The Story of... 'Father Figure' by George Michael

28 November 2018, 15:21 | Updated: 19 January 2021, 09:14

George Michael
Picture: Columbia

By Tom Eames

It's one of the former Wham! singer's best ever songs, but dare we say... a little underrated?

George Michael's seductive track was one of his first solo singles, but what was it actually about and who starred in the music video with him?

Here's all the big facts about 'Father Figure':

  1. Who wrote 'Father Figure'?

    George Michael wrote and produced this track by himself, and it was recorded for his debut solo album Faith, released in 1987.

  2. 'Father Figure' meaning: What is the song about?

    'Father Figure' meaning: What is the song about?
    'Father Figure' meaning: What is the song about? Picture: YouTube

    George Michael didn't ever specifically reveal what 'Father Figure' was about, but a lot can be gleaned from its lyrics.

    A love song, it features the narrator desperately wanting to be in a close and sexual relationship with someone they admire, and to also look after and be their 'father figure' of some kind.

    George had yet to come out as a gay man when the song was released, but he later said that by this point he was aware that he was attracted to men, both physically and emotionally.

    However, he still found himself to be the source of attraction to many women, including a certain Princess Diana. He later said: “She was very like a lot of women that have been attracted to me in my life because they see something non-threatening.”

    “I think we clicked in a way that was a little bit intangible, and it probably had probably more to do with our up bringing than anything else. Maybe because I take care of my sisters and I’m so protective of my sisters, women seem to smell that. So women who had a hard time growing up... when I was still sleeping with women, my God, it was absolutely all of the time.”

    In the song, George is searching for something "sacred" in a sexual partner, and hopes that it will protect both of them.

    He also mentions something illegal, either literally or in the minds of others, singing “I have had enough of crime and "Sometimes love can be mistaken for a crime.” This potentially alludes to the general feeling towards gay people back in the 1980s, plus gay relationships were still illegal in many parts of the world (and still is).

    The line “Put your tiny hand in mine" is particularly controversial. George was only 24 at the time, but he had a masculine image that made him seem far more mature than he was.

    Whoever he was singing to, he wants to play the father or "teacher" role and act out the figure that Princess Diana and other women, men and young fans wanted him to be. He wanted to be their protector.

  3. How did it perform in the charts?

    The sensual anthem was a number one hit in the US in 1988, his sixth in total at the time (including three with Wham!).

    In the UK, it peaked at 11, making it the first time he didn't reach the top 10.

  4. 'Father Figure' music video: Who starred in it?

    George Michael - Father Figure (Remastered) (Official Video)

    The video starred model Tania Coleridge as George's love interest, and portrayed the song as being about a heterosexual relationship.

    George played a taxi driver in the video, which was directed by George and Andy Morahan, won 'Best Direction of a Video' at the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards.

    Morahan had previously directed videos for Wham!'s 'Last Christmas' and 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go' and the Pet Shop Boys' 'West End Girls' among others.

  5. Who has covered the song?

    LL Cool J - Father

    The song has been covered by Tori Amos, Ace Young and the cast of Glee among others.

    It has also been sampled by a number of artists, including on LL Cool J's semi-autobiographical song 'Father'.