The Story of... 'A Different Corner' by George Michael

13 August 2021, 17:13

The Story of... 'A Different Corner' by George Michael
The Story of... 'A Different Corner' by George Michael. Picture: Epic/Columbia

By Tom Eames

It was one of George Michael's biggest hits, and was an early indication of the genius songwriting ability of the Wham! star in the 1980s.

It remains one of George's most popular songs, but did you know its backstory and how well it performed upon release?

Find out what chart records it broke, and what inspired George to write it in the first place - here's all you need to know about the classic ballad.

  1. Who wrote 'A Different Corner'?

    George Michael
    George Michael. Picture: Getty

    George Michael wrote and produced the song while he was still a member of pop duo Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley.

    Although the song is included on Wham!'s album Music from the Edge of Heaven (in Japan and America), and their compilation The Final, the single was credited to George alone.

    As it was his first credited solo single in the US, it paved the way for his debut album Faith to get made a few years later.

  2. What inspired the song?

    Speaking in 2014, George said: "I think you can tell that 'A Different Corner' is genuinely the sound of a man who's heart's been broken.

    "I was 19 and the best critique I ever heard of that song was from a friend of mine who said, 'It's beautiful, pathetic, but beautiful.'"

    A note on the back sleeve states: "This record is dedicated to a memory."

    Read more: George Michael’s isolated a cappella vocals from Careless Whisper are spine-tingling

    George said of making the song: “I felt like sh*t. I went in and recorded exactly the way I felt, and that’s the way it sounds. It was partly Wham! and partly the end of a relationship.

    "It was the farthest I’d ever fallen, and in a very short period of time. I had to get rid of it somehow, I had to write about it. That’s a really perverse side that I’m sure a lot of writers have -‘I feel like sh*t, but maybe I’ll get a good song out of it.’”

    According to George, the song took around 14 hours to write and record from beginning to end.

  3. How did it perform in the charts?

    George became the first solo act ever to score number ones with their first two singles (this and 'Careless Whisper').

    It was also the first British number 1 hit that featured an artist writing, singing, arranging, producing, and playing all the instruments on the song. In the US, it reached number 7.

  4. Who else has covered it?

    Coldplay singer Chris Martin sang it in tribute to George at the BRIT Awards in 2017, a few months after George's death.

    Read more: Unforgettable moment George Michael joined Chris Martin for duet of 'A Different Corner' two months after his death

    The performance was a duet of sorts, featuring footage of George's Symphonica show. A new version was recorded by Martin for the George documentary Freedom later that year.