Your Earliest Memories Of George Michael

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As you know, George Michael will soon be celebrating his 50th birthday. That’s quite a landmark, and an age where I’m sure George will be reflecting on everything that he’s done, at least a little. So, I thought it might be nice to collect a few of your memories here – you never know, George might even read them…

The specific question that I’m asking you to address in the comments here is – what are your earliest memories of George?

GandK

I’ll start things off with my earliest memories…

The year was 1982. I was off school one day and home alone. I was in the living room with the TV on.  At that time, ITV used to play one music video every lunchtime in between TV programmes. The video for Wham Rap! came on, and I loved the record on first hearing – I thought it sounded incrediblly “musical”.  I didn’t catch the name of the band though (not withstanding the big red letters in the video!), and for ages after, I was trying to find out what the record was. I failed! I wouldn’t hear the record again for a long time.

While I was aware of Wham! after that, I didn’t know the names of the band members, and I didn’t associate that first record I’d heard with the band that I saw from time to time on Top Of The Pops with Young Guns, Bad Boys, and Club Tropicana. I really hated Club Tropicana, by the way! I found it completely unbearable to listen to! Weirdly, I like the song it now – it’s one of those records that’s gotten better with time, I think.

It wasn’t until 1984, though, that I first became aware of the name “George Michael”. I’d bought the 7″ single of Wake Me Up (the first Wham! record I bought).  Despite the image of Wham! in the video (not to my taste), I thought the song itself was incredible.  I remember very clearly wondering if it was a cover version of an old song, and looking at the blue label in the middle of the record to find out who had actually written the song. There it was, the name of the songwriter – “George Michael”. I went to find out who that was, and discovered that it was actually the singer in the band.

It wasn’t fashionable at the time to think of George as musically talented, but to me his musicality had shone through in Wham Rap!, and Wake Me Up demonstrated to me that George was a super-talented songwriter capable of writing classic songs that would stand the test of time.  Because of that, I used to use people’s views of Wake Me Up as a kind of barometer for how musical they were. In other words, see if they could separate the image of the band from the quality of the song and the record.  I found it baffling that so few people were unable to see what a great song, great vocal, and record, Wake Me Up is. In fact, that’s still true today. Pretty much whenever you see people cover Wake Me Up, it’s done as kitch, cheesey version. No-one has figured out a way to separate the song from it’s original cheesey presentation. To be fair, that includes George too – as far as I know, he’s never performed the song since Wham! ended.

There were many other artists around at the time that were seen as more “credible”, but I just didn’t see it. It was always clear to me, even as a child, that their credibility was nothing to do with their musical talent. Of course, it didn’t take long for those artists to fade away, and for George to become highly regarded by many people (especially the public) as a singer and songwriter.  The truth is that since George Michael was at the height of his global popularity in the late 1980s, there’s never been a singer-songwriter pop star who produces their own records that’s been as successful as he has.  That’s quite an achievement.

So, there you have it, those are my very first memories of George Michael. What are yours? Please do leave them in the comments. Don’t be shy – be a brief or as detailed as you like! They can be funny or serious – doesn’t matter!

2 thoughts on “Your Earliest Memories Of George Michael

  1. I remember being a kid and seeing “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” on MTV… something in it just clicked! I watched it every time it came on. I made my mom buy me the album and played it constantly. Then, as the record got bigger, MTV played some older videos — “Bad Boys”! I had to get that cassette as well. “Wham! U.K.” it said in bold red letters; I still have it to this day.

    As obsessive/compulsive as I am, I read all the articles, saw all the interviews on TV. But it wasn’t until 1987 that I realized what a fan I was.

    I remember being in my room, listening to the radio, when the DJ announced that George had released a “controversial” new song. It was, of course, “I Want Your Sex,” and I fell in love with it. Seriously… I couldn’t get enough of the track! Not because I was a 13-year-old boy, but because the music was just so… cool. I made my mother buy me the Faith album when it came out.

    And I started my cycle again of absorbing everything I could about George and his music. That same radio station held a phone contest for tickets. Guess who called so many times that he won tickets? Yup. My first concert was George’s Faith Tour in Houston, Texas. I still have the stub.

    Then as I grew older and LWP came out, I started to listen to the words. I was doing what he said, after all… listening. And I realized that this newer, wiser George was writing what was in my head.

    I maintain that to this day. Above the silky voice without compare, above the catchy tunes that everyone knows by heart, George is an incredible wordsmith who has an eerie ability to seriously write what’s in my head. It’s a strange connection but one I’m grateful for.

    And I’ll end by admitting this. When I was 13 or 14 and the Faith album came out, I was a confused, awkward teenage boy who didn’t like what he saw in the mirror. What I saw on the record cover and on the TV screen was what I wanted to me — handsome, suave, talented and seemingly confident. So since those days, I modeled myself after him. I still sport a scruffy beard rather than going clean-shaving or committing to a full beard. I have been known to buy a pair of aviator sunglasses or two. I found it an easy way to build up my own confidence while using props as a crutch in the meantime — stylish ones, mind you.

    So to George, I say not only Happy Birthday, but a sincere thank you. Today, I’m older and wiser, in large part because of your insights. You truly shaped my life. And even today, you continue to create the soundtrack to my existence.

    Keep on funkin,
    Brian in Texas

  2. I have been a devoted George’s fan for years and years, crazy as it sounds i had the feeling i would meet him one day !!! The very first time i met George was one afternoon in February long time agooooo , i was feeling down on that day and i was eating a buch of candies to cheer me up when suddenly i saw him being driven by his own chauffeur , Dennis i think his name was , i got very excited and i could hardly speak , i got his authograph on a piece of paper as i was not prepared to see him coming out from his house , but i still remember his warmth , his smile omg ….incredibly kind and wam person George is, if i had to tell every time i have seen him and met him , i would not stop writing here …..all i can say is that , George is a genuine and kind hearted man, he is extremely kind !!! Very polite !!!

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