Can 2016 just get up and leave already? Even in its last hours, the year keeps on kicking us.
I know that usually Mondays feature a song from the 1980s, but recent events warrant that I write about a singer who was a big part of the ’80s for a lot of us.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve either written or said in some form that 2016 has been a tough year for our musical heroes. Another went away yesterday. In case you haven’t heard, George Michael, formerly of Wham! but also well known for his solo work, passed away yesterday at the age of 53. I spent the better part of last evening listening to some of his greatest works, and some of my favorites, both from Wham! and his solo work.
He had a way with a pop hook. He wrote a lot of songs that made you dance, and some that made you swoon. He had a facility with uptempo songs and beautiful ballads. Though the evidence of that talent was seen from the beginning in Wham!, it crystallized into a perfect pop moment with his album Faith. That album proved to be his biggest success, selling in excess of 10 million copies and featuring many top ten hits. It was Faith that I went to first in my remembrance of Michael; and I played the whole album from start to finish; reveling in the greatness of the man’s talent. It is an album with almost no filler; you may like some songs better than others, but none of them are bad.
From there, it was back and forth between his solo hits and the days of Wham! A few of my favorites of those:
I could have easily included at least a half dozen more. Or maybe even a dozen more. Like I said, he had a way with a hook. He was also blessed with a wonderful voice, and he was also gifted with production smarts. His songs always sounded good.
As I tweeted last night:
Many of us, especially those of my generation, are feeling as though chunks of our youth are being taken from us, seeming weekly or even more frequently than that. So many of our musical icons have left us this year, as well as people we’ve admired in other disciplines. 2016 has been one of the most disappointing years in that respect that I can ever remember. Though I know there are more days like these coming, I think we are all waiting for that day that there won’t be anymore like these.
RIP, George Michael. Go get your spot in that heavenly choir. While among us, you were simply amazing.