It’s with a heavy heart that I have to write about the untimely death of George Michael. If you lived through his and Andrew Ridgley’s meteoric rise in Wham!’s early days, no explanation is necessary. If you didn’t, none will suffice. Then to see Michael reject all the fame he’d achieved because he felt too controlled by handlers and image consultants and completely reinvent himself was to witness a true artist discover who he is. I am not making it up when I say the resulting “Freedom ’90” is such a great jam it is at the No. 1 spot out of about 65 songs on my playlist for the gym. And a song he absolutely crushed at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics. Another truth: When I was with WEEI, it became a running bit that I liked Wham! to the point that when they asked what I wanted for a song on my last day, I went with the aptly titled “Wake Me Up Before you Go Go,” as seen above.
But I will tell one story that sums up my George Michael fandom that I swear on my sons’ souls is true. I’ll only remove the names so as not to betray any trust. Back in the day I was getting hammered with a buddy at the Knights of Columbus in Weymouth. And in the throes of our 50th or so beer I said I had to get something off my chest and he was the one I’d trust with this information. I told him I secretly like Wham!. As God is my witness, he gasped, put down his beer and said “Wham! is my LIFE,” and we hugged out like true men.
Then there was this recurring Dana Carvey portrayal, one of the criminally forgotten gems from the height of SNL’s Golden Age:
So this is genuinely a loss. “Father Figure,” “I Want Your Sex,” “Careless Whisper,” and the song I listened to the most his holiday season, the prescient “Last Christmas.” Now they’re all we have of the man. Sad. And once again 2016: You can eat a dick.