25 Years Of Keeping The Faith
October 27, 2012 10:01 PM   Subscribe

October 30, 1987 is the anniversary of the release of Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou's first solo album. It would go on to sell over 8 million copies in the first year of its release in the US alone, spawn six Top 5 singles (including four which hit #1, another reaching #2), would reach the top of the album charts in countries around the world, and to date has sold over 25 million copies across the planet. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, George Michael's Faith is 25 years old.

After the breakup of Wham! in 1986, speculation about what would come next from George Michael lingered in the minds of music fans. He had already released two solo singles while still with Ridgeley (Careless Whisper and A Different Corner), as well as a duet single with Aretha Franklin, and he seemed to be the most likely of the two to continue a music career.

George Michael spent a good portion of 1987 recording and producing (and playing many of the instruments on) the album on his own, using the new Synclavier 9600 Tapeless Studio digital recording system. [Rumor has it that is the ACTUAL UNIT which Michael used at Trevor Horn's studio.] The new toy not only allowed Michael freedom [heh] in the studio, but also allowed him to explore innovations such as sped-up vocals inspired by Prince's Camille, and gave his remixers access to sampling technology similar to what the Fairlight afforded The Art Of Noise.

June 1st had seen the first glimpse of the new project, in the form of lead-off single I Want Your Sex, which quickly became infamous (and more popular) due to having a censored video. Even during the era of Madonna's button pushing, the song was groundbreaking for its frankness and the pro-monogamy message of the video (something Michael may have been pressured into including during the AIDS crisis). Its synth backing track was created by accident when a MIDI unit triggered a synthesizer instead of a drum machine, and Michael liked it so much he based the song around the chaotic pattern.

Finally, Faith was released on October 30.
Faith
The third single from the album (technically -- Hard Day was released only as a promo single), it spent 15 weeks in the Top 40 including 4 weeks at #1. The top single of 1987, combined with Faith (the album) being the top album of 1987, meant Michael had duplicated a feat (top album and single) which had only previously been achieved by Simon & Garfunkel in 1970. The Faith video featured icons such as the leather jacket, jukebox, and acoustic guitar which would later be "destroyed" in Michael's Freedom 90 video. The organ at the beginning is playing Wham's Freedom.)
Father Figure
Fourth single. Two weeks at #1, 14 weeks in the Top 40. The video features either a brokenhearted taxi driver or a stalker, depending on how you chose to view the imagery.) It was originally going to be a dance number until Michael played it back minus some of the rhythm tracks and liked the effect enough to make the song a ballad. The b-side for the single was a live recording of Stevie Wonder's Love's In Need Of Love Today.
I Want Your Sex (Parts 1 & 2) [video as inexplicable blank audio at the end]
The success of I Want Your Sex as a single has already been outlined. The single track is continue here with Part II, which features expanded melodic and lyrical ideas as well as a horn section. These are presented as a single track on the original release.
One More Try
Single number five. Video. Tied for second-longest #1 single of 1988 (with Poison's Every Rose Has Its Thorn), with Steve Winwood's Roll With It beating both at 4 weeks. It spent 14 weeks in the Top 40. Triple topper, also reaching #1 on the R&B and Adult Contemporary charts. B-side was a live gospel version of the song.
Hard Day
Second single, released the same day as the album. No video filmed. Charted briefly on the Dance Club and R&B/Hip-Hop charts. Most notable for having I Want Your Sex (The Monogamy Mix) as a b-side: Rhythm 1: Lust, Rhythm 2: Brass In Love, Rhythm 3: A Last Request. This unique mix is the only version where all three part of I Want Your Sex can be found as unified song. The other b-side is the full-length Shep Pettibone Mix.
Hand To Mouth
Michael intended to release this as a single, but was discouraged from doing so.
Look At Your Hands
Monkey
Sixth single. This spent two weeks at #1 on the US Hot 100. Also reached #1 on the Dance Club chart. The only single to have extensive alternate versions released for the single. These included the Extended [by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis], A'Cappella [sic], Extra Beats, and 7" Edit mixes. The video featured yet another mix, largely derived from the 7" Edit mix.
Kissing A Fool
This was the seventh (!) and final single from this album, and it peaked at #5 on the Hot 100, but did hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Singles included an instrumental version. Video.
These final two tracks were available on CD only.
Hard Day (Shep Pettibone Remix) [an edit of the full-length extended mix]
A Last Request (I Want Your Sex Part 3)
Full album for those who like to listen that way.

