Today, I, like many around the world, am saddened by the news of the passing of singer/songwriter George Michael on Christmas, December 25th. I was a huge fan of this late 80s/90s pop star especially in my teens and early adulthood. The Greek-Brit, full name Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, was extremely attractive, had a seductive dance and a voice that was big, unique and carried every melodic hit that he performed.
I agree with those who say that the overwhelming memory of his legacy will surely be the musical genius that encompassed both his time in UK pop duo Wham! and as one of the great solo artists of all time. With over 100 million records sold worldwide, eight Billboard #1 hits, and a bevy of awards
His look back then was a five o’clock shadow, leather jacket, rugged denims and guitar with one dangling earrings with dark shades. Very sexy!
I played this song to death in college my first year. It’s so jazzy and melodic. Love!
One of my fave albums of his was his second studio album “Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1” (volume 2 was never released) which was very controversial and almost didn’t get put out by Sony Music.
I love that it was full of ballads and showcased his lyrics and voice moreso than the upbeat dance songs on Faith. It sold 8M copies but was considered a flop for such a big artist given that “Faith” had sold 25M copies. But it was a hit in the UK where it won Best British Album that year in their version of the Grammy‘s, the BRIT Awards. “Praying for Time”
was an ode to times we live in where there is copious and overindulgence and greed abound with a message of warning to mankind. It is one of my favorite tunes from this album. Love this song. Given ongoing battles with his record label at the time, Sony, he refused to appear in the videos for the songs on this album so the video is just lyrics on a black screen which is actually ahead of its time, given that lyrical videos are such a big trend nowadays.
“At some point in your career, the situation between yourself and the camera reverses. For a certain number of years, you court it and you need it, but ultimately, it needs you more and it’s a bit like a relationship. The minute that happens, it turns you off … and it does feel like it is taking something from you.” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1990 about deciding not to do photo shoots or music videos any longer. “I would like to never step in front of a camera again.”
I think Freedom 90! is one of the sexiest videos of all times and it featured super models at the time in a video directed by the same person who directed Madonna
‘s “Express Yourself”
video, David Fincher
. It included Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista
and Tatjana Patitz
and was inspired by Peter Lindbergh
‘s now-iconic portrait of the five models for the January 1990 cover of the British edition of Vogue.
Instead of playing someone’s girlfriend, as is common for models in music videos, they each lip synced the song. Brilliant!
More models werking the catwalk can be seen in the video for “Too Funky“.
This remake of Stevie Wonder
‘s song is prolific given Wonder sang it recently in tribute to Michael Jackson
and it could aptly apply to George Michael today.
His career started off as part of the two member pop music band, Wham!
The preeminent 1980s big band sound was loud and apparent in this song and it peaked in the era of music television when MTV
just launched. The video for it surely sold the song even more than the appeal it already had as a really awesome song:
This song, “I’m Your Man” also takes me back to a carefree and less stressful time of my life, my late teen years.
Another great hit from Wham!My son loves “Last Christmas” and it has played almost twice an hour this past month on our local radio station that plays Christmas songs from Thanksgiving to Christmas non-stop. Even my 11-year old was shocked and upset to know one of the guys who sings a fave song has passed.
The biggest song from this album was “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go“
As a solo artist, George Michael performed some awesome duos like this one with Aretha Franklin, another fave of mine:
With Elton John, this song just makes me feel good every time I listen to it
And Queen (at a tribute concert for the late great Freddie Mercury)And finally with the late great Whitney Houston, “If I told you that”
Thanks for the music, George Michael. You will be missed but your legacy will live on!