25 years ago this week, America was getting its first taste of George Michael’s Faith, which not only delivered 6 hit singles and snagged the Grammy for Album of the Year, but also unleashed the hottest male pop star of the 80s.
And yes, Michael had been famous since 1984, when his group Wham! taught the world to dance with “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Freedom” and taught it to cry with “Careless Whisper.” But it wasn’t until Faith that he truly became a superstar.
If you’re too young to remember Michael’s heyday, then you have to understand: He was everything. In his prime he was easily as popular as Michael Jackson and Madonna, because he combined excellent musicianship with scorching hotness.
As a young lad who didn’t quite understand my urges, I just knew I wanted to look at George Michael all the time. And years later, when he finally came out, I felt like I’d won seven lotteries at once.
So let’s celebrate the Hottest Era of George! We begin, of course, with “I Want Your Sex,” Faith’s racy first single. It’s not my favorite George Michael song, but oh lord, that video! Even at eight years old, how could I not feel feelings when I saw images like these?
But as hot as these pictures are, they can’t capture Michael’s true sexiness. That was only obvious when he was in motion. Like, for instance, when he shook his jean-covered ass in the video for “Faith:”
I can see the campy gay appeal of his image, but at the same time, it’s also masculine and confident and mysterious. It’s almost like George is one of the super-masculine archetypes from The Village People, only instead of the Jokily Butch Biker, he’s the Biker Who Isn’t Aggressively Making Him Fun of Himself, So He’s Actually Sexy and Not Just a Comment on Sexiness. (But… you know. Less wordy.)
Faith also delivered romantic ballads like “Father Figure” and “One More Try,” which just cemented Michael’s superstar power. However, this level of success freaked him out, and by the time he released his next album, he was writing songs about how much he hated his sexy image. (He basically spent the rest of his career either running from his success or ruining it.) But let’s not worry about what came later. Let’s just enjoy what happened then.
And just for fun, let’s have one more tasteful shot of George’s butt!
Previously: When Marky Mark made me gay
Mark Blankenship thinks it would be nice… if he could touch your body. He tweets as @IAmBlankenship.