It was the beginning of July in West Belfast, 2001. My fellow interns had set me up on a surprise date with a local waiter - who turned out to be going to law school. That night had been particularly violent in North Belfast getting a ride out of West Belfast wasn't going to happen until early in the morning. It was over homemade spaghetti carbonara that he asked if I had heard George Michael's song with Mary J Blige, As. There I was on a date, in a stranger's house listening to this beautiful song and outside there was pandemonium. George always had his way of leaving an impression on my life.
George Michael was introduced to me, of course as for many, through Wham. Who didn't love the catchy beats of Wake Me Up (and those shorts in the video) or the infamous saxophone on Careless Whisper. It would be Faith of course that impacted me forever. While at 10, I didn't know what any of those songs were about, George was cute and those songs were like nothing I had heard before. The grooves on that album are worn more than any other I have.
I went through some typical identity issues growing up and Listen Without Prejudice and Older became my therapists. Notwithstanding, the video for Freedom combined my love of supermodels and George. Songs like They Won't Go When I Go and Cowboys and Angels were nothing compared to the songs on Faith. I was growing as his songs were. His career was marred by loss, poor decisions, and health issues.While his celebrity did fade, no one can take away what talent he gave to an entire MTV generation. And as days passed, the genuine, giving, and selfless George Michael is rrevealed. The man lived to love and give.
The summer of 1992 is marked by the video for Too Funky. More models but with the line from The Graduate: Would you like me to seduce you? It became my line for the summer. And again, I was the quirky one quoting things way outside of my age group.
George Michael's loss at only 53 extinguishes a voice that so many recognize as a part of their youth. Faith remains one of my favorite albums, at the ready for the turntable when stress strikes or I want to reminisce of days of young.
Better get yourself where you wanna be
I think of all the days and nights I spent crying
Before my angel set me free