100 Days Project

Michael: Saving the languishing lyrical gems of modern pop

My aim is to trawl through my memory, my "record collection" and quotation references to unearth great pop poetry, drop it in, shine it up, make a comment or two as to its origin and personal impact. Enlighten? Hmm. Entertain, amuse, I hope. 100 times.

Day 11:

I Want Your What?

That image is the cover of the NME of June 20th, 1987. George Michael, for it is he, in a double page spread (ooer) entitled "Tart With a Heart" defends/discusses his banned single, "I Want Your Sex". No network in Britain would air the raunchy vid (where he wrote in lipstick on the rather curvaceous back of model Kathy Jeung, his then girlfriend) and the single with its squirty sex sounds was just too much for the state broadcaster and others. We'd been through it all three years prior when Frankie's "Relax" got banned at the behest of the bearded and frankly awful Radio One DJ Mike Read. Straight to #1 it went; George managed #3 in the UK and #2 in the US, where the lack of an over-arching body, so to speak, for the music industry meant he got some airplay and some networks broadcast the vid. "Parts of the country [USA] think I'm the anti-Christ," he says in the interview.

27 years hence, as is often the way, you kinda wonder what all the fuss was about. AIDS was A Big Threat, and the monogamy theme that ran through Michael's first real solo effort (he was still Wham!-tied with "Carless Whisper" and "A Different Corner") was meant to balance the lusty nature of the whole affair.

The fact that "serious" music papers like the NME gave him 7 columns when they wouldn't normally give him the time of day shows how smart a career move it was, if nothing else. Less smart were some of his later career moves - drving stoned through shop windows in Hampstead, glory-holing with undercover cops in LA- but as a first single from a first solo album, it was a pretty brave move.

He says in the interview, bristling at the British ban, "I don't see how the record can go to Number One now". Well, he came close, if you'll pardon the pun.

The lyrics? OMG -not a patch oin Miley or Kanye or Beyonc-eh!

"Sometime you think you're gonna get it
But you don't and that's just the way it goes"

Not exactly rock out with your cock out, is it...

Dear old George; I've got the picture sleeve 7" single and just to hear it its vinyl insides crackle takes you back a long time. No You Tube, no iPhones, no internet...just a groundswell of opinion that grew tumescent enough to put George just where he needed to be.

As Frankie themselves said, "shooting stars never stop, even when they reach the top."

Oily lil devil.