In 1990, George Michael risked throwing his immense fame away for the sake of his artistry. He was tired of being a commodity, and instead of merely complaining, he actually did something about it. Coming off the phenomenal global success of his solo debut Faith, he recorded a mostly downcast, singer-songwriter album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, refused to appear in any of its videos, and threatened to never let himself be photographed again. So much of his ethos at the time is documented in the single “Freedom ’90”:
I think there’s something you should know
I think it’s time I told you so
There’s something deep inside of me
There’s someone else I’ve got to be
Take back your picture in a frame
Take back your singing in the rain I just hope you understand
Sometimes the clothes do not make the man
Why one of the biggest stars of the ’80s would turn his back on superstardom and the audacity such a move took will be explored in George Michael: Freedom, a documentary premiering Saturday, October 21 on Showtime. Variety reports that this is an authorized doc narrated by Michael and as such is his “final work” completed before his untimely death last year.
Additionally, says Variety:
The feature also includes the original five supermodels from his “Freedom! ’90” video — Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patitz, and Linda Evangelista — who discuss their experiences on making the music video. Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Ricky Gervais, Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, Tracey Emin, Liam Gallagher, Mary J. Blige, Jean Paul Gaultier, James Corden, and Tony Bennett are also interviewed.
This sounds completely fascinating. Couldn’t be more excited. Might as well rewatch the “Freedom ’90” video. George’s absence from this didn’t prevent it from becoming frame after frame of iconography—quite the contrary, actually.