You make the sun shine brighter than Doris Day
December 25, 2016 3:57 PM   Subscribe

 
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posted by sourwookie at 3:57 PM on December 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


You have got to be fucking kidding me.
posted by selfnoise at 3:58 PM on December 25, 2016 [138 favorites]


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posted by parki at 3:58 PM on December 25, 2016


2016: The Slaughter Continues.
posted by Grangousier at 3:59 PM on December 25, 2016 [33 favorites]


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posted by Rumple at 3:59 PM on December 25, 2016


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I look forward to the FPP that 2016 has passed. I will leave no "."
posted by foodbedgospel at 4:00 PM on December 25, 2016 [56 favorites]


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posted by valkane at 4:01 PM on December 25, 2016


What the actual fuck. Thanks for the music, George, we needed it more than ever.

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posted by lydhre at 4:01 PM on December 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


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posted by Bringer Tom at 4:02 PM on December 25, 2016


2016 has reached the late nineties Sean Connery level of self-caricature.

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posted by condour75 at 4:02 PM on December 25, 2016 [9 favorites]


Fuck, my period key is getting worn out.
posted by Bringer Tom at 4:02 PM on December 25, 2016 [15 favorites]


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posted by slmorri at 4:02 PM on December 25, 2016


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posted by hal9k at 4:03 PM on December 25, 2016


Last Christmas
I gave you my heart
The very next day
You gave it away.


Too short, your life, George.
Godspeed
posted by chavenet at 4:03 PM on December 25, 2016 [36 favorites]


So young. Jesus Christ.

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posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:04 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]



posted by dta at 4:06 PM on December 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


I don't like this at all.

Thanks for everything, George. You always made housecleaning a pleasure.
posted by Capt. Renault at 4:06 PM on December 25, 2016 [19 favorites]


Amongst all the musicians who we lost this year, George Michael was the one that most featured into my music growing up, and even now really. I don't know if I was ever a super-fan, but Praying for Time is one of my favourites ever, and I can appreciate the influence he brought onto one of my favourite musicians ever (Darren Hayes please for the love of God survive 2016 and beyond).

I sang twenty years and a day
nothing’s changed
the human race has found some other god that walked into the flame
And it's hard to love, there's so much to hate
Hanging on to hope
When there is no hope to speak of
And the wounded skies above say it's much too late
Well maybe we should all be praying for time

posted by divabat at 4:06 PM on December 25, 2016 [22 favorites]


I concur.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:07 PM on December 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


I hope he got to see Keanu before passing. My wife and I did Last Christmas car karaoke last night.

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posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 4:07 PM on December 25, 2016 [9 favorites]


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posted by radwolf76 at 4:07 PM on December 25, 2016


Freedom.

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posted by 4ster at 4:08 PM on December 25, 2016 [12 favorites]


The music of my childhood. Thank you so much, George, you were the best.
posted by longdaysjourney at 4:09 PM on December 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


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posted by litlnemo at 4:10 PM on December 25, 2016


I'm just . . . numb. I don't know how to feel cuz this keeps happening and too frequently.

Thanks 2016. On Christmas too.

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posted by [insert clever name here] at 4:11 PM on December 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by humanfont at 4:11 PM on December 25, 2016


He made some of the coolest and hottest music ever

Too Funky

Fast Love

Freedom

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posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:12 PM on December 25, 2016 [14 favorites]


Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:12 PM on December 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


Whoever is in charge of the afterlife is going to throw the most amazing gig ever.
posted by adept256 at 4:12 PM on December 25, 2016 [32 favorites]


Having come out, he didn’t conform to the polite, desexualised notion of gay. He told the media that he was living with his boyfriend Kenny Goss but they enjoyed an open relationship and he had a voracious sexual appetite. “You only have to turn on the television to see the whole of British society being comforted by gay men who are so clearly gay and so obviously sexually unthreatening. Gay people in the media are doing what makes straight people comfortable, and automatically my response to that is to say I’m a dirty filthy fucker and if you can’t deal with it, you can’t deal with it.”

I'll try to write more later if I can ever process this, but I'll never forget this.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:13 PM on December 25, 2016 [186 favorites]


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posted by CommonSense at 4:13 PM on December 25, 2016


All we have to do now
Is take these lies
And make them true
Somehow
All we have to see
Is I don't belong to you
And you don't belong to me
Freedom


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posted by Joey Michaels at 4:15 PM on December 25, 2016 [13 favorites]


All we have to do now
Is take these lies, and make them true somehow

posted by Meatbomb at 4:16 PM on December 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


A few weeks ago one of my friends requested that I cover Last Christmas on my YouTube channel. That song burrowed into my brain enough that I went back and listened to George Michael's solo albums. I liked them fine when they were released but hadn't thought much about them in more recent years.

George Michael's voice--so sinuous and perfect--struck me on first listen, but his songs kept me listening. He wrote perfect R&B/blue-eyed soul songs, and the 80s production didn't diminish the power of his work. Listen Without Prejudice in particular struck me as an all-killer-no-filler album. As I've scrolled through my Twitter timeline I've seen and heard songs I didn't even know or remember he recorded, which has been the silver lining in his passing.

I'm so sorry about his passing.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:16 PM on December 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


Sigh.


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posted by bunderful at 4:16 PM on December 25, 2016


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Is it wrong that one of my first thoughts after hearing the news was not about his music but about the "look at my butt, Dennis, its mesmerizing!" bits on SNL from the 80's?
posted by nubs at 4:17 PM on December 25, 2016 [28 favorites]


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posted by Wordshore at 4:18 PM on December 25, 2016


One of the few celebs I follow on Twitter, and one of the few 80's pop stars I considered to be worth listening to. He always came across as a damn decent human being.

And one helluva singer.

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posted by MexicanYenta at 4:19 PM on December 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by Ickster at 4:20 PM on December 25, 2016


He won an award in 2004 for being the most played artist on British radio over the twenty year period of 1984 - 2004. He beat out:

1. George Michael
2. Elton John
3. Robbie Williams
4. Kylie Minogue
5. Bryan Adams
6. Madonna
7. Phil Collins
8. Cliff Richard
9. Simply Red
10. Paul McCartney
posted by Rhomboid at 4:21 PM on December 25, 2016 [16 favorites]


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posted by /\/\/\/ at 4:24 PM on December 25, 2016


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posted by acb at 4:25 PM on December 25, 2016


First musician I remember dying this year was Paul Bley. But he was 83, and, you know, that's very sad but he had a good shot at living life.
posted by thelonius at 4:26 PM on December 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


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posted by Janta at 4:26 PM on December 25, 2016


I'm incredibly saddened by this, especially because his life was short after so much struggle. His issues with his hidden sexual orientation, his family, and his first serious love contracting HIV were heartbreaks he had to hide from the world for so long.
posted by xyzzy at 4:30 PM on December 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


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posted by mondo dentro at 4:30 PM on December 25, 2016


Wow. He was a musician I didn't follow throughout his career but a few of his albums were favorites and I knew every line to every song. I'm shocked. Safe home, George.
posted by PussKillian at 4:31 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm dangerously close to the point where I adopt the heuristic of assuming every musician I have liked is dead and then checking to see if it is the case.

This is what the back half of middle age feels like I think.
posted by srboisvert at 4:32 PM on December 25, 2016 [12 favorites]




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The title of this post is one of the best lines in pop. Makes me smile every time I hear it. Thanks
posted by Jakey at 4:33 PM on December 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


I can't believe it. George was such a big part of the soundtrack of my youth. It feels like they're all dropping like flies. RIP.
posted by Jubey at 4:33 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I didn't like Wham! much but 'Father Figure' and 'Freedom' were certified blue-eyed soul.

RIP, Sir.
posted by jonmc at 4:33 PM on December 25, 2016 [9 favorites]


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posted by mosk at 4:35 PM on December 25, 2016


"Freedom" and "Too Funky" are not only two of the best pop dance tunes of the past 30 years (and staples of my mixtapes), but also two of my favorite videos of the Golden Age of MTV. In addition, his numerous hits from Wham! and his solo career are beautifully crafted exemplars of tuneful, hooky pop.

What a damn shame.

aav.
posted by the sobsister at 4:37 PM on December 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


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posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 4:39 PM on December 25, 2016


When my brother was in college, his a capella group had a few gigs in my hometown one December, so my parents persuaded them to sing a few songs in our front hall for some guests and my formidable grandmother.

