George Michael

George Michael

June 25, 1963- December 25, 2016

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I can’t believe I’m actually writing about this. 

The past few days have been incredibly sad for me and for my fellow Lovelies. On Christmas Day, George Michael was found peacefully gone in his bed, by his boyfriend of several years, Fadi Fawaz.

The news broke in the evening, here in New Jersey. My husband came to tell me as I was changing into my pajamas after our happy Christmas Day with my parents. He told me and I was of course in disbelief. I really thought my husband was telling me a tall tale, maybe a joke that wasn’t funny. How could this be, I said? Christmas is George’s favorite holiday? How could this have been his Last Christmas, I thought to myself? Silently, I was praying this was NOT true. I went downstairs to double check this information on my phone. Surely, I’d discover it was a hoax, and my fellow Lovelies would reassure me and everything would be okay! I picked up my phone and looked.

Oh My God! Nothing was okay… It was true. George was gone.

This was the news we had been dreading for a long time and this was just really bad. The Lovelies were in tears. Tributes were flowing into our wonderful Facebook group. I felt my blood turn to ice and started to shiver before I even started to cry. I was truly heartbroken from that moment forward.

George Michael… Where do I begin? I suppose from the beginning.

Way back when around 1983-4, I heard of a duo from England called Wham! I thought they were okay. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” was catchy but I wasn’t grabbed with that one song. But, that’s okay because, once “Everything She Wants” was released I fell in love!

That intro to the song, that video and good grief, that sexy voice!

 

SMITTEN!! YES!

Ha! Loved this song and then I heard “I’m Your Man,” “Careless Whisper,” “Last Christmas” and his vocals in Band Aid’s “Do They Know it’s Christmas.” My Wham! love was cemented and soon enough, it was announced that George was splitting from Andrew Ridgeley to have a solo career and The Final was to be held at Wembley Stadium. What a crushing blow as a fan from the US! I spent that day on the beach with my friend, listening to Make it Big on my boom box.

We all know how it goes, a group breaks up and everyone falls into obscurity and you never hear of them again until something bad happens.

Incredibly, George had things in the works like his fantastic duet with Aretha Franklin and created something very special with her. This single was very reassuring as a fan.

What an incredible song and by far one of the very best duets I have ever heard! Honestly, at this point I figured this guy was surely something special if he was working with the Queen of Soul! (The 80’s were such a GLORIOUS time for music, so diverse, fresh and fantastic!) This had been the era of many duets, so many types of music played on radio stations and this song showed George had the stuff to work with the big league artists.

Then, Faith arrived and rocked my world! That album! It was like Magic!

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It’s the type of album that you can listen to all the way through. No skipping of songs, every single one of them was special and incredible. Faith was the bridge for George from his young adult, fun working through songs from Wham! to more mature but still very much, a  fun style of music.

I was lucky enough to see George in concert during the Faith era. I saw him at The Spectrum on August 9, 1988. I went with my best friend at the time, Wendy. It is by far my favorite concert I have ever been to. My only regret now is, I will never have the chance to see him in concert again. Thank goodness for YouTube! So much of what he’s done is on YT and much of it is glorious!

George had a true gift with that in songwriting. He grew with his music. He didn’t write just one style of music, he wrote everything! From a little bit of rapping with Wham! To recreating his music for the Symphonica tour to be played with a symphony orchestra. (Who takes their songs and puts them to an orchestra? Well, George did and it’s brilliant!) In the past, George lent his vocals to a few of Elton John’s songs, sang “Somebody to Love” with Queen at a tribute concert for Freddie Mercury, as well as many charity concerts, a Cover to Cover tour and his Trojan Souls project.

As I became an adult, and day to day life over took my love for music, I stopped listening and got away from music on a whole. But, in the meantime, George did make more music. His style changed from the earlier “Faith” and even “Listen Without Prejudice.” He went through major life changing events that impacted him in ways we will truly never know about. Some of those events were very public, but I think there was much that happened behind the scenes that remained private for him. All of those events created gorgeous, reflective, hauntingly beautiful and fun songs that would carry him through to the end of his very public, yet private life.

I’m sure by now people have heard about George’s philanthropy. It doesn’t hurt to mention it again, because it is important to know about how generous this man really was. Over the years, George gave money to many people and charities anonymously. He volunteered at a homeless shelter and gave money anonymously to a woman who wanted IVF treatments. He helped a student in nursing school pay off some of her debts. I could go on all day about the lovely, giving things he’s done. He wanted to make the world a better place for everyone, always and never wanted to be in the spotlight because he was kind and generous.

