Alongside Tony Blackburn, The Smiths frontman and the late singer debated the merits of the iconic band
One of the scant few cheery aspects that come with the passing of a true great in the music world is the collective dip we take into the archives to rediscover what made the departed artist so great in the first place. And George Michael, who passed away on Christmas Day aged 53, is no exception.
We’ve already delighted in hearing about his secret generosity to charity, laughed all over again at his cameo in Ricky Gervais’ Extras, and perhaps even shed a tear while revisiting his extensive back catalogue. Another archive clip has now resurfaced as we continue to remember George Michael, with his appearance on the ’80s music panel show, Eight Days A Week, taking on a new lease of life in the wake of Sunday’s sad news.
Recorded at a truly rich time for British pop and indie music – Wham! had just had their song ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ shoot up the singles charts in its first week, while The Smiths had just released ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’ – this edition of Eight Days A Week (which aired on May 25 1984) saw the “wonderfully varied” panel discuss, among other things, Everything But The Girl’s debut album ‘Eden’ and the long-forgotten breakdance-themed movie Breakin‘.
But the episode took an interesting turn when a book on Joy Division – written primarily by Mark Johnson (An Ideal for Living: A History of Joy Division) – was put forward as the next topic for critical dissection. While Morrissey praised the band’s legacy in his own, well, Morrissey way (he prefaced his appraisal with the revelation “Joy Division were one group that I really didn’t take to too much… but I can now completely appreciate their appeal”), the panel was taken aback somewhat by George Michael’s surprising revelation that, yes, he was indeed a Joy Division fan.
“I do like them, yeah,” Michael says, while admitting he didn’t finish An Ideal for Living as he found former NME scribe Paul Morley’s contributions in particular to be “very, very pretentious… in many areas.”
“I actually really liked Joy Division, particularly their second album ‘Closer’,” he continues. “The second side of ‘Closer’ is just one of my favourite albums – it’s just beautiful.”
Watch the full Eight Days A Week episode below – the Joy Division discussion begins at 13:21.