After they'd done their set and my brother had sung his solo, I asked him in an undertone whether he was out to her. (He was out by then to most people he knew, but grandparents can be tricky.) He shrugged and said "I guess that was my way of letting her know."

The song? Faith.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:45 PM on December 25, 2016 [15 favorites]


Every boy my age wanted to be George Michael, even if they denied it. The closest I could get was when my voice changed, just in time for the releases of "Too Funky" and "Killer / Papa Was a Rolling Stone."

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posted by infinitewindow at 4:45 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by Faintdreams at 4:46 PM on December 25, 2016


I came to like George Michaels from the weirdest direction - Limp Bizkit. In 1987 my narrow view of the music world included Rock (AC/DC), Metal (Metallica), Motown (Aretha), and Queen, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Louis Armstrong... That sort of thing. Old, angry or loud seemed to be the requirements, and when Faith came out in 1987 it was firmly out of my wheelhouse.

In the intervening years my musical tastes exploded by virtue of nearly half a decade working in college-radio. I came to love rap, punk, reggae, big band, pop... You get the idea- it was informative. I realized younger me was an idiot for being too close minded...

Sadly the window of remembering Faith had passed. Until '97 when I found a great cover - and if you've read enough ramblings about music by me here, you'll know that my favorite covers are ones that really change the original while embracing what made it brilliant - NIN doing Get Down Make Love is my quintessential example. The Durstbag's cover fit this well - and it made me go back and relisten to the original, and /holy shit!/ This was /great/ Did anyone else realize how awesome this song was? Oh... Yes, I see. /Everyone/ did.

I went and found anything else that GM had done and realize I had missed years of good music because of a blind spot when I should have appreciated it the first time.

Happily, as the years have passed, I've come to see that Michales and his associated projects and collaborations made an amazingly vast collection of fantastic music.

Whereas Limp Bizkit has made maybe a half dozen songs that come close to the quality of the one truly inspired thing that they did, which was derived from someone much more interesting.

I like covers that make me better appreciate the original. This was one of the examples that cemented that reasoning in my head.

I will miss him.

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posted by quin at 4:50 PM on December 25, 2016 [24 favorites]


Thank you, George. You got me through some dark times. Thanks for that.
posted by gt2 at 4:54 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]




We watched the Key and Peele movie "Keanu" a few days ago and I've had George Michael songs bopping around in my head since then. It's been lovely.
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posted by MsDaniB at 4:56 PM on December 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


You forgot the link! I remember that cover too.

Limp Bizkit - Faith

I guess it would be nice for more homages if people want to share.
posted by adept256 at 4:58 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Fuck this. George Michael was my first crush. The first and only "boy band" poster I ever deigned worthy of hanging was this gorgeous picture of George and Andrew, the two of them pouting prettily with their beautiful hair. I loved them both, but I loved George best. I will miss him so.
This year can't end soon enough.


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posted by msali at 4:59 PM on December 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


Wham!
posted by fairmettle at 5:02 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I get the whole "hey, people we've loved since such and such are just gonna continue dying b/c we & they are getting old" but he was 53. That is 10 years more than my partner, 10 less than my mum.

THAT IS NOT OKAY.

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posted by Kitteh at 5:05 PM on December 25, 2016 [34 favorites]




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posted by Token Meme at 5:09 PM on December 25, 2016


In the vein of MCMikeNamara's comment, I'll remember George Michael most for refusing to be shamed for being busted while cruising, and then actually directing a satirical music video about the experience shortly after. At the time I wasn't quite old enough to realize how ballsy and important this was but I definitely do now.

He was way too fucking young.

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posted by en forme de poire at 5:10 PM on December 25, 2016 [44 favorites]



I get the whole "hey, people we've loved since such and such are just gonna continue dying b/c we & they are getting old" but he was 53. That is 10 years more than my partner, 10 less than my mum.
THAT IS NOT OKAY.

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posted by Kitteh


Yeah, that. I mean, he's younger than me. And they're saying his death is "unexplained, but not suspicious." No rumors of a drug overdose or secret illness, that I've heard. Just that bout with pneumonia in 2011. Which seemed rather extreme for someone in their 40's, tbh, but I hadn't heard of him having any ongoing problems. So what the fuck, 2016? You're supposed to wait until these people are in their 80's at the very least.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:11 PM on December 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


In the vein of MCMikeNamara's comment, I'll remember George Michael most for refusing to be shamed for being busted while cruising, and then actually directing a satirical music video about the experience shortly after. At the time I wasn't quite old enough to realize how ballsy and important this was but I definitely do now.

He got sued for that video too until the judge pointed out that public officials are fair game for ridicule.
posted by Talez at 5:12 PM on December 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


Just to add, one of the ways in which "Freedom" grabbed my attention and forced me to reconsider Michael, whom I knew only for the lighter pop of Wham! was that, beyond being super catchy and danceable, the song was a clear-eyed dissection of where and how he fit into the pop music machine. Other songs, such as Cat Stevens' "Pop Star," from the hipper, more aware side of pop in the mid-'60s into the early '70s, had examined the meshed cogs of stardom and the "business" side of "show business." But as media exposure of music videos in constant rotation melded with the infancy of the 24-hour news cycle, it changed the stakes and scope dramatically for artists. "Freedom" was, for me at least, the first to speak candidly and insightfully (and, being a George Michael tune, cheekily) to the image-making—and image maintenance—necessitated by the MTV revolution.

His (and the directors') use of supermodels as Michael proxies in the videos for the two songs I noted above and his intermingling of the fashion and music streams of the late '80s and early '90s speak to the nous he demonstrated in his music- and image-making.

Like I said, a damn shame.
posted by the sobsister at 5:16 PM on December 25, 2016 [9 favorites]


He was only 3 years older than me! How is this possible? I was dancing to him when I was so so young.
posted by b33j at 5:18 PM on December 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


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I went to YouTube to play a George Michael favorite and have been stuck there in the related content re-living the 80's and his music for the past hour and a half.
I totally forgot about "One More Try".
posted by NoraCharles at 5:19 PM on December 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


He got sued for that video too until the judge pointed out that public officials are fair game for ridicule.

Yeah, I almost added that detail in -- the irony of the cop suing him for emotional distress is almost too thick to breathe in IMO.

Just that bout with pneumonia in 2011. Which seemed rather extreme for someone in their 40's, tbh, but I hadn't heard of him having any ongoing problems.

The lead singer of Broadcast (Trish Keenan) died after contracting pneumonia while on tour, and she was 42. Apparently it's the number one cause of hospitalizations among US adults, after childbirth.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:21 PM on December 25, 2016 [6 favorites]



.

Found out when I got home from Christmas dinner. He was the soundtrack of my teen years, and so many songs. I realized I hadn't listened to some in so long so cued up a playlist and turned it up full blast.
I share a place with my parents and they just got home. Just got Mom tromping up the stairs. "What in the hell is going on Jalliah. The house is shaking. TURN IT DOWN!!"

I laughed and laughed because I think the last time that happened was when I was a teen at home and more then likely some George Micheal was playing.

Totally not on purpose but utterly fitting.

Thanks for everything George.
posted by Jalliah at 5:21 PM on December 25, 2016 [20 favorites]


HuffPo reports he passed due to heart failure. :(
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:21 PM on December 25, 2016


Darren Hayes - Last Christmas
posted by divabat at 5:23 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


My favorite songs of his are The Edge of Heaven, and I'm Your Man from the last Wham! album. He was just a stellar songwriter and magnificent singer.

Poor man, too soon, too soon!


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posted by droplet at 5:23 PM on December 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


From someone on Facebook: "Now 2016 is just fucking with us."
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:24 PM on December 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


I would have said this yesterday too: George is responsible for the best breakup song ever written (Kissing a Fool)
posted by The Gooch at 5:25 PM on December 25, 2016 [10 favorites]




He was only 3 years older than me! How is this possible? I was dancing to him when I was so so young

He wrote "Careless Whisper" with Andrew Ridgely when he was 17. What did even know about guilty feet at that point?

In the vein of MCMikeNamara's comment, I'll remember George Michael most for refusing to be shamed for being busted while cruising

If you don't think I spent most of the late 90s fantasizing that I'd bump into George Michael in a restroom, I've given you the entirely wrong impression in my time here at metafilter.com.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:38 PM on December 25, 2016 [106 favorites]


Oh man, I remember being in lower school and my friend's dad once drove us around for an entire weeked (with two of us rolling around in the way back, and no one with seatbelts on, because the 80's) with "Faith" on repeat. The entire weekend. I'd guess we listened to it 80 times, easily. I've had such a soft spot for it and Michael ever since.

