“In a lot of places, of course,
the 80s never really came to an end.” – Nick Harkaway
Wham! featuring George Michael
with Everything She Wants
Everything He Wants
written & edited by Kendall F. Person
The early 80s was different. Not that it was lost or failed to produce superstars, as Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna rose to astronomical heights back then. And the difference was neither bad nor good, although it did expose disco as a fraud, and gave plain and androgynous the sexy mantle both at the same time. In movies Molly Ringwald was the golden girl and coming of age films like Pretty and Pink and the Breakfast Club where all the rage, while groups like Culture Club with lead singer Boy George, did not at all seem out of place. But in retrospect, perhaps there was a void that would later be filled by Rap/ Hip Hop and New Country Music.
There was also a difference in the way White recording artists had more of a cross over appeal, like rap in reverse. Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust would rocket to No. 2 on the soul charts and would be bumpin in the parking lots. Madonna, Cindy Lauper, Hall & Oates all had a large black fan base, although only Teena Marie would solidify her standing within the black music genre (as it was called back then).
But one day, a group called WHAM! would take center stage and even though there were two of them (poor Andrew) all eyes where on George Michael, and without warning, Wham! was suddenly everywhere (but not really Andrew). George Michael was young, talented and the every man sex symbol that Hollywood had been longing. Initially, it was young women screaming his name, at a time when young men were still indifferent. But in 1985 even that would change, with the release of Everything She Wants. the pretty boy had made an anthem, that men would love to sing.
“And now you’re telling me, that you’re having my baby? If my best isn’t good enough, then how can it be good enough for two?”
After selling 25 million albums, George Michael would shake Wham! and took the Midas touch with him as he would go on to sell over a 100 million albums. A perceived world famous ladies man, until 1998 and his very public outing, in a men’s restroom in a public park, at the height of his popularity, no less. But there was no big crash landing, like for some celebrities, it wiped out their star-turn. Perhaps, it had much to do with his good guy persona, and even with the fame and fortune, he never came across as jerk or an untouchable, and nor did it hurt, that the gay community would welcome him with open arms.
But it was years earlier, in 1989, George would demonstrate – at the American Music Awards – his across the board appeal. Faith was a runway favorite to win top pop honors, as after all, he was a pop star, and it was one of the top grossing albums of the past 2 years. He would lose the coveted Favorite Male Artist, but came back and stunned the music world by not only winning Favorite Pop/Rock Vocalist, but won Favorite Soul/R&B Album and then toppled Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson in being named Favorite Male Soul/R&B Vocalist, becoming the first White Artist to capture those titles..
Like few entertainers could, George Michael seemed to be everything to everyone during his career. But he always seemed just a little sad. And I imagine, I am not the only one to wonder, if he got everything he wanted before the end.
4 Days to Go The 2016 Season-ending Show ‘The End of the Story’
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