Oh George…

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I wasn’t going to say anything about George Michael’s sudden passing – thousands of tributes have appeared (from Bananarama, from Spandau Ballet, from Kim Wilde – the list goes on) – what could I add? But then, this blog is my little space to record the stuff I care about and while my memories of George may not be in the same league as ‘sung with him at Wembley‘, they are important to me.

There’s a common theme in social media posts about George’s death – that 2016 has been a spectacularly shitty year and it has robbed us of so many great musicians – Bowie, Prince and Cohen immediately come to mind. No disrespect to them, but the loss of George was deeply shocking for me.

His music was the soundtrack of my youth – I finished grade six with a class dance to Wake Me Up Before You Go Go (complete with the self-hug “…cuddle up baby…” dance move).

His music challenged what I thought about all sorts of stuff (particularly a person’s sexuality – it was the early-eighties…). And of course the hair, the two earrings, the gloves, the snazzy shorts – no one did an eighties-gelato palette quite like George.

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His music had me screaming like a teenager in 2010 when he played hit after hit at his Melbourne concert.

Just last week I was explaining to my kids that Last Christmas was a seminal video-clip (no, not overstating it) because of its superb narrative arc.

His music never fails to get me on the dance floor. And his music will never fail to make me happy.

You take the grey skies out of my way
You make the sun shine brighter than Doris Day

Yesterday I slipped on my Choose Life tee, put Faith on the turntable and had a little cry. But also a little smile because George will be rocking that upstairs lounge.

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12 responses

  1. I was never a fan – always too left of centre for his music, but find it very sad – I love the stories emerging of his amazing generosity. And watching him sing at the Freddy Mercury memorial concert makes me realise what a great singer he really was. I understand you gutted feeling. Bowie’s passing was devastating to me. These figures we see as outside the mortal realm.

    • Yes, it seems music-lovers of all kinds this year have suffered a loss that has hurt harder than others. There’s only a handful of singers/ bands that defined the 80s and 90s (and beyond) for me – losing one is hard to calibrate.

      I’ve also enjoyed the stories over the last two days of George’s generosity and his sense of humour.

  2. What lovely words. Like everyone else I knew at the time, I snaffled my mum’s copy of George Michael’s best of, Ladies and Gentlemen, to listen to in secret, and will always remember hearing Wake Me Up Before You Go Go on every night out at uni. I had that Best Of album on yesterday and was struck by how clearly Praying for Time fits the world right now: “it’s so hard to love/there’s so much to hate,” “holding onto hope when there is no hope to speak of.” Another genuine icon lost.

  3. Like Julianne, it was Bowie for me but it’s impossible not to acknowledge what a fine performer and songwriter George Michael was or not to be touched by his many acts of kindness which he kept to himself. A thoroughly lovely man. My partner reminded me last night of the time we heard a Wham! track playing in a Kathmandu market in the mid ’80s – truly a global phenomenon.

    • I think that’s what’s been hardest about the legends we’ve lost this year – whilst they may not have been your favourite, any music lover appreciates their contribution.

  4. My best friend from junior high made me my most treasured mix-tape which had Wake Me Up Before You Go Go on it and I never even knew that was George until recently. And Careless Whisper! What an incredible song. Gone too soon.

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