George Michael - Overrated or what?

So i heard a new record by George Michael recently and it got me thinking…

Why is he such a big star exactly? I mean seriously, this isn’t just a ‘i hate xyz’s music so everybody that disagrees must be stupid’ type thread. Am i completely wrong here or has his solo career not been very very average? And yet he seems to be considered like a real superstar up there with the likes of Madonna, Elton John etc.

Again, nothing to do with individual tastes, i don’t care for most of Madonna’s music either but i don’t dispute her status as her career justifies it i think. But George? Really? Like one half decent song and then a lot of absolute drivel. Again, not just my opinion, this stuff never seems to chart well so obviously the record buying public agree.

So i ask you dopers, why is he such a huge star exactly? Am i missing something?

NB: Firstly let me be clear, nothing personal against the guy, i’m sure he’s very nice :smiley: . Secondly, as you can see, i’m from the UK so is this maybe a US vs UK disparity? He does seem to have sold a lot of records according to wiki but i’m not sure how that breaks down between his solo and wham careers?

I’m not sure if he’s still considered a big star in the UK, but AFAIK he hasn’t really done very well in the US since some of his earlier solo stuff–perhaps the late 80’s? We’re always entertained to see his latest shenanigans, but I wouldn’t say he’s a big star any more. I didn’t even know he was still recording music, but that doesn’t mean much, since I am pretty clueless about the current music scene.

Don’t know about his recent stuff, but I absolutely love his 80s and early 90s stuff. For soulful ballads, you can’t get much better than “One More Try” and “Father Figure”. And “Freedom '90” hasn’t lost its jam effect.

He isn’t overrated IMHO.

Kinda thought some in UK held him sorta = Elton John, maybe from reading about their occasional bickering? Elton John of course much > GM.

Oh come on, people!

George Michael - first with Wham!, then as a solo artist, is Britain’s last pop-soul singer/songwriter of considerable note - which is why he’s compared with Elton John so often. Go back and listen to some of the old Wham! stuff, which granted is lyrically twee, but his voice and the songs are top notch. Wham! also broke America, which very few 80s British acts did - Duran Duran and Culture Club were arguably bigger, but I’d say Wham! lasted longer than CC in the States.

And then, at the top of their commercial power, Wham! broke up. Why not milk it for all it’s worth? Because GM is an artist and wanted to grow, and would never break out of the boy band cheese mode (see YouTube for some early TOTP Wham! performances… they were never going to live that down). So he comes out with “A Different Corner” and flips the script completely. It’s a mature, adult GM, not the ponce with the day-glo socks and tight shorts.

“Faith” came out in '89 or '90 and was massive… I’m fairly certain it was the top selling album in the UK and US that year. “I Want Your Sex” was one of the first songs to explicitly talk about safe sex, brought a sea of controversy for the song and the video, and also sold bucketloads. Dana Carvey started parodying him on SNL. It would be fair to say he was probably the biggest male solo artist in 1990.

Then he got into the argument with Sony and his output slowed - I know he had the album Listen Without Prejudice a few years later, but basically he made either a very courageous or very stupid career move - because it silenced him at a time when he could have become this generation’s Elton John in terms of sales and output. Of course, there’s the incident in the bathroom in LA and getting busted for drugs, which puts him in the spotlight more than his music. But he’s an incredible talent. When you think about the male singer/songwriters from Blighty that get attention in the States, Elton and George are much closer in talent than Robbie Williams.

(I do think that Elton has an edge because he is an instrumentalist. Don’t think George plays an instrument - not at a level of note, anyway.)

IMO, the guy’s a bona fide musical heavyweight.

I always regarded him as a lightweight pretty boy pop star…until he released Older, that is. This album is for the more (ahem) mature among us – given the nature of the music which leans toward jazz, bossa nova and sixties/seventies-style blues – and I was amazed to discover that he not only wrote all the songs on this album but arranged them and played virtually all of the instruments as well (the exceptions being two songs in which someone else played the saxophone, (IIRC)).

I had no idea he was capable of this type of musicality and it has colored my perception of him greatly ever since. The album didn’t do all that well – as it’s a marked departure from his usual style of music and didn’t resonate with his fan base – but it’s not only my favorite George Michael album, it’s one of my favorite albums period.

He’s truly a gifted guy, pot and traffic difficulties notwithstanding. :smiley:

He sucks.

Jazz is all there is.

Sorry too many beers tonight

The man has one of the finest voices I’ve ever heard. For all the metal and hard rock I listen to I still have my George Michael/Wham! collection. As far as singing, he’s the real deal. Writing? That’s more in the ear of the beholder.

Agreed that he’s not to my usual musical taste, but he is a tremendous talent with an amazing, soulful, versatile voice. “Careless Whisper” by Wham is sexy as hell after all these years.

I always thought his talent for writing lyrics made him stand out above his contemporaries in his genre. For that reason alone I consider him great, but he is also just a lot of fun, and seems like a pretty okay guy, too. He’s still good friends with Andrew Ridgeley, for one thing.

In the US: His solo album Faith had four #1 singles and is now up to 10 million copies sold. That’s rarefied air up there. And this was after already being a star with Wham!

I think the man is pretty talented.
It isn’t my cup of tea, but he is a musical talent.
Now don’t get me started on Robbie Williams though.
How on earth can that guy have a career?

As a guy with zero schooling in music theory, the best way I can describe his work is that he consistently achieves a real musical depth that very few other artists ever reach. While I don’t think I’ve ever considered myself a GM fan, I also can’t think of any of his songs that I don’t like (except maybe “Last Christmas,” but that’s probably because it gets overplayed by bad karaoke singers every year here).

Not my cup o’ tea, but that doesn’t make him a non-talent. In fact, back in the 80s I really liked him as far as dance music went. The whole gay thing trashed my plans to cross the Atlantic to stalk him for hot sex, but I still think he counts, musically-speaking.


Kalhoun (who worships at the altar of Jimi Hendrix but also has a bad case of happy feet)

Can’t you just start singing “sex is natural. sex is fun. sex is best when it’s one. on. one” without even trying?

There’s a rare few who have had as many big hits and catchy tunes as him, and I never write that off.

What makes pretty boy pop inferior to jazz, bossa nova and sixties/seventies style blues?

I didn’t think much about him until he released Listen Without Prejudice. I bought it the day I heard about it, solely based on the title. Good thing it was at least a half-decent album. :slight_smile:

The only thing I’ve heard about him since *Listen Without Prejuduce * came out, which, by the way, I think is a great album, is that he has a habit of falling asleep in his car at stoplights with booze and weed in his system. I didn’t even know he had another album.

I might have to buy Older on iTunes…

+1 - he understands good songcraft. He has a great voice. He produced Faith and probably most subsequent stuff - and at the time, some of his recording approaches where innovative - how he treated vocals, the arrangements, etc.

He’s a flake who frittered away his career, but he’s the real deal music-wise…

He has the power and range of Freddie Mercury, which is why Queen asked him to be the new lead singer when Freddie took a dirt nap. Michael reportedly refused because he didn’t want to be considered the “new Freddie”. While his early music with Wham! was bubblegum pop, his talent shown through the lyrics right away, as did Daryl Hall’s voice with Hall & Oates. There are any number of huge talents who started out in lame groups, which is probably worthy of a thread of its own.