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posted by TwoStride at 5:38 PM on December 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I still know all the words to Wham Rap 86.

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posted by Mavri at 5:38 PM on December 25, 2016 [9 favorites]


Also, wasn't some MLB player using "Careless Whisper" as his walk-up music for a while? That was also a great tribute.
posted by TwoStride at 5:40 PM on December 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also, wasn't some MLB player using "Careless Whisper" as his walk-up music for a while? That was also great tribute.

Josh Reddick

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posted by chris24 at 5:42 PM on December 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


One of my favorite songs from the eighties was "Nikita", which had Michael's wordless singing in the coda.

Goddamnit, 2016, you just couldn't stand Carrie Fisher dodging the bullet, could you? Fucker.

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posted by Halloween Jack at 5:43 PM on December 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


The (very straight) guys who lived in the room below mine freshman year in college played Wham! pretty much non-stop. That - and Bowie, and Prince - made up a huge part of the soundtrack of my late adolescence.

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posted by rtha at 5:45 PM on December 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


I AM FUCKING UPSET I WILL PUNCH 2016 RIGHT IN THE DICK
posted by poffin boffin at 5:46 PM on December 25, 2016 [45 favorites]


.

Somewhat glad that I resisted the urge to create this thread and call it Last Christmas.

I was young enough during Wham! that I liked their songs without knowning very much what they sung about, but just old and aware enough when he went solo to get embarassed at having bought Faith as a single because you know when you're thirteen and stupid and not in the most enlightened of high schools anything that smells, you know, a bit gay becomes suspect.

And then a little bit later it was all a bit embarassing to watch his videos because it was all a little bit too sexy and then he became a joke and I forgot about him.

But being a lot older and slightly more grown up and bloody hell, that bubblegum pop you liked in Wham but grown out for when he went solo, actually is rather good. And while his later work is more explicitly political, realising that one of Wham's first hits was about the glory of being on the dole and work being for suckers is an eye opener.

So yeah, George Michael. Fiftythree is no age to die at.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:47 PM on December 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


This is such a kick in the teeth. So much soul and so much beauty in the music - and so many of the videos are just visually stunning. Freedom 90 is my go-to when I'm down and need a shot of beauty. Father Figure is so damn danceable. Careless Whisper will always take me right back to high school and the boys who didn't know I existed.

And without George Michael we couldn't have this bit of comic insanity from Music and Lyrics, which is a treasure all by itself.

💎
posted by Mchelly at 5:48 PM on December 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


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posted by runehog at 5:53 PM on December 25, 2016


Is it wrong that one of my first thoughts after hearing the news was not about his music but about the "look at my butt, Dennis, its mesmerizing!" bits on SNL from the 80's?

George Michael Bluth: What a fun and sexy time for you!
posted by hal9k at 5:56 PM on December 25, 2016 [8 favorites]


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I'll never forget when my youth group leader tried teaching us about religion using George Michael songs.
posted by drezdn at 5:59 PM on December 25, 2016 [27 favorites]


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posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:00 PM on December 25, 2016


Wow, TMZ is working overtime these days.

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posted by Melismata at 6:02 PM on December 25, 2016


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posted by geminus at 6:03 PM on December 25, 2016


Well, this was a bummer at my Christmas gathering.

Might I recommend that folks here watch the one season show Eli Stone? George Michael is clearly the muse of that show and does do a cameo on it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:03 PM on December 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


.

This one really hurts. George Michael was one of my biggest musical crushes. I had pinups of him all over my bedroom walls back in the day. The first concert I attended was his show at the Rosemont Horizon in 1988. May he rest in peace.

Lots of my favorite George Michael/Wham! songs have already been posted in this thread, so I'll add Hard Day, one of his most underrated songs.

2016 cannot end soon enough.
posted by SisterHavana at 6:04 PM on December 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


Kissing A Fool is one of my favorite songs, though few of my coworkers remembered it. On the other hand, it was on the same record as Faith, Father Figure, and I Want Your Sex (parts I, II, and III), so I'll allow it.

Thanks for everything, George Michael. Freedom 90 was, as a current holiday film puts it, electric sex.

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posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:07 PM on December 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


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posted by drnick at 6:08 PM on December 25, 2016


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freedom at last
posted by philip-random at 6:11 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by pjmoy at 6:12 PM on December 25, 2016


::totally crushed::

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posted by skye.dancer at 6:15 PM on December 25, 2016


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posted by detachd at 6:19 PM on December 25, 2016


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posted by Room 641-A at 6:21 PM on December 25, 2016


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posted by romakimmy at 6:22 PM on December 25, 2016


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what is this i don't understand
posted by allthinky at 6:23 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is honestly the first death of 2016 that has really made me go, Oh nooooo!

One More Try gets stuck in my head on the regular. Kissing A Fool is a gorgeous little throwback piece. I loved that hilarious urinal video and honestly between that and Freedom 90 I gained a lot of respect for him, after I Want Your Sex and Faith made me stop listening for a long time. (Though I think Freedom 90 was his way of gaining respect for himself after the Faith era so I think he'd understand.)

Anyway, 53 is way too young, what a shame.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:23 PM on December 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


So sad.
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posted by BlahLaLa at 6:24 PM on December 25, 2016


I am just so tired of this year. R. I. P., George. I will so miss your voice, but I'm so glad I have your music to remind me.

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posted by Silverstone at 6:26 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


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6 more days

What else can you throw down 2016?
posted by BlueHorse at 6:27 PM on December 25, 2016


Please don't tempt it.
posted by Token Meme at 6:28 PM on December 25, 2016 [31 favorites]


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What the hell 2016
posted by mogget at 6:28 PM on December 25, 2016


Last Christmas

I mean, lets face it, it probably is.
posted by Artw at 6:30 PM on December 25, 2016 [20 favorites]


George Michael absolutely earned his place in the pantheon of gay liberation figures.
Originally packaged as a prefab teen heartthrob, he navigated his way up through the usual hetero sex symbol iconography, all the while sending out crypto sonar winks (cmon guys, Faith-era George is one of the gayest sex symbols ever given mainstream bandwidth) until he ultimately had to blow it all up in the blistering act of defiance that was "Freedom 90", as vital a liberation track as "I'm Coming Out"
Once comfortably "out" (even if that comfort was something he wouldn't yet extend to himself) he used his 90s output to play in the worlds of fashion, the club scene, and even torch songs as a new quasar of unabashed outness.
History tragically emphasized the shadowy missteps, but the bravery of his reveal and reclamation of his identity and sexuality shouldn't be discounted.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:31 PM on December 25, 2016 [35 favorites]


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posted by mixedmetaphors at 6:31 PM on December 25, 2016


Queen & George Michael - Somebody to Love - (Live Wembley 1992)

I've just realized that my memory has failed me - and possible primed me to like Michaels stuff later - because I totally forgot about this event.

And weirdly, I can't find easy and handy records describing what happened, But...

After Mercury died, and stabbed me in the heart of the one of the greatest bands ever losing the best of a very best group of artists, I was heartbroken.

And them Michaels did Somebody to Love, and I remember thinking - long before the Faith thing mentioned earlier - "God damn, if they are looking to replace Freddy, GM could pull it off..." and then being astonished that when they did invite him to join, he apologetically passed because he didn't believe he could fill those boots.

I think that might have been the actual moment I started respecting him as an artist, and then l
only later as I described, realizing his talent as an original performer.

Let's face it- being "good enough" to join Queen an then turning it down because /fuck that; I'm not Mercury!/ is a seriously self-aware statement by a talent who didn't need that kind of realism check.

He might not of thought himself worthy, but I remember - even years before I came to like his music/ that I - one of their biggest fans / would have happily accepted him into Freddy's shoes.

I can't believe I forgot that; it seem a /much bigger deal/ that my original comment.

And now I'm sadder than before.
posted by quin at 6:35 PM on December 25, 2016 [42 favorites]



posted by bz at 6:36 PM on December 25, 2016


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posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 6:40 PM on December 25, 2016


Thinking about the queer subtext in a few Wham! songs (and the queer text of George Michael's solo career), something just hit me: there was a lot of gender play and queer content in '80s pop radio: George Michael, Queen, Boy George, Wendy and Lisa, arguably Bowie and Prince. This feels remarkable because it was also the era of AIDS (which George Michael sort of explored in "I Want Your Sex") and open hostility toward LGBTQIA people from both the government and from the culture. Why was there such a boom of queer/queer friendly artists during this era?
posted by pxe2000 at 6:42 PM on December 25, 2016 [14 favorites]


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posted by daybeforetheday at 6:47 PM on December 25, 2016


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posted by ZeusHumms at 6:48 PM on December 25, 2016


.

