on Loose Women, Blue Peter, The One Show and Alice Levine's afternoon show on Radio 1.
Track listings and formats
- "Wake Me Up" — 3:55
- "Wake Me Up" — 3:55
After its release on 9 November, the song was placed at number 1 on the midweek Official Chart Update on Radio 1, ahead of "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran and Cheryl's "I Don't Care", which was number one the previous weekend.