2016 has officially become the year the music died. Bowie. Prince. Leonard Cohen. And now, in just bloody sad news, it has been confirmed that George Michael passed away at his home on Christmas Day, aged just 53. According to TMZ, George’s publicist confirmed the news with the following: “It is with great sadness that we confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period.” No details surrounding his death have been confirmed yet.
It’s funny how affected you can feel over the death of someone you’ve never even met before, especially in the case of celebrities. But when I really think about it, the connection is simple; the music of legends like David Bowie and Prince and George Michael have provided the soundtrack of our lives. Hearing one of their songs can instantly transport us back in time, evoking memories that have the ability to make us laugh, make us cry or even just make us think a little harder.
My sister and I listened to the double-cassette Wham!: The Final album so much that after around 9377 plays, it got chewed up. Devastating to two little girls who knew the words to EVERY SINGLE SONG – even the inappropriate ones we didn’t understand, like I’m Your Man. George Michael’s songs were some of the most-played of my childhood and who could forget the blow-up that surrounded the release of I Want Your Sex and the accompanying video. Every song of the Faith album was gold. His clips for Freedom and Too Funky were watched over and over and over again, providing a cultural snapshot of a moment in time when supermodels ruled the world, and then he reinvented himself in the Fastlove era.
George Michael pushed boundaries. He set new benchmarks for what we listened to, or even discussed, in everyday society. He was the man who could take an incident involving public masturbation and turn it into an number one hit with Outside. He had an unmistakable, instantly recognisable voice and even though those Choose Life t-shirts didn’t stand the test of time, his music most certainly has.
Thanks for the music, George Michael. We’ll never stop listening….