In him, I saw the arc of what it means to shed your shame as a gay man and become yoursef. Thanks George.
posted by helmutdog at 6:53 PM on December 25, 2016 [14 favorites]


.
posted by lalochezia at 6:57 PM on December 25, 2016


I used to sit at my desk, with my Sony Walkman tape player, which also got radio, while typing insurance policies, at Allstate Commercial Insurance, on a Xerox Memorywriter. Wham was my favorite, to get me through the day.

This year, we finally moved into a single house rental, and I can stream music as I like. He was on my top picks for streaming music.

My brother died at age 54 this year, and I am age 53, and I can only feel sad for his family. RIP George Michael, thanks so much for the gifts you gave to us. Love you.

.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:00 PM on December 25, 2016 [18 favorites]


.

This man was the soundtrack to my youth. (Him and Duran Duran.)

Everything. Every album of his was a favorite of mine at some point. Every video was magic when it came out. His voice was spun gold and his lyrics remain relevant and still heartbreaking at times. I always hated that he felt he had to hide his sexuality for so long, but was so glad for him when he said "fuck it" and started making music that celebrated it. I'm so glad I got to see him in concert a few years ago.

This would have been heartbreaking to me 30 years from now. But today? This year? It's getting harder and harder to have faith, George.
posted by greermahoney at 7:05 PM on December 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Faith was the first tape I owned (I got it at the same time as Thriller in 1987 when I was a kid in Saudi Arabia).

I remember my mind being blown that it was George singing with his voice distorted on the remix of Don't Bring Me Down.
posted by reenum at 7:06 PM on December 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


. Too young :(
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:10 PM on December 25, 2016


Faith was the first and only cassette I ever literally wore out.

.
posted by schmod at 7:10 PM on December 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


.
posted by luckynerd at 7:15 PM on December 25, 2016




.
posted by annsunny at 7:19 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


After taking love after love after love and hope after hope after hope from me for the past 359 days, 2016 has six days to kill off some evil fuckers who make the world a worse place in an attempt to balance the scales. It won't succeed, but it better fucking try.

George, you deserved more time.

.
posted by tzikeh at 7:20 PM on December 25, 2016 [15 favorites]


.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:24 PM on December 25, 2016


.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:29 PM on December 25, 2016


.
posted by monopas at 7:31 PM on December 25, 2016


.
posted by drworm at 7:32 PM on December 25, 2016


Oh; as a 45 year old male who is now appreciative of the same world that George Michael's inhabited - fuck whatever that was; drugs, cancer, immune issues, - fuck it.

For real - I'm the most empty - don't-give-a-fuck-about-this-place guy you are likely to meet, and yet, I'm still pissed at the loss of someone who made the lives better of many by the simple virtue of his existence.

Fuck this place and the 2016 that it rode in on.
posted by quin at 7:32 PM on December 25, 2016 [10 favorites]


What else can you throw down 2016?

[loud voice] oh boy i hope it's not any important members of the US republican party!
posted by poffin boffin at 7:34 PM on December 25, 2016 [68 favorites]


Ok, enough, already.

I don't follow pop music much, but Careless Whisper was unavoidable back in '84 & I tried & tried to dislike it, but it got lodged in my head because it was so damn good. I didn't follow his career, but always enjoyed his voice when I heard it. My bride is a bigger fan, so I inevitably will hear some George Michael on her iPod whenever I passenge in her vehicle, & he's gone from guilty pleasure to outright pleasure, the more I've heard.

He was a year younger than me & I'm getting unsure how to even process this stuff, anymore.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:35 PM on December 25, 2016 [11 favorites]


.
posted by get off of my cloud at 7:38 PM on December 25, 2016


I'm with you, Devil's Rancher. Careless Whisper was the song that made me say "Okay *that* one is pretty good." I didn't gravitate to his material generally but there was no question that he had a tremendous, beautiful voice. Man, 53 is really young.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:44 PM on December 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


2016: The Year of the Very Slow Rapture :(
posted by AGameOfMoans at 8:17 PM on December 25, 2016 [14 favorites]


.
posted by 404 Not Found at 8:28 PM on December 25, 2016


booooo blerg
posted by suprenant at 8:30 PM on December 25, 2016


When I was kid I wasn't allowed to watch MTV because it was a bad influence. Naturally, I snuck it in wherever I could. One day Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go was on and my heart went BOOM. (c/o LMM) I bought the Make it Big! album from the grocery store(!) and it was love. I was allowed to decorate the 2 rooms of my bedroom that couldn't be seen from the hallway anyway I wanted. For 2 years, they were papered in Wham! and George Michael pinups and posters from Sam Goody and from Bop/Big Bopper, Tiger Beat, 16, etc. Edge of Heaven remains one of the hottest songs I've ever heard. Wham! broke up and I was devastated because all the teen mags said they'd be together forever, as teen mags do. The posters/pinups came down.

To be replaced by George Michael solo ones the year after. I spent an entire year being intrigued/cringing in the backseat of my parents' car whenever I Want Your Sex came on. I looked the word "pornography" up in the dictionary because of it. I bought Faith (on cassette) and also the Father Figure cassingle. I overwrote the B side song with Father Figure again, and would listen to it in my Walkman on auto-reverse for hours on end. I saw him on tour. The tour t-shirt was stolen out of my gym locker. I cried. The people in school called him gay, which was obviously wrong because he had a girlfriend, right?

Then George said something to the effect that he was tired of his teenage girl fans, and the posters came down again. I moved on to other pop bands. I was too young, I think, to appreciate Listen Without Prejudice, but I loved his Freddie Mercury tribute. I went to the library and read up on AIDS and homosexuality/bisexuality.

Years went by and I snapped up the rest of his music. He's cheated death a few times since then, so I had an inkling he wouldn't be as long-lived as he should have been. But today I'm so fucking mad that not only has Doris Day outlived him (no offense to Doris), but my MOTHER'S teen crush is still alive while mine died at the stupid young age of 53. 53! I mean, sure, we shouldn't be too surprised at Florence Henderson and John Glenn because of their ages, but 53 is far too young to be lumped into the "welp, they're all dying now!" pile.

Thank you, George, for making me smile and dance and cry and think and learn. My GenX heart needs a break from celebrity deaths.
posted by kimberussell at 8:37 PM on December 25, 2016 [34 favorites]


This is very much Not Okay. 2016 can just fuck right the fuck off....
posted by biscotti at 8:38 PM on December 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


MTV Classic is now playing all George Michael videos.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:40 PM on December 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


For some reason, this karaoke cover of "One More Try" is what's getting me the most right now. Above all else, George Michael wrote incredible songs that pull the music from your gut - timeless songs that people will be belting out forever in their living room. Songs that kids years from now will hear for the first time and feel like they've known it forever. Too soon, George.

.
posted by lubujackson at 8:42 PM on December 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Just remembered the Seether cover of Careless Whisper, which introduced his music to a completely different set of fans.

Been hitting the Spotify artist playlist pretty hard since I heard the news. Genuinely devastated.
posted by geminus at 8:51 PM on December 25, 2016


Fuck this.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:54 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I remember the cognitive dissonance that "Wake Me Up..." caused in me - I was an art-rock snob in high school and I wasn't "supposed to" like pop music. But it was so catchy and grooved so hard, I had to admit it was awesome.
posted by thelonius at 8:59 PM on December 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


Man. Isn't it funny how some of us straight dudes look back on our youthful selves and realize how much great stuff we missed because we valued (for christ's sake!) our culture's take on what "being a man" is? (Be a boring, close-minded, hateful asshole, essentially.) How much truly great, cool, magical stuff got pushed aside because, gods forbid, your unremarkable white-bread ass might be thought of by other equally unremarkable white-bread asses as "unmanly" or whatever. What a fucking joke. If it was just our loss, big fucking deal, but it actively hurts everyone. And so, a confession:

George Michael was one of the things I missed out on--even as I never turned the station when driving around as a teenager in the 1980s; some inner, smarter max was saying this is good shit.

Thanks for the music--and being a great human, George. I hope your death was as peaceful as it was unexpected.

