George Michael passed away on Christmas Day. I cried when I heard the news. F*ck you 2016, who else do you want to take away from us?
I’ve been a George Michael fan for as long as I can remember – buying Smash Hits magazines as a teenager then seeing him in concert just a few years ago. His music somehow became the soundtrack to so much of my life – during the fun and happy times – along with moments when I was broken. His lyrics always reflected what I was feeling at the time.
I remember dancing to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go at the Blue Light Disco, wearing my fluoro top and white pants – along with bright coloured fingerless gloves – as we “Yeah Yeah Yeah, Baby, Jitterbug-ged” as loudly as we could. It’s such a fun song – it still makes me smile, taking me back to those early teen years. Yes, Andrew Ridgely was cute but we all wanted George. Surely he wanted us too, right?
Young Guns (Go for It) and Club Tropicana remind me of fun times when the hardest thing in life was passing a maths test (I always failed) and making sure your clothes were on trend by shopping at SportsGirl. Wham was the perfect band to accompany me through those easy, no responsibility times.
My best friend Danielle was given a brand new Ford Laser for her birthday (spoilt much?) and the first CD we played in it was Faith. As those synthesizer beats pulsed out of her speakers I knew that I Want Your Sex was going to be a hot track for Summer. The lyrics and video gave hormone infested teenagers who were going to wait until they were married a healthy outlet. The song also gave Danielle and I a bit of a thrill as we drove past council workers singing at full volume. We thought we were so cool. We clearly weren’t.
Father Figure still soothes my soul. It’s gentle, sensual and one of the few songs I can listen to over and over. The video is cool and sexy and features the usual hot models (remember the Freedom video?) like all of his film clips. The glamor and voyeurism of George and those beauties semi naked on screen added to an almost sexy arrogance he carried.
Last Christmas became my anthem for way too much unrequited love – from high school right through to …. well pretty much right now. I love the song. I love the video and those egg nog swilling hotties even more.
Then there were the party songs while I was dating my first real boyfriend. I’m sure it had nothing to do with our relationship but Everything She Wants, I’m Your Man and I Don’t Want Your Freedom seemed to follow my thought processes at the time. Maybe George and I were going through similar things at the time. I’m thankful we got some great pop songs out of it if he was.
Waiting For That Day is a track that makes me feel positive about the future, even though it’s about a break up. Heal the Pain followed and I can’t explain why, but it helped me escape my world at the time. His dulcet tones and deep lyrics took me far away in the way that only music can do.
Although there are various versions, George Michael’s I Can’t Make You Love Me is the best. It makes me sob every time. Every time. The words cut deep while I was going through my divorce and if I hear the opening music or words, it will make me cry. This happened right before an important presentation at work and I had to walk out of the room before I started sobbing. It has the same effect on me as The Notebook.
George pushed the boundaries in so many ways. When he was caught having sex in a public toilet, he turned a potential PR disaster into a brilliant pulsing dance track, Outside – complete with a video featuring glitter balls and disco urinals. This was a dance floor must have during my energetic clubbing years when I spent hours dancing with gay men. It was fun and naughty and sexy all at once. Just like George.
We’ve lost a lot of amazing artists this year – and although I mourned Prince and David Bowie (amongst others) George Michael is the hardest for me. He saw me through my formative years and was often a solace on lonely nights when his lyrics soothed my broken heart and battered soul.
Rest in Peace George, you will be missed. Last Christmas will never sound the same again.