George was thoughtful and sensitive but could always find the humor in the ridiculous of mistakes he’s made in life. I think his humor is what I will miss… well, no, the unknown music yet to come… No, his humble spirit…Maybe his smile and kindness in his eyes… Actually, I’ll miss it all. George was the whole package. He was an honest human. He embraced who he was and owned it, all of it and I admire how ultimately, he handled himself. Unfortunately for George, he carried depression with him and he could never shake it no matter how hard he tried.

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I’ve been a fan of his since the mid 80’s. This past year both of my kids went back to school full time. My days became free in the sense in I could finally put the music I wanted to listen to, on in the car. In January, I popped in my one George Michael CD, Ladies and Gentlemen. (my other GM music was all on cassette tape and in my parents basement somewhere)

For 3 months straight, I listened to that 2 CD album. While I felt I was a bit lost internally as to who I am now, this music reminded me of who I once was. The old tracks reminded me of the music I once loved more than anything and the new tracks, well, they were new and different. I was unsure about them and I guess afraid to really try them out. Chicken to try something new. But, that would soon change.

I had been following George on Twitter for a long time but he rarely tweeted anymore. I looked at his page here and there… Then Prince died. Everything changed that day for me about how I felt about George. Something inside told me that I needed to tell him before it was too late.

That day, I tweeted to George about how I felt about him. I let him know that I loved him, appreciated him, his music and all the GOOD he’s put into this world. I then met Gus, who brought me into his incredible group where I learned SO MUCH about George and his music. Gus blew me away with his knowledge, dedication and incredible passion for this man we both admired. I’m really thankful to have become friends with Gus. I then became friends with the lovely Ilse and began tweeting with some LOVELY people (mostly Ilse’s friends :)) who embraced me and took me under their beautiful wings. I’m thankful to have them as friends.

I soon discovered that the music I was at first unsure about, was incredibly moving, mature and just so beautiful. I then realized that my George of Faith, grew into a gorgeous man with an incredible gift of sensitive songwriting and funky, fun dance music that makes your body want to get up and move. George Michael grew up and became a man, but embraced his music of his past, all the while creating more music that is truly timeless!

It’s a gift. I cannot think of any other musician/songwriter who has evolved in the way George has… Perhaps that’s truly the tragedy of this loss. George wrote music that was very personal, but while it was personal to him, the way it would hit you became very personal to you, like he wrote it for you.

Did you know that George wrote a follow-up to “Everything She Wants?” He did, it’s called “Understand.” It’s about that couple 30 years later. They love each other, worked out their original issues and are still together. I found that song to be so incredibly lovely because of the thought he put into both songs and that fictional couple. How is that possible, over that bridge of time for him to have found it important to follow up? It’s incredibly sensitive and beautiful, in my very humble opinion.

I fell in love with George’s music all over again this year. Gus, reintroduced me to old favorites I had forgotten about and introduced me to just the loveliest “new” music I had no idea existed. Plus the covers George loved to sing? I’ve been completely blown away at the vast range of music George sang! He was the most incredibly gifted artists I think I have ever been exposed to in my life. There will never, ever be another like George.

One of my very favorite songs of recent years is one called “Round Here.” I particularly love it because it is about George’s parents, David, Andrew and how George became the man he was.

I’m thankful for my journey of the past year. Maybe it wasn’t just because of my internal struggles of finding myself, perhaps my journey was so I could rediscover my love of George and to find my favorite Lovelies. So, when this awful time would come, I wouldn’t be alone and I would have the camaraderie of friends who feel exactly the way I do about this man who touched my heart way back in 1984. I grew up with him and this incredible treasure trove of music. I will grow old still listening, hearing his beautiful voice and remembering all the joy his music has brought me through the years.

George Michael will never, ever be forgotten by his fans, whom he nicknamed his Lovelies/Lovely.. We will introduce him to new generations of Lovelies and  hopefully, his music will carry on until the end of time. There’s always time to discover George Michael. While his mind and body are gone, his music and legacy will live on for years and years to come.

I’ve wept here and there since the news broke. It’s still surreal. Perhaps when they have the funeral, it’ll really hit me that this incredible person is truly gone.

Rest in Peace, George. Sing to God and the Angels and I hope you are now at peace with your beloved Mum and Anselmo. It comforts me to know you are with them now.

You Have Been Loved, George. I hope you know that.

TTFN~ Ro xoxo

 

My very favorite from waaaay back and for always…

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Giving love to my fandoms…

Ahh, yes… Long time, no post from Miss Ro.. again. I wish daily that the status of my first love, General Hospital and my beloved Sonny and Brenda would change but, alas, Brenda and her spectacular jacket have not come back… YET. #ImWaitingWithBaitedBreath #BringBrendaBack

Let’s talk fandoms. Everyone has one or 5 that they belong to right? It’s not just me who has an obsessive compulsive side to them that needs to be a part of something amazing? Right? I hope not! I am part of a few different fanbases now. For sometime, it was exclusively General Hospital/Sonny and Brenda. But, here we are 3 years after Brenda’s last foray into PC happened and I have evolved. Kinda.