(If it's true no one truly dies until all memory of them has faded, you'll be with us for years. Cheers, mate.)
posted by maxwelton at 9:00 PM on December 25, 2016 [43 favorites]


2016 has picked up momentum and is crushing everything in its path. I'm amazed that Carrie Fisher managed to escape.
posted by Soliloquy at 9:01 PM on December 25, 2016


Don't jinx her!!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:03 PM on December 25, 2016 [15 favorites]


I'm sick of most things I grew up hearing, but will never tire of his songs, perfect pop, every one. What a voice, what a presence.

.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:05 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


I first saw this on Buzzfeed and was furious at their thoughtless prank. This is the shit cherry on my shit sundae of a Christmas.
posted by AFABulous at 9:09 PM on December 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


.
posted by Sphinx at 9:11 PM on December 25, 2016


Senor Cardgage: "cmon guys, Faith-era George is one of the gayest sex symbols ever given mainstream bandwidth"

No kidding. "Father Figure" is...well, kind of obvious.

Too soon, George. .
posted by Chrysostom at 9:12 PM on December 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


Wasn't there an edit of "I Want Your Sex" that changed "sex" to "love" for radio play? I could've sworn the local radio stations wouldn't play the original but I can't find evidence. Buying the original cassingle was one of my early acts of teenage rebellion.
posted by AFABulous at 9:13 PM on December 25, 2016


In 1988 I stood in line for over 24 hours to buy tickets to see him perform live--and we even got excellent seats. The performance was a testament to his genius as a writer and a singer, and this experience is a highlight of my younger years. I attended a conservative university that banned "I Want Your Sex" from school dances (a student club was nearly banned for allowing it to be danced to), so going to this concert represented an early form of rebellion for me. His later works helped me solidify an identity well apart from my upbringing, and "Freedom" became as much my anthem as his.

Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, thank you for sharing your talents, your music, and your foibles. You taught me to enjoy all the delights of being human.
posted by Quaversalis at 9:18 PM on December 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


God Damn It
.
Fare Well
posted by Fibognocchi at 9:24 PM on December 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


.
posted by ikahime at 9:44 PM on December 25, 2016


Thinking about the queer subtext in a few Wham! songs (and the queer text of George Michael's solo career), something just hit me: there was a lot of gender play and queer content in '80s pop radio: George Michael, Queen, Boy George, Wendy and Lisa, arguably Bowie and Prince. This feels remarkable

I don't know how old you are, but I'm constantly amazed that people don't know or remember all this. It was literally one of the biggest aspects of 80's culture. Straight people tried to be ambiguous about their preferences, "Androgynous" was not just a Replacements song. The 80's I lived through and the one I hear about now are very different.

Speaking of which, I was busy for a while and when I came back I was surprised to see there hadn't been a post about Pete Burns dying.

I also just learned that Michiyuki Kawashima of Boom Boom Satellites died recently.

I know it's not about me but this is starting to feel personal.
posted by bongo_x at 9:45 PM on December 25, 2016 [27 favorites]


I could've sworn the local radio stations wouldn't play the original but I can't find evidence.

That was definitely true in Seattle, at least for a while. One of the stations had what I think was the official radio edit, with "sex" changed to "love". Another (KUBE?), for some reason, used a version they'd made where "sex" was replaced with a sample of one of their DJs saying "socks".

By the time I put together my ill-advised middle school presentation on the evolution of love songs in the 20th century, they were playing the original version on the radio and I was able to use it in my presentation for about five seconds before the teacher declared my time over and gave me a B.

.
posted by hades at 9:46 PM on December 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


.

I shall watch Deadpool tonight as tribute.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:55 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well, this was a bummer at my Christmas gathering.

Likewise. It was a heavily generational thing: my Gen-X cohort were all hit hard, while our war baby/boomer parents and their millennial grandchildren all needed a refresher on who we were talking about.

53 is so very very little ahead of me that I am now astonished to think how shockingly young he must have been when half my high school suddenly sprouted oversized CHOOSE LIFE T-shirts due to that video.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:58 PM on December 25, 2016 [6 favorites]


Since Bowie's death last January, I've watched Bowie and Annie Lennox singing Under Pressure at a rehearsal for the Freddie Mercury tribute hundreds of times, and I just remembered George Michael singing along in the background towards the end.
posted by maggiemaggie at 9:59 PM on December 25, 2016 [13 favorites]


maggiemaggie - These are the days it never rains but it pours, indeed.
posted by greermahoney at 10:12 PM on December 25, 2016 [1 favorite]


A conversation my wife and I had this morning:

"What did [George Michael] die of? 2016?"
"Well, they're saying on the news that there's no foul play suspected."
"So he really did die of 2016."
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:14 PM on December 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


.

Signing along at the top of my lungs to Freedom! '90 during my commute has really helped me power through all the bullshit this past year.
posted by Willow Jane at 10:16 PM on December 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'll never tire of Freedom! '90 or the video which is still one of the best music videos ever made.

.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 10:16 PM on December 25, 2016 [5 favorites]


Excellent FPP by hippybear from about a year ago:
25 Years of Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1
posted by Willow Jane at 10:23 PM on December 25, 2016 [11 favorites]


This year MUST end. I can't take anymore of these amazing people dying. WTF man?
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:30 PM on December 25, 2016


Once, I got some hand-me-down jeans from my dad that were more holes than pants. I thought they were so cool, but my parents wouldn't let me out of the house wearing them. I went to the record store with my dad one day, and there was a life size poster of George Michael wearing jeans that were meticulously ripped from wais to ankle. I said to my dad, "See? That guy wears ripped jeans and he's cool!" To which my dad replied, "that guy is NOT cool.".
Still haven't reconciled this difference...
posted by TheCoug at 10:39 PM on December 25, 2016 [3 favorites]


I wrote a Last Christmas parody yesterday called "Last Chanukah" (sample verse: Last Chanukah/I gave you some oil/And it took you eight days/But you burned it away/This year/I’ll say “Vei Ist Mir”/You’re not going to light my candle) and now I have the entirely irrational guilty feeling that I killed him.

I will never apologize for my love of Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. It never fails to make me happy, and I think you can't ask for anything more from a piece of bright pop music. When I finished my undergraduate thesis, it was the first thing I played to celebrate. I did it again for my Master's thesis. It's just sunshine in music form.

.
posted by ilana at 10:40 PM on December 25, 2016 [17 favorites]


Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go was my first ever favourite song - I must have been about four when it was released, and I would get excited every time it came on the radio.

.
posted by une_heure_pleine at 10:49 PM on December 25, 2016


So done with this year. Fingers crossed for the next week. Dammit.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 10:54 PM on December 25, 2016


I learned to play the keyboard on a Casio Tone Bank 100 that had "Wake me up before you go go" as the demo tune. Instant childhood nostalgia hit every time I hear even a couple of bars from it, same goes for so many other George Michael and Wham! classics. Hard to believe he's gone.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 10:54 PM on December 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


This is an absolute punch in the gut.

.
posted by wallabear at 11:03 PM on December 25, 2016


.
posted by but no cigar at 11:09 PM on December 25, 2016


I don't know how to process this. Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. I... I wore that fucking cassette out. I know the whole damn thing by heart still. His voice spoke to me in a way that very few things ever have.

.
posted by Gaz Errant at 11:11 PM on December 25, 2016


By the time I put together my ill-advised middle school presentation on the evolution of love songs in the 20th century

Oh my god, I so want to see this.
posted by maxwelton at 11:14 PM on December 25, 2016 [4 favorites]


.
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 11:29 PM on December 25, 2016


Waiting for that day, so many memories...

.
posted by ouke at 11:29 PM on December 25, 2016


.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:42 PM on December 25, 2016


What the shit, 2016? What the fucking shit?
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 11:52 PM on December 25, 2016 [2 favorites]


Dude, I'm as boringly CisHet binary straight as they come and "Freedom 90" still gives me a lump in my throat just thinking of the naked valor of its statement.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:54 PM on December 25, 2016 [11 favorites]


.
posted by Harald74 at 12:04 AM on December 26, 2016


Heard the news on the way to Christmas dinner and literally blurted out "you have got to be fucking kidding me."

My grandmother, bless her, gave me the cassette of Faith for my birthday that year. I just about wore it out and can still sing along to all the songs.

.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:09 AM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:34 AM on December 26, 2016


I had my first makeout to Careless Whisper. Can't hear it today without being instantly transported to that time. God damn it, 2016.

