I started writing a Facebook status about this and realized I might have a tad more to say. So a blog felt more fitting.
I love a bunch of songs by Wham! and George Michael, but I never considered myself a HUGE fan. Certainly not as huge as Prince and a lot of other people in music I’ve talked about over the years.
But it’s another of those voids left behind within the music business that’s going to be felt by a lot of people.
Last I heard about George Michael, he had a health care years ago and every now and then, I’d wonder how he was doing with it. Because it sounded grim for a while.
Wikipedia isn’t the best source, but it says he had viral pneumonia in October 21 that he struggled with for a couple months, had to have a tracheotomy and was in a car accident in 2013.
All that’s out right now is that he died peacefully at home. Which is the best anyone can really ask, but it’s sad that he was only 53.
And it’s been such a tough year for entertainers across the spectrum. 20/20 did a really tribute to Prince as well as Muhammad Ali, Florence Henderson, David Bowie and Gene Wilder among many others.
Anyway… with George Michael, he’s more than just another name.
I’m thinking how he’s become a pop culture icon. Especially in this recent year.
“Deadpool” mentioned Wham! with such adoration. Deadpool himself talking about the album that earned Wham! the exclamation point in their name. And as the ending plays out with “Careless Whisper”… they made a moment out of that where I cannot think of that song anymore without thinking of that movie.
But “Careless Whisper” is a song I remember hearing YEARS ago. One of the first songs I remember liking off the radio. The saxophone stood out. The chorus was so memorable. I could go on. Such a great song.
As for the other pop culture reference- “Keanu”
I mean, “Keanu” isn’t the greatest movie. It’s so far-fetched that all this crap happens because of the most adorable kitten in the one. A kitten that is treasured by whomever possesses him and people will go to great crazy lengths to get him back.
But in addition to that and the crazy plot of Key and Peele pretending to be gangsters (and failing miserably)… while Peele had the storyline where Keanu brought him out of this post-break-up depression and he inserted him into home-made recreations of iconic movie scenes, Key’s schtick in this movie was George Michael. The dude was freaking obsessed with him. He’ll sit in his car and groove to “Faith.” He was tripping on mushrooms or something and imagined being IN the “Faith” video- complete with the blue jeans.
And while Peele was taking care of a job (Anna Faris was involved somehow, playing herself), Key was entertaining the other gangsters in his car playing George Michael songs. They think he’s crazy at first, but by the end, they’re singing along to “Father Figure.”
Of course the turn-around later is that Key and Peele are found out to not be gangster and someone comments something like “I bet he wasn’t even a Father Figure”… they were already tripping over the discovery that he wasn’t black.
Yeah, George Michael was pretty soulful when he wanted to be.
I’d heard “Father Figure” a bunch of times on the radio this year and I came to like it a lot.
“Faith”- I never really “got”… it wasn’t one of my favorites.
My favorite- “Everything She Wants”… I could listen to that music FOREVER… it is so catchy and groovy… just love it.
Then there’s “Last Christmas”- I literally had to get a NOW Christmas CD for Christmas because of that song. I had to have it. It’s #18 out of 25 on my personal Christmas mix, right after Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.”
I heard it a bunch of times this year (mainly because at work, we have the all-Christmas station playing all day and they play the same songs at least three times a day)… I was afraid they were going to play it so much that I’d fall out of love with it.
I heard it today with my mix maybe the 10th time this whole month… no love lost.
Little did I know by the time I got to it, he was already gone 😦
So crazy how it’s sounded so alive to me and I’ve felt so alive listening to it, but the artist himself was on his way out of this life.
Now each time I hear it again, it’s going to be a bit sadder. I managed to hear it during every single Christmas episode of “The Mindy Project” (Mindy would crank it up when her current relationship fell apart on Christmas… last year was the lone exception- it was a happy show and it was during the ending credits) without feeling totally sad while listening to it.
I’ve heard a bunch of covers, but nothing beats the original- between the Linn-drum and 80’s elements and his vocals… both heartfelt and heartbreaking.
It’s also kinda cool to hear that “Everything she wants” was a song he loved working on, especially since he was leaving Wham! to go solo. He was over the rest of the music, but he still loved and stood by that one.
RIP George Michael- you will sorely missed.
okay, time to binge YouTube with all the songs I just mentioned…