Back in my youth, I was obsessed with George Michael. I first discovered him when Wham’s Make It Big came out in the States. I listened to Careless Whisper over and over.
And then on a trip to visit family in Toronto with my Mom, I discovered they had a previous album. Fantastic was not sold in the States at the time. So I bought that and became very popular in my small town Ohio neighborhood. I was the one with the unbuyable Wham record!! We jammed to Wham Rap, Bad Boys, and Young Guns. I can still sing every word.
After that Music from the Edge of Heaven came out. I bought that and, in my bedroom, I choreographed the title song. It wasn’t the first song I had choreographed in my bedroom as an eager kid. I used to make up dances all the time. I remember choreographing Why Can’t This Be Love by Van Halen (that included a difficult spin I couldn’t achieve), Let the Music Play by Shannon (that was a duo without a second person), and Smokin’ by Boston. I performed that one for the neighbor kids who made fun of me.
The reason I remember The Edge of Heaven so well is because I put a move in it I now call bondage arms. George Michael sings about tying up this girl he wants to ravage and I created moves to match what he was singing. FYI, I was much too young for that but to this day the music I use dictates what I do. I am realizing now that it was a song written by George Michael that first pushed me outside the choreography box and that I’ve pretty much stayed there.
When he died, articles and shows were saying that he was ahead of his time which is very true. He was singing about whatever he was thinking long before others were. And he is another example of art being whatever you want. He tied that girl up in ’86, he sang “wise guys realize there’s danger in emotional ties” and “death by matrimony” back in ’82. He sang “There’s a place for us in a dirty movie ’cause no one does it better than me and you”. I was quite pure in my youth but I thought nothing of these lyrics. I guess art was art to me even then.
So I’m writing about this because I really didn’t realize until he died that he was part of what inspired me on my strange beautiful artist’s journey. I was listening to satellite radio –the George Michael dedication station and The Edge of Heaven came on. I hadn’t heard that song in at least twenty years and I instantly remembered the bondage choreography that a young me in small town USA created.
Now I can’t stop listening. I’ve got a Spotify playlist I created blasting right now. I’m very proud of it. I’m Your Man is currently playing. In that one he sings, “I wanna take you, wanna make you but they tell me it’s a crime.”
It would have been a crime, George but I would not have cared!!