Astoundingly, none of George Michael's singles from Faith hit #1 in the UK.

Even while the album was working the charts and singles were being released, George Michael went on a world tour. Glimpses of his tour can be seen in these videos:
I Want Your Sex
Hard Day
Everything She Wants
Monkey
After the tour and the album had died down, George Michael would finally return with Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1. The album would prove to be a point of dispute between him and his label, and he would not produce much new material for 6 years.
posted by hippybear (78 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for this. "Father Figure" will always be George Michael's pinnacle for me... and I adore PM Dawn's FF-sampling "Looking Through Patient Eyes" too.
posted by mykescipark at 10:06 PM on October 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wow, about four hours ago, as I was taking a shower, I suddenly thought that "Faith" would sound good mashed up with The Cure's "Close to Me". Had no idea it was Faith's birthday. Happy Birthday, Faith!

Faith-a-faith-a-faith UUHHHHH!
posted by not_on_display at 10:11 PM on October 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Hippybear, I don't know how you do it, another great post. The 25th anniversary may explain why he got the slot in the Olympics but not why he got to play his new single.
posted by arcticseal at 10:13 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Faith tour was the first big arena show I went to. 25 years. Huh. (Wikipedia tells me the show at the Tacoma Dome was on September 23rd, 1988, so I guess 24 years for that.)
posted by hades at 10:18 PM on October 27, 2012


My father is a huge Bo Diddley fan. A few years back I made a playlist of all the songs I could find that featured the Bo Diddley riff and sent it to a few people (it was my first Mefi Music Swap as well, I think); one of the people I sent it to was Dad, who LOVED it (apparently he retreated to the back porch with a beer and a really good cigar and blasted it immediately upon receiving it).

However, there was one song out of the 20 he didn't like - "Faith". He said I could have left that off - and I told him that if I had to live through the damn thing being all over the radio in my teens, he could damn well put up with it today.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:22 PM on October 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


A lot of 24-year-olds were conceived to that album.
posted by Blue Meanie at 10:26 PM on October 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


(Technically October 30, 1987 is the release date, not the anniversary.)
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:28 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, EmpressCallipygos, I was just coming here to mention the Bo Diddley beat in relation to Faith. I was actually pretty surprised, when I first heard it 25 years ago, that the beat had shown up again on the pop charts at that particular time. It's a testament to the compelling power of the beat. Timeless, really.

And as far as that playlist... wonder if you could share that with us here? I'd be delighted if I found some tunes I didn't know about that use it. And I'm sure a lot of folks here would be interested.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:29 PM on October 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


....Lemme see if i can find if I posted it in the mefi swap back then first (don't want to derail too much).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:36 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hell yes.
posted by k8t at 10:45 PM on October 27, 2012


Didn't post it in that swap - I'm still leery of derailing too much, so if anyone's interested memail me and I'll shoot you the list of songs.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:49 PM on October 27, 2012


I just wanted to say that I love this album, and I love George Michael. The last true feel-good pop star, he was.
posted by koeselitz at 10:50 PM on October 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thank you for informing me that I'm old.

And, well, it's Father Figure somewhat, and by somewhat, I mean completely, creepy?

Not that it's not a brilliant song. That's part of what makes it so creepy.
posted by eriko at 10:50 PM on October 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was fifteen in 1987. So when "I Want Your Sex" came out that summer, it was the absolute must-hear song of all time. Teenagers mentioned it in whispers and gave it the reverence reserved for urban legends and folk tales.

