It happened again yesterday. On one of the holiest days for Christians, we lost yet another major pop/rock star, George Michael. This whole run of losing rock stars and pop cultural icons began about a week before Christmas 2015, when we found out that former Stone Temple Pilots/Velvet Revolver vocalist Scott Weiland had passed. Then, it was on Christmas 2015 that word came that Motörhead leader and bassist Lemmy had died. Then, it seemed as though we were losing people nearly every week, or more realistically, each month.
But now, it’s George Michael. It’s like the good Lord needed one of the finest pop vocalists to round out a choir of angels that includes Prince, Michael Jackson, John Lennon and Elvis Presley. The other thing that hit me was that Mr. Michael was the same age as me, 53. Once again, he was way too young to be taken from this world.
If you remember, George Michael came to prominence here in the State back in 1984 as one-half of the pop duo Wham! Immediately, young girls all over America were in love with Michael and his band partner, Andrew Ridgely. But, Wham! could not contain Michael’s talent, as the duo broke up so Michael could pursue a solo career. Wham! was popular, but Michael’ solo career was white hot in comparison. All of a sudden, I thought we might have an artist that would compete with Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna.
Unfortunately, that did not happen as Michael spent most of his good will attempting to fight his record company’s contract, who he felt was spending too much time packaging him as a sex symbol instead of a serious musician. As this fight continued, the joy left his music, as did his popularity with the main steam. And, thus, we all kind of forgotten about his talent. Now, we will be able to rejoice in his musical talent.
I understand that many rockers out there will think that George Michael was way too pop to be cool, but the man had amazing vocal chops in addition to incredible writing instincts. So, let’s take a brief look at my twenty favorite George Michael songs, listed in no particular order.
“Somebody to Love” (1992) – George Michael with Queen
“I Want Your Sex” (1987) – George Michael
“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” (1991) – George Michael with Elton John
“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” (1984) – Wham!
“Faith” (1987) – George Michael
“Freedom ’90” (1990) – George Michael
“One More Try” (1988) – George Michael
“Father Figure” (1988) – George Michael
“Last Christmas” (1984) – Wham!
“Careless Whisper” (1984) – Wham!
“A Different Corner” (1986) – George Michael
“Killer/Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” (1992) – George Michae01l
“Praying for Time” (1990) – George Michael
“I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (1987) – George Michael with Aretha Franklin
“The Edge of Heaven” (1986) – Wham!
“Everything She Wants” (1984) – Wham!
“Too Funky” (1992) – George Michael
“Jesus to a Child” (1996) – George Michael
“I’m Your Man” (1986) – Wham!
“Monkey” (1988) – George Michael
There’s my twenty favorite songs by George Michael. May we remember and revel in the glow of these songs, and the rest of his solo and Wham! catalog. Let’s all take a drink to the memory of George Michael! Here! Here!