It was 1995. I was a four year old who had just had her first brush with Anu Malik’s “creativity” when he blatantly lifted George Michael’s Last Christmas for Dil Mera Churaya Kyon (from Akele Hum Akele Tum). I had heard that original tune on loop on our audio cassette player and vividly remember the colourless cassette cover with Wham! written in bold. After all, George Michael was also my first pop culture crush. That ruffled hair and those ear rings. Yes, it broke my heart when he declared he was gay. But that heartbreak was nothing compared to the pangs of separation I felt while browsing Facebook first thing in the morning today. I read and re-read the news, pinched myself, and shed a silent tear.
Safe to say that it doesn’t quite feel like the season to be jolly or merry. He let his music talk to the world, his words cajoling a sea of listeners. So, we felt it was only natural to celebrate his genius with the ultimate George Michael playlist. Here it goes:
*hands a tub of tissues*
This comes from a smitten fan, so kindly ignore the hyperventilation throughout.
This opening saxophone riff defined saxophone brilliance for an entire generation. Besides, this was also a hot favourite video when it released, bordering on risqué. This song came out in 1984, and I don’t know if there was any other song during my childhood, that taught me about heartbreak before I knew what it meant. Since then, it has been an all-time favourite karaoke hit too!
Wake me up before you go go
I learnt a new word with this song – Jitterbug, and also discovered an actor called Doris Day “You make the sun shine brighter than Doris Day” remember?! Choose Life, their T-shirts said. Hell, I would choose George Michael over life. None of the covers can ever do any justice to the Wham energy in this song. This instant mood lifter might fail me today, yet it needs to be high up on that ultimate playlist.
Who hasn’t tried to play that earworm of a guitar riff from this song? This is no less than a teenage anthem; and the pop star has never writer more epic or truer lyrics than these:
“Well I guess it would be nice, if I could touch your body. I know not everybody has got a body like you. But I’ve got to think twice, before I give my heart away. And I know all the games you play because I play them too.”
There were no fancy IPods or MP3 players back in the 90s. I had a battery-consuming Walkman, and this one mix tape which opened with this song. I may have listened to this at least over a thousand times, and I am not even kidding, this one still exists on my phone playlist. It’s one of the most underrated George Michael gems. It’s almost ancient on his discography, dating back to 1984, but then again, old is gold.
Killer / Papa was a rolling stone:
Guess who was making mash ups before mash ups became a thing? This George Michael classic combines two classics – Killer and Papa Was A Rolling Stone – but he owns the track like nobody could. I remember discovering this on MTV back in the day when quality music was still being broadcast out of there.
While most fans may root for Freedom 90 over Freedom, but this one is a classic of another league altogether. There was this infectious desperation, which was nowhere close to being creepy, and in fact was quite the USP of his lyrics. This was the guy there to suffer anything and everything for you. I guess his music was the soundtrack to every 80s and 90s kid to finding that one true love (or what they thought was true love then.)
I’m your man
And this was when I took him seriously, and thought he would step right out of the audio tape and be mine. Such wishful thinking. I guess he was a soundtrack to my entire growing up years, and he will continue till my last breath.
“If you are the desert, I’ll be the sea. If you ever hunger, hunger for me. Whatever you ask for, that’s what I’ll be”
Where are the writers of this generation, where are the words when we need them? I will always rely on this man to slam it right across the world for whatever I feel.
Like they say, save the best for the last. I just heard this song multiple times yesterday, and well, this one will never be the same again. The most iconic George Michael number – Last Christmas – with its video so relatable for the awkward gatherings we have all been part of at some point, is going to stay on forever. We love you George, this Christmas and forever.