"Have you heard it?"
"It's dirty, isn't it."

But here's the added trouble. I grew up in North Georgia, just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee. And though we had maybe a week or so of uncensored audio filth from George Michael, the song was soon removed from the airwaves. But it didn't stay away forever, as it was replaced with a strangely edited version.

Imagine "I Want Your Sex." Go ahead. Okay. Get through the first verse, the bridge ...

A man's got his patience
And here's where my ends

I want your love ...


Catch that? A hasty edit had lifted the "love" from second line of the chorus and dropped it unaltered on the first.

So that's what we got.

I want your love
I want your love
I want your ... love


Ridiculous. And to make things more strange, even the radio jocks were calling the song "I Want Your Love."
posted by grabbingsand at 10:55 PM on October 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh man oh man. So, Faith, the single, is like many big pop and rock hits a song I was familiar with as a kid only second-hand through a parody version I'd heard on one or another bootleg cassette of Dr. Demento's radio show. Specifically, it was a parody probably titled "Face", since it was all about the importance of having a good looking face to get ahead, or something like that.

I remember the general structure of the gag: a verse or two about needing to be good looking with the chorus "you gotta have face-uh-face-uh FACE" and then a big twist in an SFX-laden bridge (plastic surgery gone wrong?) and the chorus changing to the idea that you "gotta have a face" which the protagonist no longer had.

And I remember a couple bits of lyrics, like, from the A part of maybe the second verse:

Maybe
I'll do it just like Mike did
And be the only white kid
To look ex-ack-tuh-ly
Like Di-ana Ross


and, later in the turnaround into the last tragic chorus:

I should not have gooooone to
That plastic suuurrrgeon
Cuz I think my left ear just fell on the fluh-oor...


It was only years later that I started doing a little bit of self-eduction on pop music for the normals and discovered that there was some guy named George Michael.

Last time I had a Dr. D flashback like this was La Isla Gilligan, a Madonna parody that I likewise heard and interalized years before I ever heard the actual song. In that case I had to do a little digging to figure out the pedigree and track down a recording online, but I managed to find it and stick it on Youtube for posterity. But this "Face" song I'm remembering I can't even find a hint of so far; nothing on the lyrics I recall. It is surprising and a little dismaying to me that these songs that seem like they were written for the Internet sensibility are apparently just getting lost in the world offline instead of indexed and catalogued for the next generation of weird kids to grow up with.

But Faith is a pretty good pop tune, so.
posted by cortex at 10:57 PM on October 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


and I adore PM Dawn's FF-sampling "Looking Through Patient Eyes" too.

I am (and have been for years now) patiently awaiting a popular reassessment of P.M. Dawn.
If it werent for the goofy costumes and new-agey baggage, I think people would have far more respect for them.
Jesus Wept is a goddamn masterpiece that I just cnat get anyone to give a fair chance to, sadly.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:01 PM on October 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


this post is the best post.
posted by elizardbits at 11:06 PM on October 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am (and have been for years now) patiently awaiting a popular reassessment of P.M. Dawn.

Indeed. Prince Be is a criminally underrated producer and songwriter. Their best stuff has a heartbreaking, world-weary melancholy on par with vintage Pet Shop Boys. I don't think they made a bad album (including, if not especially, the long-suppressed Fucked Music).
posted by mykescipark at 11:10 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just in case any of you were wondering what happened to Andrew Ridgeley...
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:16 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh shit, I spoke too soon! Dr. D's site has a (work in progress?) searchable index of show playlists going back several decades, and searching around for "Face" turned up a lead for a song of that name by Wally Wingert, and I found exactly one hit on google running with that, to a play history and an excerpt of Face from something called Captain Wayne's Mad Music. It's only a scrap, but it's something! And it looks like Dr. D shows are playable for a fee, which isn't really ideal but a paywall archive is better than no archive at all and may end up costing me some money here shortly.

