Honestly, I meant to write this entry on Friday, but circumstances of life just got in the way. Then, instead of writing, I got the privilege of attempting to “help” my stepfather to find some important documents in Mom’s house. Well, that turned into a, uh, pardon my French, cluster f*#k, as a total disregard to organization and the deterioration of his mental capacities led to missing/misplacement documents of major importance. However, I did come to the realization that I need to begin the “cleaning” of this budding hoarder’s paradise. God bless my Mom and Stepfather because they have been the greatest people with how helpful they have been to my family and me. I just feel so very bad that Mom needed more help than we as a family could provide for her.
Anyway, one artist has been on my mind recently, mainly because we lost him back around Christmas 2016. In the US, this talented singer/songwriter had become something of a punchline as he struggled with his own identity privately, let alone within plain sight of his fans. Yet, over in his homeland of the UK, the general public went into a period of mourning that just might be more than they may give some members of the royal family. Anyway, musically, I miss George Michael.
At his height, during the years of 1984, while he was still a member of Wham!, through 1992, George Michael was creating some of the finest danceable pop music that was on equal footing with Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna. In the US, we tend to downplay most pop artists in favor of rock royalty or, in the case of today, hip hop artists, like Kanye West, Jay-Z, Drake, Eminem, Kid Cudi or even the late Mac Miller. Hip Hop is the dominant musical form today, but much of Michael’s funkier work from the Nineties and Aughts has become the basis of many of a hit song by a rap artist lately.
I believe the true artistry of George Michael hit most of us as he, first, performed onstage at Wembley during the Concert Celebrating the Life of Freddie Mercury. When it was his turn to perform with Queen, Michael came out, and nearly repeated the gifted performance of his hero Mercury gave during Live Aid just a short seven years later. Remember, Michael tackled one of Mercury’s most iconic songs, “Somebody to Love,” only to prove that Michael deserved that his name could be said in the same breath as Mercury when it came to taming an audience. This should have been George’s crowning moment, but instead it was the beginning of the fall of Michael from grace as he battled his inner demons while seeming to deny his true sexuality. Much as Mercury did about a decade earlier, Michael struggled to be a homosexual in the heterosexual world of rock music back during a less tolerant era. I honestly feel as though this may have removed years from Michael’s life. I am glad we are beginning to move past that intolerance.
So, it is with a heavy heart, in which I would love to pay homage to the late, great George Michael by listing my 35 favorite songs that George Michael recorded over the years either as a member of Wham! or on his own. Hopefully, this will help Michael’s reputation here in the States, while only bringing a small amount of American respect for this man’s musical genius. So, let the countdown begin!
- “Freedom! ‘90” – George Michael (1990)
- “Father Figure” – George Michael (1987)
- “Somebody to Love” – Queen with George Michael (1993)
- “Faith” – George Michael (1987)
- “I Want Your Sex, Pt. 1-2” – George Michael (1987)
- “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” – George Michael with Elton John (1991)
- “Praying for Time” – George Michael (1990)
- “Careless Whisper” – Wham! featuring George Michael (1984)
- “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” – Wham! (1984)
- “A Different Corner” – Wham! featuring George Michael (1986)
- “Fastlove” – George Michael (1996)
- “Killer/Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” – George Michael (1993)
- “Freedom” – Wham! (1984)
- “Too Funky” – George Michael (1992)
- “Everything She Wants” – Wham! (1984)
- “One More Try” – George Michael (1987)
- “Last Christmas” – Wham! (1984)
- “As” – George Michael and Mary J. Blige (2007)
- “Freeek!” – George Michael (2002)
- “Shoot the Dog” – George Michael (2002)
- “I’m Your Man” – Wham! (1986)
- “Heal the Pain” – George Michael with Paul McCartney (2006)
- “The Edge of Heaven” – Wham! (1986)
- “I Can’t Make You Love Me” – George Michael (1997)
- “This is Not Real Love” – George Michael with Mutya Buena (2006)
- “Monkey” – George Michael (1987)
- “Kissing a Fool” – George Michael (1987)
- “Jesus to a Child” – George Michael (1996)
- “Spinning the Wheel” – George Michael (1996)
- “Move On” – George Michael (1996)
- “Older” – George Michael (1997)
- “December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas)” (2007)
- “True Faith” (2011)
- “Fantasy” – George Michael feat. Nile Rodgers (2017)
- “Amazing” – George Michael (2004)
In an act of playing one Mr. Obvious, I want to first declare that George Michael is a definite member of the unofficial Rock & Roll Songwriting Mensa organization. Yet, I do not want to simply reflect upon his impeccable solo career, but I would prefer to honor the brilliance of his early songwriting samples while he was a member of Wham!, where George Michael cut his songwriting teeth. R.I.P. George Michael, since this American misses the wonder of your musical gift.