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George died in the early hours of Christmas Day in 2016. During his lifetime and beyond, few artists have been able to move our feet and our heart quite like the former Wham! star. We salute the music genius who asked us to Listen Without Prejudice as he challenged our ideas about sexuality but also captured the painful, universal truths about love, loss and longing. Get your tissues ready…
A Different Corner (1986)
After the heady days of Wham and the breakthrough solo single Careless Whisper, George signalled his maturity as an artist with this beautiful expression of the fear of loving someone who can hurt you.
CLASSIC LYRIC: No, I’ve never come close in all of these years, you are the only one to stop my tears. I’m so scared of this love.
And if all that there is, is this fear of being used, I should go back to being lonely and confused. If I could, I would, I swear.
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You Have Been Loved (1997)
George used a song about the universal heartbreak of a mother losing her child to also share the horrors of the AIDS and HIV epidemic, which had taken his first great love, Anselmo Feleppa.
CLASSIC LYRIC: Take care, my love, she said, don’t think that God is dead. Take care, my love, she said, you have been loved.
If I was weak, forgive me, but I was terrified. You brushed my eyes with angel’s wings, full of love, the kind that makes devils cry.
One More Try (1988)
Another devastating song about being terrified of loving someone who can not love you back in the same way.
CLASSIC LYRIC:: There are things I still have to learn but the one thing I have is my pride. So I don’t want to learn to hold you, touch you, think that you’re mine, because there ain’t no joy for an uptown boy who just isn’t willing to try.
I’m so cold inside. Maybe, just one more try.
Praying For Time (1990)
This a huge song, a plea for the entire world as we face an uncertain future and our fear makes us less able to care for those in greater need.
CLASSIC LYRIC:: Did you cover your eyes when they told you that he can’t come back because he has no children to come back for.
It’s hard to love there’s so much to hate, hanging on to hope when there is no hope to speak of and the wounded skies above say ‘it’s much too late,’ so maybe we should all be praying for time.
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I Can’t Make You Love Me (1997)
This song perfectly sums up the painful, almost impossible to achieve, acceptance that your love isn’t returned.
CLASSIC LYRIC: Lay down with me, tell me no lies. Just hold me close, don’t patronise. ‘Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t, you can’t make your heart feel something that it won’t.
Here in the dark in these final hours, I will lay down my heart and I feel the power, but you won’t, no you won’t.
Mother’s Pride (1990)
George was never a soldier, but his closeness to his mother, Lesley, shines through in this unbearably poignant tale of the loss of a son.
CLASSIC LYRIC: And in her heart, the time has come to lose a son and all the husbands, all the sons, all the lovers gone, they make no difference, no difference in the end.
Still hear the woman say ‘your daddy died a hero, in the name of God and man.’
Careless Whisper (1984)
Although this is from Wham’s Make It Big album, this announced George Michael as a major star in his own right, stepping out from the protective, fun shell of the band to reveal his sensitive, soulful skills as a songwriter and vocalist.
That famous line still remains one of the greatest lyrics in modern pop even as it brings back memories of slow dances at school discos.
CLASSIC LYRIC: Time can never mend the careless whispers of a good friend. To the heart and mind, ignorance is kind, there’s no comfort in the truth, pain is all you’ll find.
I’m never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rhythm. Though it’s easy to pretend, I know your not a fool.
Should’ve known better than to cheat a friend and waste the chance that I’ve been given, so I’m never gonna dance again the way I danced with you.