Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Songoftheday 7/4/17 - I won't let you down I will not give you up, gotta have some faith in the sound it's the one good thing that I've got...

"Freedom '90" - George Michael
from the album Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #8 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's song of the day is by the late great George Michael, who had returned with his second album after disbanding Wham! to land a #1 pop hit in the U.S. with the poignant and thoughtful ballad "Praying For Time". The second single brightened things up quite a bit, and served as a sort of catharsis about leaving his teen idol days behind. In the fall of 1985, Wham! had a top-10 pop hit with "Freedom", and this time out he again titled a single "Freedom" (which has come to be known as "Freedom '90"), a totally different song altogether. Against a bouncy piano backdrop, George sings like he's speaking to us, letting us know he needs to grow up and out and wants us to come along for the ride. Instead of appearing in the music video, he enlisted supermodels Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and more lipsynching to the track, while his leather jacket, guitar, and jukebox from the "Faith" video gets obliterated. A simple premise (and one that Bryan Ferry did before), but the combination of the meaning of the lyrics and the visuals makes this video one of my personal favorites of all time still to this day...


"Freedom '90" became George's second top ten hit from Listen Without Prejudice in December of 1990. The song also climbed to #27 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary radio chart, while the remixes on the 12"/CD single helped it up to #16 on their Dance Club Play list. Internationally, the single went to #1 in Canada, and reached the top 40 in New Zealand (#13), the Netherlands (#15), Ireland (#17), Australia (#18), Sweden (#20), France (#23), Austria (#25), and his native Britain (#28), where it was the third single released after "Waiting For That Day".

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Here's George performing the song live on MTV in 1991...


...and live in a much larger venue, Wembley Arena for the Princess' Trust concert in 1993...


In 1996, another singer who fled the "boy-band" label, Robbie Williams, covered "Freedom" as his first single after departing Take That, and in the UK, he climbed all the way to #2 (much better than George's original did there)...


That same year, George appeared on MTV Unplugged, and included "Freedom '90" in his set...


Back to him in concert in 2008...


In October of 2016, two months before George's death, the new class of models came together to make a new lipsync video for "Freedom"...


And lastly, George's triumphant performance of the song at the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics in London...


Up tomorrow: An acappella album leftover from a indie-folk singer gets a club makeover for a blue-plate special hit.

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