George Michael is famously frank about his own life, his views, and his loves. Here are some of George Michael’s famous quotes:
No event inspired the song, just life in general, It’s my way of trying to figure out why it’s so hard for people to be good to each other. I believe the problem is conditional as opposed to being something inherent in mankind. The media has affected everybody’s consciousness much more than most people will admit. Because of the media, the way the world is perceived is as a place where resources and time are running out. We’re taught that you have to grab what you can before it’s gone. It’s almost as if there isn’t time for compassion.
I think it’s against the tide in many ways. But I didn’t feel I had any choice. I’ve never made an album that sounded like the one before. If I’d made ‘Faith 2,’ it would have been unsatisfying for me.
He crammed the Freedom ’90 video with the world’s top supermodels in various states of undress lip-synching along and smoldering up the screen. It was calculated, creative, controversial and crafty and became the classic little black dress of music videos.
Freedom, a constant theme in George Michael’s work, something he craved and cherished, this liberation that he gave his audience through his music, is his enduring spirit and his everlasting legacy.
The songs he created that were suffused with soul-drenching emotion; the overwhelming heartache of A Different Corner; the blinding grief of Jesus to a Child; people responded to George because he was a transmitter for our own feelings. He had been there too.
George Michael’s music is as important for its universality as it is for its sexual specificity. Presumably, “Amazing” is a love song about Michael and his partner, yet its genderless pronouns translate to all kinds of relationships. Rather gracefully, George Michael has proclaimed his love for men without alienating his fans. What Twenty Five illuminates that Ladies and Gentlemen did not is how Michael has come full circle in making peace with his sexuality. If album charts are any indication— Twenty Five topped the European Albums chart—he hasn’t lost many listeners in the process.
2008’s Twenty Five celebrates George Michael’s 25 years in the recording industry by presenting a near perfect collection of highlights from both Wham! and his solo career. For fans, having “Everything She Wants,” “Careless Whisper,” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” on the same collection as “Faith,” “Father Figure,” and “Freedom! ’90” is reason enough to pick this up, but for completists the lack of “I Want Your Sex” and “Kissing a Fool” is just too glaring not to warrant a few grumblings about waiting for his 27th year anniversary to celebrate.
Whether you love George or hate him, you can’t deny that he’s done it his way, from shoving shuttlecocks down his impossibly tight shorts, to standing up against the might of the major labels, to responding to being caught with his trousers down in a public toilet by recording a video that takes a look the Village People introduced to the world and makes it more gay than they could possibly have imagined. George really is in a class of his own.
“Patience,” a sensuous, sprawling meditation on sex, war, grief and commitment. Playful one moment and contemplative the next, the album seemed to give Michael an opportunity to sort out some important truths about pop itself: that our pleasure is not frivolous, and that heavy ideas travel further when they’re floating on bright melodies.
“Patience” was a bigger hit in Europe than it was in the States, so if you weren’t listening then, please listen now. You’ll hear songs about ecstatic bonds (“Amazing”), perilous romances (“Cars and Trains”), dark family secrets (“My Mother Had a Brother), courageous dream chasers (“Flawless (Go to the City)”), deceased lovers (“Please Send Me Someone (Anselmo’s Song)”) and more. It’s dizzying, just like life, and the entire thing is held together by the intimacy of Michael’s vocal delivery — that warm, sandpapery pillow-talk that could soar without warning.
While there are unifying lyrical and musical themes throughout the album, each track is its own entity, scrubbed, polished, and manicured without regard to how it fits alongside the next. There’s an excessive attention to detail to each song, and that tunnel vision means each song runs about a minute or two longer than it should, which ultimately makes Patience seems twice as long as its actual running time. That’s unfortunate because the core of the album is quite good: it’s hard not to admire his studiocraft, there’s a starkly confessional streak in his writing that’s disarmingly direct, and, as an album, it balances the moody ballads and sleek neo-disco better than Older, feeling much brighter than that claustrophobic affair.
Patience, his first original studio album in eight years, is a mixed bag that can be somewhat of a downer. The album can best be described as one part Red Hot + Dance (Michael contributed three uptempo tracks to the 1992 AIDS compilation, including the hit “Too Funky”) and one part Older.
Symphonica is a curious way for the pop singer to return to action. A live album recorded on his 2011-2012 tour, Symphonica showcases a singer on the supper club circuit, trading in a few of his big hits, all middle-brow favorites (“Praying for Time,” “One More Try,” “A Different Corner”) and spending a lot of time on songs the audience knows and love, whether it’s Ewan MacColl’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” Anthony Newley’s “Feeling Good,” or the American Popular Songbook standard “My Baby Just Cares for Me.” Michael does indulge in some personal favorites — —he tackles Terence Trent D’Arby’s “Let Her Down Easy” and the deep Elton John track “Idol” — but the context is something familiar: a popular singer luxuriating in a symphonic setting. He doesn’t push the limits of this template, choosing to enjoy the lush surroundings, so this winds up slightly anti-climactic: Michael is in good form but he’s coasting, doing no more than he needs to, satisfying fans without surprising.
