In between cursing myself for not having an NBA TV cable package and watching Season 7 of “Scrubs” for the 240th time, I turned to YouTube to pass the time. I somehow stumbled upon “A Different Story”, the documentary about the life and career of British superstar George Michael. As much as George has made some incredibly stupid decisions in his life, most of which have to do with getting behind the wheel of a car stoned off his gourd, you can’t deny the man’s talent, and you also can’t deny the fact that, despite his success, he’s had a rough go at life sometimes. Imagine being a widower by your 30th birthday. That alone would make some people crack.
At any rate, watching the documentary took me back to the beginning of 1989, at the height of George’s solo success. At that year’s American Music Awards ceremony, George took home three awards: Favorite Male Artist in the Pop/Rock and Soul/R&B categories, and Favorite Soul/R&B Album for Faith. While I’m sure there are some folks out there who might question George’s R&B credentials, let me neutralize your thinking with facts. Faith became the first album by a white solo artist to hit the top of Billboard’s R&B listings, and the album spun off four Top 20 R&B singles-”Hard Day”, “Father Figure”, “Monkey”, and the #1 smash “One More Try”. There was a small backlash against George’s award win (particularly from Gladys Knight, who’s spotted looking none too thrilled in the below clip-maybe she was salty because Faith beat out her All Our Love in the Soul/R&B album category), and George has mentioned being disheartened by that reaction in interviews before.
Another reason this is a cool clip-you get to see a coherent Paula Abdul.
Faith is finally getting the reissue treatment at the end of this month-about time, I say. It’s one of the Eighties’ most important pop albums, and as much as you can call someone who’s sold a bajillion records underrated, George probably deserves more props as a singer and a songwriter.