Remembering George Michael (1963-2016)
The British icon George Michael passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 53, which feels like a horrible irony given that for the past month many of us were singing along to his Wham! hit ‘Last Christmas’. However, instead of mourning his loss we should be celebrating his life and the tremendous portfolio of work he had produced for nearly four decades. He was known for writing and singing on numerous classic pop hits during his Wham! days in the 80s; everyone knows ‘I’m Your Man’ and ‘Club Tropicana’ or has outrageously danced along to ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ and ‘The Edge of Heaven’.
As well as producing several bangers with Wham! he had a hugely successful solo career beginning with ‘Careless Whisper’, which arguably has one of the sexiest saxophone solos ever recorded. George Michael then featured on the Grammy Award-winning duet ‘I Knew You Were Waiting’ with Aretha Franklin at the start of 1987 (a song produced by ‘I Shoulda Loved Ya’ singer Narada Michael Walden). In October of the same year, George Michael released his debut album Faith which went on to sell over 25 million copies worldwide. The entire album was written, arranged, and produced by George Michael, including the hit title track ‘Faith’, which helped him to further establish himself as both a serious producer and a talented musician.
The singer continued to have a successful career into the 90s with singles such as ‘Freedom! ‘90’, ‘Jesus to a Child’, ‘Fastlove’ and with Elton John on a magnificent live version of ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me’. He then returned again with the album Patience in 2004 which featured the dance-pop single ‘Amazing’, this was sadly to be his last studio album; although the musician was apparently working on a new album, with producer Naughty Boy, set to be released in 2017. George Michael was also a hugely charitable man, much of his generosity is now revealing itself in the media and proving how big-hearted the man really was. Despite any of the personal demons and controversies he faced, he still maintained a good sense of humour, behaving normally and discussing any embarrassing stories openly in interviews. As well as upholding a positive and good-humoured attitude, he appeared in a few self-depreciating comedic cameo roles showing that he was able to poke fun at his own public persona.
It is a huge loss to the music industry in a year that has seen far too many legends leave us. There has been an overwhelming outpour of public grief and a clear adoration and respect for George Michael; he was a phenomenal soul singer, an incredible writer, and a legendary pop star. George Michael was an artist who fought for LGBT rights, supported charities, and left the world with a back catalogue full of both fun and emotional songs. Despite writing this article with a heavy heart, I would urge you to not despair but instead commemorate his legacy by immersing yourself in his music – listen to the albums, watch the live performances, attend the inevitable tribute events.
So sing along loudly to his music like you are in a Carpool Karaoke and dance like you are back in the 80s whenever Wham! comes on. Just get involved and give it some welly for Georgey boy because he deserves to be more than just a sad obituary on your facebook page; give the man some unashamed appreciation, play his music at all of your parties, and keep his legacy alive. Thank you George Michael for all of the music and for being such a kind soul man, you were a national treasure and a true legend. I leave you with one of my personal favourites from his Wham! days, appropriately titled ‘The Edge of Heaven’, YEAH YEAH YEAH, LALA LALA LA!