I gave you my heart,
But the very next day,
you gave it away.
Well this year we just got the horrible news that George Michael, legendary singer/songwriter passed away, today on Christmas Day, at age 53. It is a terrible thing to see our icons cut down one by one, as has been the case for all of 2016. I am a metalhead through and through, but I appreciate other genres, especially when they show me some great writing, as was the case with George Michael. When his debut solo album Faith showed up in 1987 of course I was ready for it…in private. NONE of my friends could know about my love for pop music, you kidding me??? But as soon as the first single “I Want Your Sex” came out I knew we were in for something special.
And from there we go to leadoff track “Faith.” Do you remember where you were when you first saw this video, replete with sunglasses, Levi’s jeans, and “Revenge” on the leather jacket? I do. I was in my living room, watching MTV, and when this thing started I was like, “What. The. Fuck??” But then, next thing I knew, it wormed its way into my brain. And then, oh and THEN “Father Figure” came out as a single in January of ‘88. This was and is such an amazing song, and I was lucky enough to see George perform it live at Madison Square Garden in 2008. But at that time, in the days when MTV still played music videos, this one struck me. And this was also the song that galvanized me into action. I went and bought the tape and loved it!!
“One More Try” is a very touching song for me, but again, I had to hide my love for it, being in a crew of metalheads. George Michael absolutely sings his heart out from beginning to end, and it is a beautiful piece of music that has reduced to me to tears on many an occasion. And “Hand to Mouth” is another deep composition that is also very danceable. I guarantee you no one who was a casual observer thought there was anything of substance in these songs until they sat down and really listened, which is a damn shame. “Monkey” was interesting for me because I hated it at first, because it was so dance-y. But next thing I knew I was groovin’ along to it on Dial MTV every weeknight!
Closing the album is the smoky jazz-room influenced “Kissing a Fool.” This song showcased a whole new side of George, and remains one of my favorites to this day. His voice glides perfectly over a band you can picture in a speakeasy back in the old days, reminding us that the man could sing anything you put in front of him. At the end of the day Faith is a fantastic record from start to finish, and it really showed the world that George Michael was more than just pin-up good looks. I always said when I was in high school that, “I love metal, but I think George Michael is a helluva songwriter…” because he truly was.
“Last Christmas” will always be one of my favorite Christmas songs, but tonight, and moving forward it will also bring tears. Someone so beautiful should not be taken from us before his time, but that is exactly what happened. George Michael was a brilliant singer and writer that is now gone way too soon. Quite frankly I am getting sick of burying our musical heroes in 2016, but I will have the memories of Faith to keep me going for a lifetime. Rest In Peace, George. And thank you for the music. We will Listen Without Prejudice forever.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF GEORGE MICHAEL (25 JUNE 1963 – 25 DECEMBER 2016) ~dc