Rewind for a tribute to the 1980s Young Gun…
Remembering the 80s singer, song writer and occasional actor, George Michael.
It was a shocked Darlin’ Husband who woke me a night ago, telling me that George Michael, my 1980s teen musical idol – and the one time object of affection had passed away. Here’s 5 ways how I’ll remember about George, the man who brought us songs like Freedom, Young Guns, Wake me Up Before You Go-Go and Faith. And these include few more surprising moments on the wee screen.
George and his Wham! buddy Andrew Ridgeley had an important part to play in my teenage years. In the 1980s I was more into Telly namely Dallas (1978-91) than into music and Wham! changed everything. For years before this, I had avoided Top of the Pops (1964-2016) believing new romantic boyband Spandau Ballet to be a ballet company, and therefore not my thing. Thanks to George and Andrew I got into music in Christmas 1984 when Wham! released their Christmas song, Last Christmas. This music lead to requests of the Wham! albums – Fantastic (1983) and Make it Big (1984) – on tape, to go with my main Christmas pressie of a personal stereo so I’d listen to them a helluva lot.
Posters of George and Andrew then became fixed to my wall in droves. As did purchase of scarves, Wham related music magazines and George Michael sweatshirts. And yes, I’ll admit it George was my first musical crush too during his Wham! career! As well as an amazing solo career, George also sang numerous duets. His singing partners included Aretha Franklin and Elton John. The above song, Club Tropicana being my favourite song and what was not to like.
His Charity Work
Little Britain meets George Michael | Comic Relief, Comic Relief http://www.youtube.com
In addition to remembering his music both as a Wham! member and as a solo artist, many of his online tributes mention George Michael’s numerous generous deeds and his charity work. Wikipedia also outlines examples such as him giving his profits from the Last Christmas single to charity. George also sang on the other single I bought in Christmas 1984, “Do They Know it’s Christmas?” by Band Aid.
Looking at his work online, I also noticed that George made regular comic appearances in Comic Relief alongside the likes of Catherine Tate and David Walliams and Matt Lucas’s Lou and Andy characters from Little Britain. In the latter sketch, as shown above well meaning carer Lou asks his client Andy, what he would like for his birthday, On hearing he’d like to meet George Michael, he surprises him with an appearance from the man from Wham!
His Comic Talents
Ricky Gervais in bed with George Michael, British Comedy Awards, http://www.youtube.com
George seemed a natural at comedy and as in the previous sketch, he also ridicule himself and here Ricky Gervais takes a wee poke at some of George’s more public misdemeanours. Another comedy moment that George indirectly took part in, was in the plot of an EastEnders storyline where one of the female characters, Heather fancied him to the point of obsession, with a comic storyline also involved her trespassing a house she believed to be his.Which it wasn’t. Later after Heather gives birth to a baby boy, she named him George Michael. And I’m sure he wasn’t the first or the last baby named after him.
George Michael in Eli Stone Episode 9, George Michael NL, http://www.youtube.com
George Michael also played a more high-profile acting part in Eli Stone (2008-2009), a now cancelled legal comedy. I remember watching this telly programme for this reason alone. George Michael starred here as San Francisco’s lawyer, Eli Stone’s Guardian Angel. Stone (Jonny Lee Miller) believed George to be a hallucination due to a possible brain illness or that something deeper was happening. Stone then takes on court cases for the greater good, for little monetary returns. The cast also included Sigourney Weaver, Natasha Henstridge and Pamela Reed. The titles of George’s singles were used as episode titles for the first series and George Michael appeared to seek legal advice from Stone’s character in the above clip.
And ending on a wee George Michael related spoiler,
His music on film soundtracks
Deadpool – Careless Whisper full final scene and credits, Marco Sifuentes, http://www.youtube.com
Recently, George Michael’s music has appeared in a much-loved movie soundtrack. His album Make it Big, made a shock reappearance in this movie with many a reference to 80s pop culture. Wade Wilson aka our antihero Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) on reuniting with his main squeeze, Vanessa has a John Cusack moment playing Careless Whisper to her. Which admittedly made me sob, and for this film moment and the perfection of the song. So it’s nice that George even made a wee indirect appearance in a Marvel-lous cameo.
And that’s why I think George is as Fantastic as his first album, and I’m sure there will be other discoveries about this generous, caring pop star as his name makes it big in social media. And its just sad this man wasn’t recognised for more than his pop songs, when he lived.