For a live record, though, this collection of 10 covers and seven originals has an oddly manicured feel, with a lack of the mistakes and ad-libs that pump oxygen into live recordings. Despite the applause and sporadic bits of improvisation (he changes the lyric to Praying for Time and banters on Feeling Good: “It’s too much to expect a white man to do it like Nina”), these tracks could pass for studio versions. Michael glides through the songs like a pop swan, foregrounding his elegance as a balladeer. Really, the album is all about technique – his and the orchestra’s. To be fair, he can croon the stuffing out of the most well-worn covers (Brother Can You Spare a Dime is a searingly emotional trip through several octaves), but it’s at the expense of spontaneity.
An unadventurous set list reworks some of his most thoughtful and sombre songs with a selection of classic covers, all given a lush production gloss by the late Phil Ramone. What lifts it to a higher plane is Michael’s smooth and expressive singing. He has gorgeous tone and timbre and an instinct for when to introduce a breathy intimacy and when to raise the roof.
I looked up to him as a role model as a gay artist in pop music. I’d watch his interviews all the time and how he held himself. I loved how flawed he was. He was a superstar but he was a human at the same time, that’s inspiring to me. He wasn’t a robot.”
A man who was getting up to go to work seven days to work on his film and record music and going to have dinner in restaurants five nights a week is hardly a recluse.
George was always super happy creating. He lived a full life, happy with his work, his friends, his creativity.
He was his own genre. If he sang it, it’s a George song.
He just holds a really special place in my heart … he was the reason I decided I wanted to do pop music, and I just loved how human he was.
I had an absolute belief that my destiny was in music and it wasn’t to be a shrinking violet.
I was equal parts inspired and terrified, not of George, but of the prospect of trying to be something like George.
I was on a few award ceremonies with him in Take That and when I had just left Take That. And when he arrived on stage, whether it be rehearsing or doing the actual performance, you were in the presence of such a magnetic personality, such charisma.
So I used to be at the side of the stage going ‘how on earth can I beat that? Because that’s godlike’. And of course, his music will last forever. His music is eternal. He inspired in a lot of different ways. I just thought he was a god.
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.
Yes, it’s an old Don McLean song that I heard when I was 7 years old. It came out in 1970 which was when the protest for Vietnam was ..well actually Vietnam didn’t stop until ’74, did it? So they were there in the middle of all that protest stuff. And the same album that had American Pie and Vincent on it, or Starry, Starry Nights as it is commonly known. It has a track at the end of it which was a protest song. Even though I was 7, it totally and utterly made an impact on me as to the terror of war and what the actual reality of it was. And I think that is incredibly powerful if you can reach children with words like that. Ultimately, I think that says a lot of what music is for. It occurred to me the other day I could play this song. Live here tonight. And the idea of something so early in my life and so important really was a cornerstone of the way I viewed war. To get the privilege to sing it in this situation and try to help others see what war for what it is; it’s amazing.
I am proud of George Michael for standing up for life and sanity. I am delighted that he chose a song of mine to express these feelings. We must remember that the Wizard is really a cowardly old man hiding behind a curtain with a loud microphone. It takes courage and a song to pull the curtain open and expose him.
Good Luck George
I never met George Michael but I wish I had. I would have thanked him for the beautiful performance of my song “The Grave” which he did to protest the invasion of Iraq and the disastrous war which he knew would follow and still continues. The authorities had everybody cowered in the shadows as we hoped for a ’60s style protest which never materialized. George Michael was fearless and had a great artist’s need to speak the truth even in cowardly times. We should remember what he did. I always will.
George Michael has begun to think that he should provide something to his fans beyond fun and games. Fun and games at Michael’s level needn’t be underrated — as he sings on “Freedom 90,” such stratagems happened to yield a captivating sound for millions of people who like to listen to the radio. On this anxiously titled album, though, he’s operating from the proposition that a damn good sound is only the starting point for how much pop music can achieve. If Listen Without Prejudice starts a trend among Michael’s pop generation to move beyond image to integrity, it could make “rock and roll TV” sound more consistently and convincingly like music.
Listen Without Prejudice is political, self-exploring, self-criticising, confused and intelligent.
It’s also generous. It seems Michael wants to let us know that fame and fortune is not all it’s cracked up to be and that those who crave would be advised to be careful what they ask for. Michael was suffocating in that bubble. It’s an honest appraisal of the high life from way up there – beyond the reach of us mere mortals – from where Michael seems to question the need for fame at all, especially the kind of mega-celebrity he was at the time, and ponders its value in a world of need and sadness.
George Michael wasn’t just a brilliant purveyor of pop—he was a scholar of it, studying the ins and outs with a keen eye and taking those lessons to heart in the studio and on the stage.
Michael’s extensive repertoire of covers further reveals the deep respect he had for pop’s artistic merits and ability to bring people together.
I was totally obsessed with the idea of the records; I loved them as things and just being able to listen to music was incredible.