It’s hard not to think of George Michael at the holidays for two reasons: the ubiquitous appearance of Last Christmas by Wham! from every speaker as well as other covers versions and the fact that 2 years ago he passed away on December 25th. Since 1984, this Christmas classic, in name and release timing only, has been a part of our Western traditions with a variety of emotional reactions. Some run out of a department store screaming. Some spend an extra four minutes browsing and shopping.
My 5-year old son has taken a strong liking to it this year, singing it to himself as well as frequently requesting it on Spotify. There’s something so adorable about a little kid, innocently singing the chorus with a slight lisp, years before they have the faintest idea about what heartbreak means or feels like. In fact, he asked his older sister, “what does ‘gave you my heart’ mean”? She replied, “It’s like you have a favorite ring and you give it to someone and they decide to give it to someone else…” Oh, if it were that simple…
I hear folks mention how ironic it was that George Michael passed on Christmas day. Why? Because he wrote a song called Last Christmas? It wouldn’t be any more ironic dying on July 4th because he wrote a song called Freedom and he actually wrote two of those. I do find it sad though and every time I hear one of his songs now, I can clearly hear the melancholy behind those pop hooks.
There’s another Christmas song that George wrote called December Song (I Dreamed Of Christmas) that he put out in 2010. It is hauntingly beautiful and I would rather hear this one more often.