I'm sorry, please continue discussing George Michael.

posted by cortex at 11:21 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, man. If there's ever been an absolution to be found for the horrible, horrible things that can happen when you put a solo male vocalist on a stage with a piano, it's Kissing A Fool. One of the great piano-lounge songs, and maybe the best one with a male lead.
posted by mhoye at 11:24 PM on October 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


mhoye, you are dead right on that call.
posted by readyfreddy at 11:40 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


eriko: “Thank you for informing me that I'm old.”

You know what did it for me?

Realizing that there are hundreds of thousands of people now who've graduated from college who weren't even born yet when Come On Pilgrim was released. 25 years old last month.

This works too, though. These quarter-century milestones are a doozy.
posted by koeselitz at 11:44 PM on October 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD I FOUND IT I'M GOING TO BED NOW SORRY ABOUT THIS
posted by cortex at 11:47 PM on October 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


My 17 year old self would probably be astounded by the amount of respect my 42 year old self has come to develop for George Michael. I think it started cheesing out to my girlfriend's ironically purchased Faith cassette on long road trips and hit hard with the "fuck yeah, preach it George" of Freedom 90. By the time he's calling George W. Bush a motherfucker on the BBC in the lead up to the Iraq war and smiling and shrugging about his latest arrest for lewd behavior in a public restroom, I'm thinking this is one cool confident cat that doesn't give a fuck.

More pop stars like this, please.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:55 PM on October 27, 2012 [10 favorites]


Just in case any of you were wondering what happened to Andrew Ridgeley...

How awesome is it that Ridgeley got married to one of the women in Bananarama?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:00 AM on October 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


By the time he's calling George W. Bush a motherfucker on the BBC

"Shoot the Dog" is an awesome late-period track of his that uses "Love Action" to great effect.
posted by mykescipark at 12:17 AM on October 28, 2012


Wow. 25 years. I got that album on cassette. I hadn't known about Wham! but got all of those albums on cassette shortly after. They were so catchy. And can I say I recognized George Michael's birth name immediately. Lordy.
posted by halonine at 12:31 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


What amazes me the most? NOBODY KNEW HE WAS GAY, EVEN AFTER WHAM!!!

Some great singles. The guitar solo on "Faith" is great.
posted by bardic at 1:39 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am old. I turned 21 that year.
posted by infini at 3:57 AM on October 28, 2012


Seconding the old part, George Michael was the first celebrity I had a crush on- I much preferred him over my friend's choice of Jack Wagner. (Also I wasn't allowed watching GH). Maybe because of that, I always preferred Wham songs over George Michael's later solo work. My ill-advised love and musical choices haven't much improved 25 years later!!
posted by bquarters at 4:14 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


We picked up a copy of George Michael's greatest hits, think its called 25? As in 25 songs. Sadly, both my wife and I agree that it's something like 10-12 songs too long. There's a lot of stuff in Michael's back catalog that is spectacular, but the later stuff is just... mostly meh at best.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:14 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


... and just to mention it, Prince's 1999 album was released 30 years ago yesterday...
posted by mrmarley at 5:37 AM on October 28, 2012


My 17 year old self would probably be astounded by the amount of respect my 42 year old self has come to develop for George Michael

Same here.

After Faith, I expected him to be as dominant through the 90s as Elton John had been through the 70s. I don't know whether it was the record company or the drugs or the indiscreet sex, but somewhere along the line he seemed to have squandered a genuinely major talent.

Great post.
posted by Egg Shen at 5:57 AM on October 28, 2012


Well, if his music career doesn't work out, there's always money in the banana stand.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:59 AM on October 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


Just in case any of you were wondering what happened to Andrew Ridgeley...

It appears he lives in Cornwall with an ex-member of Bananarama. That might be the most 80s thing I've ever heard.

I like it when it says "Reportedly after retiring from active music-making, Ridgeley still remained active in music-writing under various pseudonyms" as "after retiring from active music-making" presumably includes his career in Wham!. Ridgeley was hardly a creative musical powerhouse like, say, Bez out of the Happy Mondays (the worlds foremost proponent of the art of wandering around holding maracas).

