The Story of... 'Heal the Pain' by George Michael

22 November 2019, 14:22 | Updated: 22 November 2019, 14:52

Heal the Pain
Heal the Pain. Picture: Sony

'Heal the Pain' is one of George Michael's most stunning songs, and it plays a big part in the Last Christmas movie soundtrack.

The ballad features prominently in several scenes in the festive romcom starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, which features music by the late icon.

Read more: Why the Last Christmas movie's homeless theme was important to George Michael

But what inspired the song and when was it released? Here's all the important facts you need:

  1. When did George Michael write it?

    George Michael wrote this song for his 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1.

    It was the fourth of five singles taken from the album.

  2. What is the song about and what inspired it?

    George Michael and Paul McCartney in 2005 at Live 8
    George Michael and Paul McCartney in 2005 at Live 8. Picture: Getty

    'Heal the Pain' sees George singing to a potential lover that their partner has not been treating them the way they deserve, and that he can help make things better.

    An acoustic guitar-based love song, the song was meant as a homage of sorts to Sir Paul McCartney and his style of songwriting.

    “I was big into Abbey Road and Revolver,” George said.

    “I made one record to show how much I loved Lennon ['Praying for Time'], I made another record to show how much I loved McCartney ['Heal the Pain']."

  3. Paul McCartney recorded a duet version with George

    In 2005, it was announced that George would be recording a version of the track with Sir Paul, but he did not know what he was going to do with it.

    The track was eventually added to his 2006 greatest hits collection Twenty Five.

    Read more: George Michael's version of 'Heal the Pain' with Paul McCartney is an underrated gem

    Part of the recording process was later seen in the documentary movie Freedom, where George explained that the Listen Without Prejudice album was partly inspired by The Beatles.

    "I didn’t dream McCartney would ever sing it. And actually when he sings it, it sounds like a Paul McCartney record!”

  4. How did it perform in the charts?

    Amazingly, it wasn't one of George's biggest hits - only reaching number 31 in the UK in 1991.

    However, it went on to become one of the star's most popular songs, and he would perform it live on several occasions.

  5. How is it used in Last Christmas?

    Spoilers ahead!

    Young Kate (played by Madison Ingoldsby) sings the ballad in a choir in Yugoslavia in 1999. Her rendition then morphs into a jukebox play of the original song in 2017 London. 

    The full George Michael version later plays on the soundtrack, and Emilia Clarke also sings 'Heal the Pain' herself. 

Sony Music has unveiled the soundtrack album to accompany Universal Pictures’ holiday romance, Last Christmas, inspired by the music of George Michael and Wham!, directed by Paul Feig, co-written by Emma Thompson. The film stars Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh and Thompson.

Last Christmas, the soundtrack album, features three fabulous Wham! songs including ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘Everything She Wants’ as well as 12 of George Michael’s best loved tracks from his solo years.

The soundtrack album is OUT NOW on CD/LP/STREAM.