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Sonny and Brenda…. Ahhh, the GORGEOUS, lustful and passionate couple I fell in love with 23 years ago. They captured my heart, my imagination and swept me out into the rain and into a powerful love story that most S&Bers still covet today. While things for our couple NEVER end on a high note, there’s always hope! Why is there hope? Because Brenda ALWAYS comes back and then… Like Moths to a Flame, they cannot stay away from each other! I just need Carly to die sometime soon. When you come back, Brenda, bring that leather jacket! Yes, this one!!

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The S&B fanbase is still out there. Unfortunately, because of TPTB writing, particularly for Sonny, has been pretty crummy and in return, it has turned a lot of people off on the character. But, I have a feeling everyone would come together for both Sonny and Brenda if Vanessa Marcil would come and reprise her role as Brenda one day. I pretty much guarantee the S&Bers would flock back to see their girl in action once again. Let’s have Sonny grovel, have a few health check ups and let’s hop on the S&B Bus once again!

P.S. I will blog about Jasper Jacks return on July 29!! (Sssshhh… He helped create the magic & nostalgia we all loved and miss for the 90s. Perhaps his return will be interesting!)

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I think you all know where to find me— I mostly play on Twitter at this point @SonnyandBrenda. Look for new blog posts soon for Jax– I really can’t believe that I am looking forward to seeing him, but I guess it’s really just a bit of nostalgia, baby!

 

Now, my newest love…  Outlander! Look at the pretty:

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Jamie and Claire… Have you not read the books? No? Hmmm… Have you taken a peek at the GORGEOUS show? No? Well, come sit by me and let me tell you a bit about my couple! Outlander was originally a book, written in practice by Diana Gabaldon and was first published 20 years ago on June 1, 1996. It is about Claire Randall, who was a nurse in England during WWII. She was married to Frank Randall and after the war was over, they went on a second honeymoon to the Scottish countryside. Long story short, she goes to a stone circle to pick some little forget-me-not’s she saw the day before. Claire touches one of the huge stones and in moments, she is thrust back in time and soon after, she meets Jamie Fraser. Jamie becomes her husband in 18th century Scotland.  Jamie and Claire are the type of couple that love each other with every fiber of their beings. They are truly connected and their love transcends through time, war, space, Black Jack and Frank Randall. So many things happen to this couple, it’s really quite tremendous what they overcome over the course of 8 big books! We are in season 2 of the Outlander tv show and just got renewed for 2 more seasons. (SO EXCITING!!) It’s not a spoiler but if you, like I was, are looking for an ENDGAME couple, this series of books is for you! There’s a touch of  sci-fi, history, love story, family drama, medical drama, homeopathy and an army of characters who stay with you, even after their part of the story is over— Or is their story over? Will they show up again 5 books later? You should read the novels to find out! Best story I have ever read! Outlander airs on Saturday nights on Starz at 9pm est. You can purchase the Outlander series of books here: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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Okay, so here we are.. I’m digging deep, very deep into my past. Remember how I once wrote I Loved a Hair Band from the 80’s? Welp, this is really in the same vein.

After David Bowie passed away in January, I really started thinking about my musical history. It is pretty varied but most specifically originates from the 80s. I have no shame to say that that decade contains all my favorite music! I like the dance, pop, rock and hair bands from that era. I mostly loved rock and pop bands from England. One person in particular is my very favorite; George Michael. Follow @GeorgeMichael on Twitter and send him a little tweet of love!

I think that we should honor our favorite musicians, actors and everyday people while they are still alive and can appreciate our love and affection. When they die, it is entirely too late.

Music, in particular, gives us so much through our lives. It’s there to excite you, comfort you, fall in love to, break up with, it’s there to make you feel good and remember awesome times with your friends. The people who create our music are given such an amazing gift that they choose to share with all of us. That music becomes the soundtrack to all of our lives. No matter the genre of music you most adore, it is all important.

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Ahh..  George and Andrew Ridgeley were Wham! Now, I loved Wham! a lot prior to George heading off on his own. They were a fun duo from England. Had some great hits: Everything She Wants, I’m Your Man (my personal favorite!), then there’s Last Christmas and Careless Whisper, just to name a few of the goodies from that time period. I loved it all in my young teenhood! My friend, Wendy and I listened to them all the time and then The Final! happened. We didn’t know if we’d see either of those fine lads again… We were very pleasantly surprised with “I knew You Were Waiting”, the duet with Aretha Franklin came out! Who knew what was coming next!