That said, it seems he managed to have all the fun of being a pop star and has amassed a considerable amount of money while somehow avoiding all that tiresome and stressful "doing anything at all", so I suppose I'm just jealous. I don't even have maracas.
posted by Grangousier at 5:59 AM on October 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey now, that's not fair!

Bez also dances.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:39 AM on October 28, 2012


A hasty edit had lifted the "love" from second line of the chorus and dropped it unaltered on the first.

I was 13 at the time. If I'd heard the word "sex" on the radio, I might have become pregnant or gotten AIDS. I'm glad someone was looking out for me.
posted by desjardins at 6:51 AM on October 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


I remember my junior high music teacher playing "Monkey" for us, trying to get us to analyze it or something. I didn't really appreciate his music until college, probably because I was in love with Listen without Prejudice.
posted by zix at 7:07 AM on October 28, 2012


Oh man, I played George Michael's solo stuff for our 22-year-old intern this summer and it BLEW HER MIND.

I intentionally avoided I Want Your Sex and Father Figure, of course.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:14 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suddenly thought that "Faith" would sound good mashed up with The Cure's "Close to Me".
posted by not_on_display


Already been done: George Michael/Faith + The Cure/close to me and another
posted by Lanark at 7:16 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm a fan of the George Michael/Missy Elliot mashup Get Your FAITH On.
posted by hippybear at 7:19 AM on October 28, 2012


Andrew Ridgeley spends a lot of his time motor racing IIRC. Lots of the fun stuff of being a pop star without the messed up train wreck bits.
posted by arcticseal at 7:32 AM on October 28, 2012


Wham! was possibly the first band I enjoyed primarily for its earwormability.

"Wham! bam! I am! a man!"

You're welcome.
posted by zippy at 7:36 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Job or no job, you can't tell me that I'm not.
posted by hippybear at 7:38 AM on October 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Hand to Mouth": a way underrated track from the album and probably my favorite.
posted by blucevalo at 7:39 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and even more apropos now than 25 years ago too.
posted by blucevalo at 7:40 AM on October 28, 2012


"Did you know that Neil Tennant used to be lovers with George Michael? Of course, that was before the relationship with Morrissey." This little lie seemed to have the desired effect.

"No shit?!"

"Well, that's what Neil told me last time he was in New York."
-- The Black Marble Pool: A Novel (1990) by Stan Leventhal (U.S.), page 43
posted by ceribus peribus at 7:42 AM on October 28, 2012


I love "Faith". I love Bob Mortimer dancing to "Faith" even more.
posted by ZipRibbons at 7:43 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, at least there's one or two comments in this thread that show some love for Kissing a Fool. I can't get enough of that song. It's so beautifully easy, jazzy and lush.
posted by orange swan at 7:45 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some ancillary material:

Local News Coverage of the Faith tour

Madonna presents the MTV Video Vanguard award to George Micheal, 1989

Dutch television interview, 1988
posted by hippybear at 8:08 AM on October 28, 2012


Tori Amos can be hit'n'miss with covers, but this one got me hooked on "Father Figure," hers and GM's. Don't know if it's the gender-flip or TA's reading or both. I've wanted, on occasion, to add this to a mixtape, but tough to predict its reception: "You want to be my what?!"
posted by the sobsister at 8:30 AM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Faith" was kind of interesting in that it would later become the first ironic cover I noticed. It can't have been the song to be covered for giggles but Limp Bizkit's version was possibly the start of those audible jokes gaining some kind of traction.

