The New Year is here, but the whole world is still trying to process the outpouring of grief that became a terrible part of 2016. The brightest stars were dimmed, and the last one broke hearts of a million on a day as festive as Christmas.
The British singer and pop culture icon George Michael died at 53 leaving behind a legacy of ground-breaking music that has inspired generations.
Starting from 1981, George Michael formed a group “Wham “along with his partner Andrew Ridgeley. It was the time when pop culture was emerging as a significant aspect of western culture and pop music resonated very well with it. This emerging UK band had their first hit in 1982 with “Wham Rap” which was a pop riff on the rap music genre. The song “Fantastic “from their debut album brought us to the biggest hit “Bad Boys” introducing us to the group’s leather jacket and slick British pop music.
As a solo artist in the following year, he continued to launch hit records like “Five Live”, ‘Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1″, “Songs from the Last Century”, “Symphonica”, and “Patience”, but most of us remember him for first solo album “Wham!” Michael’s legacy rests with his work in 80s’as the last album “Symphonica” he released in 2014 never gained the similar success.
In 1984, when Michael wrote, “Last Christmas” for Wham! It was the biggest year for a tacky British holiday pop music. The song is still very much popular and has been covered by the modern pop artist for obvious reasons-A universally cherish Christmas classic! The lyrics reflect regret, and heartbreak, which are not the usual la la la of Christmas cheer!
“Last Christmas, I gave you my heart,” the chorus beings. “But the very next day, you gave it away / this year, to save me from tears / I’ll give it to someone special.”
Another aspect most often found in Michael’s songs is loneliness. Getting older while being gay was one of the specific disappointments for Michael and this is mostly considered a reason why he stopped performing quite a few years back. For instance, his song “Cowboys and Angels” shares the similar heartfelt sadness.
“Cowboys and angels
They all have the time for you
Why should I imagine that I’d be a find for you?
Why should I imagine
That I’d have something to say.”
The world witnessed an iconic jukebox, leather jacket, and guitar in his famous song “Faith” released in 1987. Also, the song video featured his signature BSA jacket and groomed stubble making the audience hailing Michael as the new pop icon. The best verse from this song was:
“Before you throw my heart back on the floor, oh baby, I reconsider my foolish notion. Well, I need someone to hold me but I wait for something more. Yes, I’ve gotta have faith.”
Undoubtedly, Michael was wiser beyond his age with an ability to write soulful pop songs and capturing the sensitive human emotions like heartbreak and grief. It was his ability to tease out nuance which allowed him to transition into a sophisticated solo career. It is quite difficult to single out the influences that Michael assimilated thoroughly over the course of his career. His music was inspired by David Bowe and Elton John and for this very reason, we see a swagger with vulnerability and coy with sexuality in his music. We observe modern, effortless, and regressive rock that hit all the right strings of hearts of the listeners. It was as if the 80s had hardened him for anything that could be thrown at him turning him into a pop icon!
Michael’s journey has been fascinating, astonishing and the one that altered the measure of what a pop star can be! We learned about this death while the “last Christmas” was played, and it is the twist that will always be unbearable for all!
“Tonight the music seems so loud; I wish that we could lose this crowd”.