.
posted by lovecrafty at 12:58 AM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


There was an article on George in Q magazine in the late 90s, following his 1998 bust in Will Rogers park. The main picture accompanying the article was George reclining on a beach, with the word 'wanker' traced in the sand in front of him, with an arrow pointing towards him, and a smile on his face. I saw that and I thought, "Wow, this guy is the man. To take something fraught with so much potential embarrassment, and to just steer right into it and say, "Yep. That's who I am. I'm happy."

And then, soon afterwards, he made the video for his song 'Outside' - just a great, life-affirming disco tune, about having sex outside - and with a dance routine set in a public toilet and a bunch of dancers dressed as cops. Just sticking it to the man!

And yes I've been bad
Doctor won't you do with me what you can
You see I think about it all the time
Twenty four seven


I thought that these responses to the situation showed someone in possession of great maturity, self-awareness and self-confidence, and I always admired him for it.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 1:20 AM on December 26, 2016 [16 favorites]


.
posted by threetwentytwo at 1:25 AM on December 26, 2016


.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 1:34 AM on December 26, 2016


A FB friend of mine posted this status:

"About six weeks ago I had a dream about a celebrity.
Someone who had an image of being a bit reckless, a bit of a mess. Someone who was very showbiz, iconic & yet who had an air of being a bit lost and haunted.
Dream aside I knew a different side to this man. I used to work at the hospice where his mum was due to die. I saw the room he'd filled with beautiful things that she never got to see as she died before she got to the hospice. The things he bought he left for others to enjoy. His support didn't end there though. Over a period of 10, maybe even 20 years he donated 100s of 1000s of pounds to the hospice. All behind closed doors as he didn't want it to be a public thing. It wasn't about that. At this time of year amazing things would arrive on the ward. Chockywockydoodah cakes, towers of macarons, crates of champagne, all for the nurses to enjoy, again all given in secret.
He performed an intimate gig at the Roundhouse in Camden, also at Christmas, fake snow fell as he sang his famous Christmas hit. He'd given the tickets all for free to NHS nurses in a ballot draw, though he'd set aside 40 tickets so the whole hospice staff could attend. He did the same for his gigs at Wembley.
We never met him to thank him, he didn't do it so we would praise him, he did it because he was kind and grateful and wanted to do good.
My dream told me to tell him that & so I did. I used to live in Highgate & so I knew where he lived, we all did & so I wrote him a letter, mimicking him as I asked for nothing but wanted to do good and to show him how he had done good.
Today I read that he passed away. I'd like to think he died knowing what I know. He was more than a great voice. More than the tabloid headlines. More than his mistakes. He was a good man. One of the best.
Rest in peace Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, George Michael.
You have been loved ❤️"

.
posted by fight or flight at 1:55 AM on December 26, 2016 [99 favorites]


.
posted by litleozy at 1:55 AM on December 26, 2016


He was only 3 years older than me. It's sobering to realize how long a part of my growing up he's been around.

.


damn you 2016
posted by infini at 2:06 AM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Aww. From Lemmy all the way through George Michael, this has been a year of deaths of musicians who really helped shape who I am today. "Careless Whisper" was to the 80's what "Baker Street" was to the 70's.
posted by not_on_display at 2:09 AM on December 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


.
posted by mikelieman at 2:15 AM on December 26, 2016


What a role model. His comeback with Outside should be a rallying cry for all of us. That's how you stand up.

.
posted by stonepharisee at 2:18 AM on December 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


OK I get that dying happens to everyone, and in any given year some prominent musicians will succomb like anyone else, but

Lemmy Kilmister
David Bowie
Phife Dawg
Prince
Prince Buster
Leonard Cohen
George Michael

from those 7 people you can draw a direct connection and influence to pretty much every major western musical style of the last 40 years.



.
posted by mannequito at 2:22 AM on December 26, 2016 [7 favorites]


This news is so, so heartbreaking in a year where we've lots so many great voices and symbols of hope. George Michael was my first teenage crush, and that crush never faded. I used to have a 5 foot tall poster of him in his Faith leather jacket, jeans, and guitar, and would give a million bucks to find that again now.

Seeing all the trials he had to endure while in the public eye - as a young popstar under intense gaze by millions of teens everywhere, shackled to the cruelly restrictive Sony Music deal, finally breaking free of his teen sex symbol status to release his strong solo work, coming out as gay, the run-ins with privacy and drugs, the story of the love he lost. I really hoped he would finally have the life he deserved - happy and comfortable, full of love, enjoying the spoils of his hard-earned fame, with the respect he deserves as one of the best.

And his voice has such a brilliant quality to it. Whenever George Michael would hit one of the high notes in his songs, he would open up with such clarity, resonance, and heart, it was just raw emotion unleashed. He was truly a star that shone brightest, and we need his music and his voice even more today.

Praying for Time

This is the year of the hungry man
Whose place is in the past
Hand in hand with ignorance
and legitimate excuses

The rich declare themselves poor
And most of us are not sure
If we have too much
But we'll take our chances
Because God stopped keeping score

I guess somewhere along the way
He must have let us all out to play
Turned his back and all God's children crept out the back door

It's so hard to love, when there's so much to hate
Hanging on to hope
Where there is is no hope to speak of

And the wounded skies above say
it's much, much too late
Well maybe we should all
Be praying for time
posted by hampanda at 2:26 AM on December 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


A FB friend of mine posted this status:

...and now I'm crying. Go in peace, George. You were an example of the best of humanity.
posted by Dysk at 2:57 AM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Dammit 2016. You've taken my first real pop crush. God I loved listening to and watching George Michael. Later I would get a crush on Sting (still have one), and Bowie and Prince, who were both fabulous as well. I heard the news this morning and my first thought was "thank goodness Madonna is still around." She kicked ass – still kicks ass – too.

The 80's I lived through and the one I hear about now are very different.

No kidding. I remember it as rainbows both in clothing and in personal expression, as in people just did not care that much about gender expression. Being LGBTQIA was a minefield (I'll always remember what loved ones went through), but at least in outer expression there was more freedom than now. Women could wear squared-off sweaters and jeans, men could wear skin-tight trousers and shorts, women who did sports were considered sexy (where the hell did "thunder thigh" policing come from later?? omigod), men could take pottery classes and their reputation be bettered for it (my father did), and we had music that not only reflected that vibrancy, but gave the finger to closed-mindedness. The time had its hells too, but I do miss those aspects.

Bowie, Prince, and now George Michael. Fuck.

.
posted by fraula at 2:59 AM on December 26, 2016 [7 favorites]


"You're fucking kidding me" has been too often said this year in relation to these big chunks of my youth floating off the planet.

.
posted by andraste at 3:07 AM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think for many people my age this was "our first introduction to Aretha Franklin too.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:09 AM on December 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


.
posted by fourpotatoes at 3:30 AM on December 26, 2016


Thinking about the queer subtext in a few Wham! songs (and the queer text of George Michael's solo career), something just hit me: there was a lot of gender play and queer content in '80s pop radio: George Michael, Queen, Boy George, Wendy and Lisa, arguably Bowie and Prince. This feels remarkable because it was also the era of AIDS (which George Michael sort of explored in "I Want Your Sex") and open hostility toward LGBTQIA people from both the government and from the culture. Why was there such a boom of queer/queer friendly artists during this era?

Doesn't seem all that surprising to me honestly. The more we're under attack, the more we fight back, the more we make ourselves visible and say "fuck you, you can't shut us down, you can't tell us what to do".

There's going to be a similar boom very very soon, given current politics. It's starting already (see the last couple of years) but I suspect it's just going to explode in the next few years. They've left us a massive legacy, but there are many of us up and ready to fill in their shoes and create new paths.
posted by divabat at 3:58 AM on December 26, 2016 [14 favorites]


.
posted by aerotive at 4:10 AM on December 26, 2016


Richard Osman on Twitter

A woman on 'Deal Or No Deal' told us she needed £15k for IVF treatment. George Michael secretly phoned the next day and gave her the £15k.
posted by threetwentytwo at 4:13 AM on December 26, 2016 [20 favorites]


It appears that there are loads of similar tales, actually. Gigs for NHS nurses after his mother died, matching charity donations on radio fundraisers, all sorts. What a man.
posted by threetwentytwo at 4:27 AM on December 26, 2016 [9 favorites]


RIP George, the world is better for having had you in it.
posted by biggreenplant at 4:53 AM on December 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


.
posted by XtinaS at 5:14 AM on December 26, 2016


.
posted by carter at 5:30 AM on December 26, 2016


from those 7 people you can draw a direct connection and influence to pretty much every major western musical style of the last 40 years.