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Faith was what happened to be next….  WOW! That album was amazing at the time! That Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go guy grew up and was hot as hell and in every single way possible! I was 17 at the time when I saw George Michael preform his Faith Tour in Philadelphia. It was August of 1988 when the tour came to our area. Wendy and I saved all of our babysitting money to buy tickets to his show. I remember being on the phone, on and off for an hour prior to when the tix went on sale, got our tickets and the whole venue was sold out within 10 minutes! We felt so lucky and spent the whole summer planning our concert night out! (Oh, to be 17 again!! THIS was a HUGE deal for us!) Life was gloriously fun and completely wide open to pretty much everything! Music was insane back then. Seriously, it was a time where the radio and MTV were EVERYTHING!

Anyway, Faith was George’s debut as a solo artist and he hit it big with that album! It captured so much of my imagination! I loved the naughtiness of I Want Your Sex, the soulful Kissing a Fool really hit home, Faith was so much fun, and to be honest, there’s not a track on that album I skipped over. (Now might be different, in that I look for different songs/emotions– I don’t seek out I Want Your Sex as Wendy and I used to hit repeat/rewind/or put the needle back on the record back in the day!) His music had grown from the Wham! days. This was a bit more mature as a bridge from youthful fun to lusty, adult music to the evolved serious, honest music he wrote later on.

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January of this year found me very retrospective about life, paths chosen and where life will take me next. I’m 45, so I suppose it’s that time in my life to see where I’ve been and to look to the future and what could possibly be next.  So one day back in late January, I popped in George Michael’s Ladies and Gentleman CD and haven’t looked back since. After a week or so, I found myself gravitating less toward the music that I knew on the CD’s, but connecting with the newer songs I had avoided in the past. I was in such a haze of babies, with very little time for myself that I really only had time for a quick fix of what I knew. (That familiarity aspect of music is comforting and certain songs become a “go-to.”) But now, with a little more time on my hands (both kids in school) and morning car rides around town, I dove into the GM stuff I didn’t know.  I slowly became familiar with his velvety voice again and got to know his very complex and extremely thoughtful lyrics. Then, I realized, I DID know this “new” stuff… I never heard it before BUT the adult in me knew it because I have felt some of those emotions, I have experienced love, pain and loss (maybe not on same level, but, love, pain & loss are universal.), and what happened along the way was the realization not only did I grow up, but George did, too.

The music George Michael made after Faith is beautiful. It is mature, sensitive, incredibly honest and complex. His dance music is fun, lusty and beautiful in the upbeat rhythms he creates. George’s music that isn’t the flowery, everyone is always happy kind of beautiful, but, really life sucks beautiful and YOU WILL OVERCOME beautiful.  GM’s music is real, it’s about life. You can connect with it emotionally and feel the heart he has put into his life’s work.  George doesn’t write cheery love songs and he likes to write a lot about his experiences, in both his love songs and his dancing songs. You know what? It’s okay that he doesn’t, life isn’t always happy BUT, in everything he writes, there is always HOPE somewhere included in his lyrics. He always has hope in the future. I love that. When I listen to his music, there’s really a wide range to go to from Wham! days through White Light to choose from. Something for every mood, something for different stages of life.

During this time, I discovered a group. No, not a help group to get me over my fandom obsessions, but a George Michael group. It’s an incredible group of people, run by the coolest person I have come in contact with online for a really long time, Gus. Gus is a WEALTH and treasure trove of information, music, videos and images of George and Wham!. I think I have become a full-on fangirl just for him! Honestly, all joking aside, he’s a cool guy, great admin for the group and a fun person to be friends with. (follow @TheGMCollector on Twitter)

I love the interactions of the people in the GM group & Outlander fanbase, so many of us from all around the world… That’s another thing: When you are part of a fandom, you make friends with people from EVERYWHERE! You learn about them and where they are from, you cultivate friendships where it was really impossible prior to the internet/FB/Twitter.

The GM group is so diverse,  interesting and always puts a smile on my face with everyone’s enthusiasm! (Sometimes I even join in… lol okay, I join in commenting all the time and I loveeeeeeee it! Reminds me of early days with the S&B girls at the forum)

Come and join me there if you’re a George Michael fan or a Wham! fan or both— Or perhaps you are seeking some new music you haven’t heard or maybe you feel like revisiting your inner 80’s self… George Michael group

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So now you all know. I love George Michael, Outlander and Sonny and Brenda. The people I come across daily are interesting, fun and informative. We have fun in all 3 areas of my interest, maybe one or all 3 could be an area of interest for you, too.

TTFN~ Ro xoxox

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