I still have mixed feelings about "I Want Your Sex," which was a key weapon in my then-girlfriend's relentless march on my virginity.
posted by adipocere at 8:46 AM on October 28, 2012


my favorite song of his has to be "Fantasy" (the b-side from the 'Freedom90' single)...still holds up surprisingly well...
posted by sexyrobot at 9:26 AM on October 28, 2012


Not only is the album pop perfection, the cover art inspired a generation of armpit fetishists. A big win for western culture.
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:32 AM on October 28, 2012


Yeah, I have Fantasy tracked into Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 right between Cowboys And Angels and Waiting For That Day. It fits perfectly there and flows great with the album.
posted by hippybear at 9:33 AM on October 28, 2012


Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 has been stuck in my truck's CD player for months. I see no reason to try to get it out.
posted by xedrik at 10:08 AM on October 28, 2012


Omg. After watching those videos, two things strike me.

1. I love how the 80s were simultaneously outrageous in fashion and design and subdued in emotion. It's like the first world was on the opposite of cocaine the entire time.

2. How did we not realize he was gay omg?!
posted by infinitewindow at 10:19 AM on October 28, 2012


Faith is pretty good, but "Freedom '90" is one of the best pop songs of the last 30 years, full stop. Great video, too.
posted by Rangeboy at 10:36 AM on October 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


My niece Faith was born when the CD was released. I bought a copy thinking it would a cool thing to give to her later. Tossed it in my lockbox and forgot about it. Years later, I'm holding it in my hand going, what the fuck was I thinking? Uncle Pervy, indeed.
posted by wallabear at 10:39 AM on October 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


OMG you're taking me back to my formative years. I loved all the songs and had the posters up on my walls. Oh, George.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:03 AM on October 28, 2012


2. How did we not realize he was gay omg?!

Because he had a girlfriend, and that was more than enough evidence to satisfy my 15-year-old self.

At that age I used to fall asleep to the Faith album cassette on auto-reverse on my Radio Shack brand Walkman knockoff.
posted by kimberussell at 11:11 AM on October 28, 2012


2. How did we not realize he was gay omg?!

Because he had a girlfriend


Well, he had a beard, anyway. (And I don't mean his stubble.) Michael was already involved in sex with men by this point.

But yeah, 1987? People being gay wasn't really much of a thing in a public way at that point. Jimmy Somerville was out, but who else? Holly Johnson, maybe. Sylvester was out, but he had never really been hidden with his sexuality. Elton John didn't make a public announcement about actually being gay until 1988. Neil Tennant waited until 1994. Rock Hudson had died in 1985, but Freddy Mercury was still alive and closeted. Dick Sargeant's coming out date was 1990.

I guess all this is to say, there were a few (very few) people in public life who were out as homosexual in 1987, but as has been the case for most of modern history, the default assumed setting was heterosexual.

And anyway, EVERYONE had hair and clothes and stuff that was gay gay gay at that point in time. This is, after all, the era where heavy metal bands looked like this.
posted by hippybear at 11:36 AM on October 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


hippybear, all you say is true. I guess I'm young enough that I just don't remember the big deal about public figures being gay (I do remember the stigma attached to being gay and local, though... and my hometown is provincial enough that it won't go away any time soon, more's the pity.)
posted by infinitewindow at 1:25 PM on October 28, 2012


infinitewindow: 2. How did we not realize he was gay omg?!
What you mean "we", white(and/or black, hispanic, asian, or of mixed or other race) man(or woman)?

My all-time favorite story about George Michael was from Gerri Halliwell, on some talk show. It was right after the Spice Girls broke up, and she was emotionally pretty broken down, so George invited her to stay at his beachside house and recuperate.

Thing was, she had the HUGEST crush on him, and thought, "YES! Now I'll finally bed him!"