Don't forget Glenn Frey, the first shocker of 2016. What George Michael and Prince were to the 80s, The Eagles (for better or worse) was to the 70s.
posted by Beholder at 5:49 AM on December 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


First time I heard RIP George Michael sing was with WHAM
posted by DJZouke at 5:58 AM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


.

Dude tried to be a good influence on the world. He might not have been perfect, and it's clear he struggled with depressive self medicating behaviors and other personal problems, but he seemed to genuinely care and at least try to take his pop star role seriously as a social responsibility and not just view it as a free pass to party town. This is really a shame. He was too young.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:05 AM on December 26, 2016 [13 favorites]


.

Meanwhile, Sir Cliff Richard just goes on and on and on and on ...
posted by essexjan at 6:17 AM on December 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 6:17 AM on December 26, 2016


.
posted by gudrun at 7:05 AM on December 26, 2016


.
posted by bjgeiger at 7:10 AM on December 26, 2016


So, as I told my coworker. 2016 can go 2016 itself.

I saw this news last night and just... I think I felt as shocked as I did when Bowie and Prince died.

Momus penned an Ode to 2016 called "Fuck This Year". For all who feel likewise, here's the video.
posted by symbioid at 7:26 AM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by killy willy at 7:33 AM on December 26, 2016


Also - since we're listing many celebs in this thread (not to detract, but to add to the impact), and because I feel like he's being missed in every single thing I see, Bernie Worrell was also a victim of 2016, and his impact with Funkadelic, amongst many other artists of experimental and world and funk music was quite heavy. His keyboard playing was massive and monster. Without him, there'd be no "Mothership Connection". That's huge.

Still. George Michael? I just watched his VH1 behind the music this year sometime in April I think. Gave me a lot of respect for what he went through and the hell he put up with his father never respecting his musical direction, forging his own path. But he did it, and he did it well and amazing, despite all the trials and controversy. Pure talent.

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posted by symbioid at 7:42 AM on December 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


George Michael dying on Christmas Day is the nearest I'll ever come to believing in intelligent design. In the form of a gang of malevolent old men sitting round a table saying "I know! I've got a brilliant one! Wait til you hear this..." and them all cackling at the utter audaciousness of it, and wondering if they could get away with it without actually being discovered.

Why was there such a boom of queer/queer friendly artists during this era?

My (admittedly not thoroughly thought-through) assumption is that, having been forced by the world to live in secret for so long, gay folk (and esp men) were forced into the public attention by HIV/AIDS and thought "Fuck this, if you are finally going to pay attention to us, you are NOT going to make us synonymous with this vile plague. I am taking the mic, and if you're finally going to agree to see us, we're going to tell you who we actually are."
posted by penguin pie at 7:53 AM on December 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


Not a big fan but he did have an incredible voice that seemed to be everywhere when I was in college in the 80s. Never realized he was only 5 months older than me.

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posted by TedW at 7:57 AM on December 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


The rehearsal for his Wembley stadium performance of Somebody to Love with Bowie looking on.
posted by newpotato at 8:26 AM on December 26, 2016 [11 favorites]


Why was there such a boom of queer/queer friendly artists during this era?

It's an important question, but can also be turned around and asked, with Bowie, Prince, and George Michael around, how could it not?
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:41 AM on December 26, 2016 [2 favorites]




I love Freedom '90 (both the song and the vid) so much -- for awhile there it was on all the mixtapes I made. Such a great song, such a great singer.

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posted by Bron at 9:03 AM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]




Just found out about this through this thread--I was offline for the past 2 days and didn't watch or listen to any news yesterday. I audibly cried out when I saw the post.
I was in college in the early-mid eighties. My girlfriends and I loved his music--both Wham! and his solo stuff. He was exactly my age. I'm really in too much shock right now to write anything else. I'm surprised at how hard this has hit me.
posted by bookmammal at 10:05 AM on December 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh, FFS 2016.

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posted by LMGM at 10:24 AM on December 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


My daughter who is a teen came to tell us that he was dead after getting a teary facetime from her friend who was just crushed that her idol had passed. Beautifully relevant music by a beautiful man.
What a sneaky, vicous little fuck you are 2016.

.
posted by Malingering Hector at 10:25 AM on December 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


p.s. Can someone verify the whereabouts of Sade please?
posted by LMGM at 10:27 AM on December 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


My daughter who is a teen came to tell us that he was dead after getting a teary facetime from her friend

I'm sorry that they also have to feel that way but a small part of me is so very happy that there are teens who care about George Michael; he deserves it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:33 AM on December 26, 2016 [15 favorites]


.
So, so sad.
posted by Pocahontas at 11:09 AM on December 26, 2016




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posted by groda at 12:03 PM on December 26, 2016


I figured it out. 2016 was written by George R.R. Martin.
posted by greermahoney at 12:24 PM on December 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I figured it out. 2016 was written by George R.R. Martin.

Just a reminder to George, then, that 93-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate Henry Kissinger is still hale and hearty.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:36 PM on December 26, 2016 [7 favorites]


I figured it out. 2016 was written by George R.R. Martin.

If this were true, 2016 would be about 1200 days long, and new months would be coming out at an increasingly slow pace.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:53 PM on December 26, 2016 [7 favorites]


Penguin pie: George Michael dying on Christmas Day is the nearest I'll ever come to believing in intelligent design.

If George Michael was an organ donor and the person who was to receive his heart ceded it the following day, I will lose all motor function.

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posted by dr_dank at 1:36 PM on December 26, 2016 [12 favorites]


dr_dank wins the Internet today.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:26 PM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


One track I had completely forgotten about: They won't go when I go.

The greed of man will be
Far away from me
And my soul will be free
They won't go when I go
Since my soul conceived
All that I believe
The kingdom I will see
'Cause they won't go when I go
And I'll go
Where I'll go
No one can keep me
From my destiny, yeah

posted by greermahoney at 2:33 PM on December 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


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posted by redbeard at 2:52 PM on December 26, 2016


I heard about this on the news last night while I was watching with my dad, and was horrified. I've loved George Michael's music since I heard his album Faith after it came out in late 1987, when I was 14. So many of his songs have always seemed individually perfect for this or that specific mood. "Kissing a Fool" helped me mourn the end of my first serious relationship, "Cowboys and Angels" is a comfort to me when I'm feeling hopeless ("... the future may still give you a chance..."), his dance songs all make me get up and dance every single time I hear them, and the haunting and powerful "They Won't Go When I Go" is the song I play when I'm thinking about the end of the road -- I'd like it to be the last song I ever hear.

You should have had more time, George, but I am glad that you made incredible use of the time you were given. You gave us so much.
posted by orange swan at 3:13 PM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Willow Jane: “Excellent FPP by hippybear”
Just making sure to link another hippybear masterpiece on Michael: “That Panayiotou kid is doing alright for himself.”
posted by ob1quixote at 3:54 PM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


Make It Big was my first modern pop album, given to me with my first real stereo for my 10th birthday (along with Rio, She's So Unusual, Thriller, Private Dancer, Colour By Numbers, and Like a Virgin.) I don't understand how he can be gone so soon. I can't comprehend this years losses. Words fail me.
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posted by ApathyGirl at 4:16 PM on December 26, 2016 [3 favorites]


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posted by lester at 5:23 PM on December 26, 2016


2016 has passed.

Along with our nation's dignity, all of our progress and a too large number of the entertainers who've kept us sane.
posted by bendy at 7:01 PM on December 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


Sorry for the derail, but...

Make It Big ... along with Rio, She's So Unusual, Thriller, Private Dancer, Colour By Numbers, and Like a Virgin

Holy crap, what an iconic bunch of "first records". Whomever bought your 10 year old self that stereo and collection of discs to go with it had some ears.
posted by toxic at 11:27 PM on December 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


Holy crap, what an iconic bunch of "first records"

It seems iconic now, but as I recall these were just some of the popular records at the time. They would have been bought by even the squarest of parents looking to provide their kid with a starter set of records.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 11:37 PM on December 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


Music wasn't such a huge thing at home when I was little, but my sister had Make It Big on cassette. It's one of few albums that I still often listen to from start to end and know all the words to.
posted by Herr Zebrurka at 11:43 PM on December 26, 2016


They would have been bought by even the squarest of parents looking to provide their kid with a starter set of records.

Absolutely. To put it in perspective, I was born into a boring white middleclass suburb in '81 and those albums were all inescapably ubiquitous in my preschool years -- deservedly so.

