I don’t feel fully equipped to write this. I liked and admired George Michael, but I would never really call myself a fan. That’s not a diss, and I am not about to slag him off. I’m just saying I feel compelled to say something.
In the early 80s, when I was a rock-head at school, all of the girls were either a Durannie or a Spandau, but I remember Wham! coming along, like a breath of fresh air, taking us away from all the New Romantic posturing and reminding us that pop songs could just be bloody ace.
But there was a meaning, a message, in those early Wham! songs, something I tapped into, I think, an anti-establishment vibe that didn’t really take hold with me until a few years later. But, if I think about it, pre-“Club Tropicana” Wham! probably laid the foundations.
Let us not forget, as the red-tops unite in their supposed grief in their grubby hurry to sell a few more copies, that these were the same people who rubbed their hands with glee at every moment where things went a little awry for George (and let’s be honest, there were a few…), or where his political agenda didn’t quite chime with theirs:
And let’s not forget his ability to take the piss out of himself, or, more pertinently, the public perception of him:
George (our George, not Mr Michael) has already suggested the song that I would have played here for next week’s The Chain, so I’ll leave that until then. Here’s an alternative:
For me, his finest moment, though – apart from the one I’m going to mention in a moment – was his response to getting arrested for “lewd behaviour” (although they probably spelt it without the “u”) in an American toilet block:
But there’s a couple of things I wanted to share with you first.
Firstly, in the last couple of days, the internet has been awash with stories of George’s incredible generosity, my favourite of which was from ‘Pointless’ host, and former producer on ‘Deal or No Deal’, Richard Osman, who revealed that one day, on the latter show, after a contestant had been trying to win (but lost) £15,000 to allow her to have IVF treatment, George had called in and given them the £15,000 – and it wasn’t until he died that the benefactor found out about it, via Osman’s tweet.
Secondly, I wanted to share a clip which has been doing the business on Twitter in the last couple of days, of the rehearsal for the Freddie Mercury tribute concert, where George was to sing “Somebody to Love”.
If this was an audition, then he fucking nails it:
And here’s him doing it live at Wembley, and totally owning it:
If you want a more fitting, personal tribute, then may I direct you to Alyson over at What’s It All About, Alfie?
From me though, R.I.P. George. You will be missed.