King Of Wishful Thinking

Album: Pretty Woman soundtrack (1990)
Charted: 18 8

Songfacts®:

  • Go West's biggest hit, this song's bouncy rhythm belies the heartbreak in its lyrics - the singer has lost his girl and is in a state of willful denial, consciously telling himself that even though he is torn up inside, he is going to tell himself that everything will be fine, thus making him the king of wishful thinking.

    The lyrics were written by the Go West duo of Peter Cox and Richard Drummie, but the words seem of little consequence in the song, since most listeners get a happy vibe from it.

    The music was the work of Martin Page, who had co-written the #1 hits "We Built This City" (Starship) and "These Dreams" (Heart). Go West had a few hits in their native England, but had not broken through in America. Page, who is also English, wanted to change that. "I wanted to make Go West have a little bit of an edge for America," he said in our interview. "America, I thought, would accept a little bit of funky soul from them. And with Pete Cox' vocals, you can't go wrong. He's an extraordinary vocalist, and when you've got a singer like that getting on the mic and playing with your melodies, you're pretty fortunate."
  • This song was featured in the 1990 movie Pretty Woman, starring Julia Roberts, and included on the soundtrack. It was not written for the film, but Go West's record label EMI was associated with the soundtrack, and when executives heard the demo, they asked to use it. The song doesn't make much sense in context of the film, but it had a fresh sound that helped carry its scene and boost sales of the soundtrack (which also featured the Roxette hit "It Must Have Been Love") to over three million.

    Exposure in the movie also goosed sales of the single, which was released around the same time. The film far exceeded expectations, taking in about $178 million in America on its way to becoming perhaps the most popular romantic comedy of its era. As the movie gained an audience, so did this song - the film was released in March 1990, and in June the song entered the Top 40. It slowly rose up the chart, peaking in August at #8.
  • Martin Page blended the Minnesota Prince sound with a Motown feel to assemble this song's track. There was another influence as well, as he stated in our interview: "There was a song by the Fine Young Cannibals at that time called 'She Drives Me Crazy.' It had a really attractive tempo and feel to it, so I used that a little bit as a template for building a song for them.

    In those days, you sat down and you listened a great deal to the charts, as I know they do now, and you'd think, 'Well, what do I really like and what would really work with this?' I could hear that Fine Young Cannibals track, and I thought, 'I could hear Go West killing a song like that.' And even that song had a kind of Prince feel about it."
  • Go West didn't release this song on one of their albums until 1992, when it was included on Indian Summer. The lead single from that album was another song they wrote with Martin Page called "Faithful." That song became their second-biggest US hit, going to #14.

Comments: 1

  • Victoria Ana-tolian Semenenko 02.10.1976 from Ukraine"The song doesn't make much sense in context of the film, but it had a fresh sound that helped carry its scene and boost sales of the soundtrack (which also featured the Roxette hit "It Must Have Been Love") to over three million." Actually that is so only for those who never got that actually the story before was about the fact of George true betrayal of me as dating with my enemie as that asian s--t who finally accused me as 12 years kid of "being simply malicious and didn't let her marry George" but especially threatening me with a knife for which finally stumbled on my pregnant sister end of October 1998. Moreover that was one of the reasons to put a war in my country as Russia is asian based empire. And I don't even mention about that s--tty asian chinese exposing of pleasure as happiness upon my childhood struggle with a hard kidneys desease.
    As actually Julia Roberts referencing to me as Anatolian so "Pretty woman" story is about that one of me and George exposing our platonic but absolutely real relation.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Michael Schenker

Michael SchenkerSongwriter Interviews

The Scorpions and UFO guitarist is also a very prolific songwriter - he explains how he writes with his various groups, and why he was so keen to get out of Germany and into England.

Emilio Castillo from Tower of Power

Emilio Castillo from Tower of PowerSongwriter Interviews

Emilio talks about what it's like to write and perform with the Tower of Power horns, and why every struggling band should have a friend like Huey Lewis.

Harold Brown of War

Harold Brown of WarSongwriter Interviews

A founding member of the band War, Harold gives a first-person account of one of the most important periods in music history.

Al Kooper

Al KooperSongwriter Interviews

Kooper produced Lynyrd Skynyrd, played with Dylan and the Stones, and formed BS&T.

Daryl Hall

Daryl HallSongwriter Interviews

Daryl Hall's TV show is a hit, and he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - only one of these developments excites him.

90s Music Quiz 1

90s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

First question: Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson appeared in videos for what artist?