She adds with a laugh, "Apparently I was the last person on Earth to realize he was gay. Despite all the hunky young men in speedos that would drop by."
posted by IAmBroom at 2:22 PM on October 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess I'm young enough that I just don't remember the big deal about public figures being gay

At 38 I am not quite "old" old yet, but the fact I lived long enough to see that means thats everything isnt always terrible and things can and do change for the better.
And Im just a plain boring old straight dude.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:29 PM on October 28, 2012


Boy George mentioned snarkily in 1989 that George Michael's heterosexuality was "the best kept secret in the UK music business". So I guess it's understandable that everyone else ended up following that trail of misdirection...
posted by pjm at 3:54 PM on October 28, 2012


BTW his "Fastlove" is one of my go-to jams.
That slithering bassline is mad potent.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:02 PM on October 28, 2012


This is just really weird and uncanny with the timing of this week's episode of The Office, frankly.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:22 PM on October 28, 2012


Do you think that the creators of The Office are unaware of this album and might not know about its release date?

I'd suspect that it's more likely they are, and they do.
posted by hippybear at 7:13 PM on October 28, 2012


Also, Stephen Colbert playing Broccoli Rob is hilarious given Steve Carell's repeating character Produce Pete when they were both cast members of The Daily Show.
posted by hippybear at 7:15 PM on October 28, 2012


Never was a fan, and always thought of him and his music as being the sort of slick cheesebag nonsense enjoyed by people I couldn't stand, and the antithesis of righteous punk rock integrity.

However, you get older, and if you're lucky, your empathy program comes online, and you mellow in your vitriol.

One thing that helped was reading an article somewhere, and I wish I could recall where or its specifics, but said article talked about George's refusal to make his sexuality public until after his mother's death, unfortunately he's never really come to terms with her dying, and it's done the effect of really crippling him emotionally and professionally. Maybe all this was in the same article, or perhaps I've pieced together bits from other places. Whatever the source might be, I've grown to see George Michael as a fundamentally sad person, despite all the accolades and adulation.
posted by erskelyne at 8:31 PM on October 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whatever the source might be, I've grown to see George Michael as a fundamentally sad person, despite all the accolades and adulation.

I'd have to agree with that assessment on some level. There is a melancholy at the core of Michael which shows in his songs, and has for decades.

I think he's a brilliant song writer. He has a kind of unique approach to writing, where his verses often feature similar lyrics with subtly shifted words so the basic words are the same with just enough difference between iterations to make the meaning deeper through contrast and similarity. The choruses of his songs can be exactly the same or feature the same subtle lyrical shifts, so you think you know what he's going to say, but it's not quite the same and the meaning has changed.

This isn't quite as evident on his Faith album as it is in his later works. I think that Precious Box [lyrics], from his 2004 Patience album, is a pretty good example of this. (Although a careful listen across his career will yield examples of this.)

But yeah, I think there's a sadness at his core which continues to shine through even in his most celebratory music. I can see this as a reflection of his sexuality and years of suppression and rejection (real and imagined) because of it. He comes close to addressing this in My Mother Had A Brother (also from his Patience album), only he shoves it onto an earlier generation rather than owning it for himself.
posted by hippybear at 10:07 PM on October 28, 2012


It appears he lives in Cornwall with an ex-member of Bananarama. That might be the most 80s thing I've ever heard.

I hear they like to walk to the coast, find a particularly dramatic cliff, and then get up close to the edge. They play their old hits, dance a little, and mime / air guitar to the music.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:30 PM on October 28, 2012


I hear they like to walk to the coast

Preferably along railway tracks next to brick walls.
posted by cortex at 7:16 AM on October 29, 2012


Wow, this post brings back the memories! My first big arena show was also George Michael on the Faith tour, at the Rosemont Horizon in Sept 1988. Loved it. I was a huge fan since the Wham days...had the big poster of him on my bedroom wall. I bought the cassette of Faith when it came out...played it over and over again. Hard Day is a highly underrated song.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:13 AM on October 29, 2012


But yeah, 1987? People being gay wasn't really much of a thing in a public way at that point. Jimmy Somerville was out, but who else?

Boy George tended to speak coyly about the subject, but he certainly wasn't fooling anybody.
posted by dnash at 9:23 AM on October 29, 2012


No, he certainly wasn't. Of course, going to gay clubs with his friend Marilyn probably was everyone's first clue.
posted by hippybear at 5:59 PM on October 29, 2012


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