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29 July 2022, 16:48
'Faith' and its accompanying 1987 album shot George Michael into global superstardom.
It was likely because George's debut solo album Faith was a truer representation of his artistry and image.
Long gone were the bubblegum colours and bouncy dance moves after his split from Wham! and Andrew Ridgeley.
In were leather jackets, denim jeans, a grown-up, meaningful, and provocatively sexual style.
With the exception of one song ('Look at Your Hands' which he co-wrote with David Austin) George wrote every song on the album and even produced the track, playing a range of instruments too.
The lyrics came straight from his soul, which resulted in some of the most introspective songs of his career.
But because he was opening up about his feelings and personal relationships, this also made him a target for media scrutiny about his sex life and sexuality.
And as we later found out, George was a gay man. But he was never given the opportunity to come out in his own time.
As he was promoting the Faith tour in 1988, one interviewer even disgustingly confronted him about his sexuality completely out of the blue.
Jetting into a secret location in Australia for a press junket to promote the tour down under, local journalist Jeff McMullen opened the interview in the rudest way possible.
"George. Are you gay?" he says to the 24-year-old singer as more of a statement than a question.
Evidently gobsmacked by the audacity of the interviewer, George visibly looks taken aback and responds swiftly by saying: "Am I gay? That's a pretty direct first question..."
What came next was likely a surprise to McMullen, who clearly attempted to antagonise or embarrass George.
Instead, he calmly answers the question without becoming too flustered, or angry that the question was even being asked.
"I've never said 'no', I've never said 'yes' - but no I'm not" he confidently explains.
And what comes next is arguably one of the most important statements George has ever made.
"The main thing I want to express is that I don't think it's anybody's business" he declares.
It wouldn't be until ten years later that George would come out and publicly announce he was gay.
So he was still disguising his true sexuality - at least in the media - as public perceptions of gay men were incredibly different.
Given his overtly sexual image, the supermodels he frequently cavorted with in his music videos, and the sheer amount of female fans he had pining after him, he probably felt it was the wrong time to speak his truth.
Sadly, it likely would've damaged his burgeoning solo career at that time too.
So understandably he wanted to keep his private life private. But the interviewer McMullen kept prying at any given opportunity.
The interview goes on to Boy George's accusations of George being gay: "So you were a bit upset that he called you gay?"
"No, I wasn't upset that he thought I was gay. I've had enough people accuse me of various things."
McMullen clearly had a chip on his shoulder when it came to George and really wanted to make his point in what we can see how are a bias and unbalanced interview.
But because George expressed a newfound sexual liberation in his music - with songs like 'I Want Your Sex' - the interviewer thought it was fair game to dig into him.
What he was faced with however, was an intelligent, measured, and perhaps shy young man, with whom he undoubtedly misjudged as an overly confident air-headed sex symbol.
After trying to test George with questions about rumoured substance abuse, the conversation finally shifts on toward his blossoming solo career as one of the world's most successful pop stars.
It was sad though that his music was often overshadowed by the public perception of his private life.
Despite the media scrutiny of George's life behind closed doors, it didn't stop his rise to mega stardom.
Faith became one of the best-selling albums of all time with four number one singles in 'Faith', 'Father Figure', 'One More Try', and 'Monkey'.
The album also won numerous Grammy Awards and sold over 25 million copies worldwide.
Up until he decided to announce to the world that he was gay, and in the face of all the disrespectful questions he'd face, George let his incredible music do the talking.
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