Also, pop stars just were iconic in those days, by design. You could instantly recognize anyone in the top 40 just by their haircut or their outfit, from a mile away without your glasses on, unless they were one of those one-hit wonders from a massively popular soundtrack.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:23 AM on December 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


It seems iconic now, but as I recall these were just some of the popular records at the time.

It's like you've gone back in time and raided my records. While home for Christmas this year, my dad forced a couple boxes of my old stuff on me to take back home or throw out. By some chance, one box was filled with Duran stuff. Books, pictures, collectors cards, and embarrassingly, a handmade scrapbook that I apparently turned in as some sort of school assignment. I got an A.
posted by greermahoney at 12:40 AM on December 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


Take time to dive into that 2014 hippybear post. Damn ,some amazing stuff there.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:55 AM on December 27, 2016


They would have been bought by even the squarest of parents looking to provide their kid with a starter set of records.

Yeah...I have the most toothless musical tastes ever and I bought all of these albums at the grocery store.
posted by kimberussell at 6:40 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Damnit. I was 14 when Make it Big came out. It was a little perky for my melancholy 14 year old soul, but I loved Wham! and George and Andrew. I adored his solo career and I'm so sad that he couldn't be with us for longer.

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posted by Sophie1 at 7:41 AM on December 27, 2016


.

If he were the only artistic loss this year, it would still be too much. But on top of everyone else...

I had many pop music phases, but my George Michael phase started in 1985 and never stopped.
posted by getawaysticks at 8:01 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Don't know if anyone's interested, but here's a thing I wrote about remembering George Michael in our charitable deeds.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:07 AM on December 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


One can't listen to the bridge of Kissing a Fool without becoming convinced George Michael had the best pop voice of all time.

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posted by DrAstroZoom at 8:46 AM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


In this year of profound sadness for music fans—with the charts repeatedly dominated by artists who had to die to remind us of their genius—how nice to see a fondly remembered fiftysomething musician returning to the pop conversation while still around to enjoy the comeback. Even if he is upstaged by a kitten.
From Slate, back in May, regarding Keanu and George Michael's history as a crossover figure. Welp.
posted by rewil at 9:10 AM on December 27, 2016


I collect vintage teen magazines (think Bop, 16, Tiger Beat, etc.) from the 1970s and 1980s. When I look at one of the magazines from the 1980s, I'm struck by how many people who were featured are now gone: River Phoenix, Corey Haim, Michael Jackson, Patrick Swayze, Prince, and now George Michael. Those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:42 AM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


Just now, as I puttered around the house doing a little dishwashing, the Local Toddler starts tunelessly singing at the top of her little lungs, "Last Christmas! You sent me away! To save me from tears! I'm going away!" As I'm the only person here who ever sees any news, nobody understood my tears.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:54 PM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


All of those 80s Brit invasion singers tried to sound like James Brown or Little Richard or Prince in terms of pure sheer orgasmic exuberance. None of them even came close, other than George Michael. Listen to the chorus of "Freedom" (the one on Make It Big) where he sings "Girl all I want right now is you -- DOO DOO DOOOOOOO!" or the final whoops of ecstatic joy on "I Want Your Sex" where he sings "I'm not your father/I'm not your brother/Talk to your sister/I am a LOVER! -- WHOOOOOOOOAOAOAOOOO!" If that's not successfully channeling Little Richard, nothing is.
posted by blucevalo at 1:39 PM on December 27, 2016


2016 just came in like "screw your entire life from childhood to senior year of high school."

Like, just came in a took all. of. it.

RIP, George. Man, we rocked!
posted by nubianinthedesert at 3:51 PM on December 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was in the mall in the Brookstone today and they were playing George Michael songs and I saw several 20somethings get emotional about it. See, even the kids know.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:48 PM on December 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


Like Prince and Bowie, he was a big part of the soundtrack of my whole life.

I remember being 11 when I Want Your Sex was at the top of the charts, and my utter mortification hearing it when it came on the radio while I was in the car with my very classy, very Southern, very Christian mother. The squelchy first bars of the song are unmistakable, and it was too late to change the station so I decided to power through it by chattering over it.

It was an olympic effort, since the radio version is a staggering five minutes long. I very nearly succeeded until the very end, when the song spirals into an apogee and every other line is HUAH SEX: We're planning a field trip to the natural history museum for Girl Scouts and ***HUAH SEX*** they say they let kids have sleepovers in the museum once a year and ***HUAH SEX*** maybe if we have enough kids on the field trip they'll let us do that, also there are lasers and dinosaurs ***HUAH SEX.... c-c-c-c-c-c-c'mon!***

After five long minutes I was out of breath and wanted nothing more than to sink into the upholstery. All that, and I still don't think I fooled her.

I remember being eight years old and thinking Careless Whisper was the most tragic, romantic, grown-up song ever. I remember being 10 and making up dance routines in Cyndi's basement to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. The beginning jitterbug part was all heel-toe tap.

I remember borrowing Listen Without Prejudice on cassette from my friend Kristie in middle school and listening to Freedom 90 and They Won't Go When I Go, rewinding, and listening over and over on my walkman -- dance, then quiet, then dance, then quiet. It was months before I gave it back.

I still put Freedom 90 on repeat for a whole afternoon several times a year.

.
posted by mochapickle at 12:10 AM on December 28, 2016 [14 favorites]


mochapickle, I have a similar story. One fine summer day my mother was driving me, her mother and father, and my 3-year-old sister through Eastern North Carolina towards Emerald Isle. We were in the Gordian knot of concrete highway that is the Raleigh metro area when George Michael came on the radio, purring about things that you guess and things that you know. After the second chorus (with its "I want your... sex... SEX!" change-up), the adults in the car looked at each other worriedly. Mama, though, for some reason didn't change the station or turn off the radio (1987 was as I recall just after AOR had died and just before "classic rock" became a valid radio format, so maybe it was just that there were no good radio stations? Plus our tape deck wasn't working).

Anyway, from that day forward, Grandma tried to organize sing-alongs on road trips instead of listening to the radio. She didn't know many songs that we knew, so they always petered out quickly, but by God she tried everything she could to keep us from listening to that awful radio.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:05 AM on December 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


My parents wouldn't let me listen to I Want Your Sex, I guess thinking it'd encourage teenage pregnancy or something. If that were the song's mission, it failed because I didn't get laid for a long time after that.
posted by AFABulous at 9:52 AM on December 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


Ha, that's the thing. My brother was 16 that summer of my awful car ride and he had a copy of it. He was deep-voiced and jeanjacketed and he dated girls who'd prep their eyeliner by melting it with bic lighters, and he'd started carrying a keychain that read To all the virgins of the world, thanks for nothing. He'd play it in his room and sort of... strut? My mother was furious and I was grossed out.

She tossed it in the trash and that was the end of that.
posted by mochapickle at 10:07 AM on December 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go was perfect for making up dance routines in the living room. My group at day camp also did a pom-pom routine to that song.

Edge of Heaven and I'm Your Man were also awkward to listen to with parents around. Those songs were extremely popular with my eighth grade class, though, and we sang "IF YOU'RE GONNA DO IT, DO IT RIGHT! DO IT WITH ME!" on the bus during many field trips. I'm sure our teachers just loved that! (Of course, back then it would have been a Major Scandal if anyone in our class was actually Doing It. But we sure liked to sing about it!)
posted by SisterHavana at 11:39 AM on December 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh man, I know I'm very late to commenting in this thread -- I was on vacation and I don't really write to MetaFilter while I'm away from my house. But holy fucking shit -- Seriously?

I've done more than a couple of posts about George Michael here on the Blue across the years. I have such huge admiration for him and I love his ability with melody and lyrics. I've read more than one admiring article about him over the past few days which described Everything She Wants as a fluffy pop song, and seriously, that's exactly the opposite of what that song is. And that was SOOO early in his career.

Crazyman Dance, a b-side addressing the plight of the homeless from his Listen Without Prejudice period, I think might be one of his strongest pieces of songwriting across his career. Second on that list for me (out of a VERY LONG LIST) is Precious Box, an examination of media-saturated culture off of his Patience album.

His death was a true shock for me, and felt like something being ripped from me. I had hoped for more from him. I read at least one article that said he has a new album in the can already to be released along with a documentary about his life, timed to come out around March. Perhaps we will get one last big injection of George's talent before too long. i hope so.

There is no dot big enough for me to put here to show my respect and my sense of loss.
posted by hippybear at 11:43 PM on December 29, 2016 [12 favorites]


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posted by one teak forest at 12:50 AM on January 1, 2017


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