Number Ones: #106


  • GEORGE MICHAEL I Want Your Sex (Epic)
  • Week Ending 11th July 1987
  • 2 Weeks At No.1


Ah, dear Reader….do you remember when everyone (outside of his inner circle, that is) thought George Michael was straight? Who knew, eh?

With his first fully-solo release since the official disbanding of Wham!, he brought his impregnable UK chart run of Top 2 hits (dating all the way back to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go in 1984) to a juddering halt by making a record that (daytime) Radio wouldn’t play, and Top Of The Pops would only refer to in a range of bizarre and hilarious ways (“I Want”, “I Want Your”) during their chart rundowns.

Perhaps it was something he just felt he had to do. Maybe it was something he thought he could get away with; his commercial star shining so brightly at that point, that not even being shunned (or banned) by the mainstream radio and TV stations would prevent his winning streak continuing unabated. Or maybe he planned on doing a Relax….

Although few people actually got to hear it, everyone was aware of I Want Your Sex‘s existence. Yog helpfully popped up on a special TV interview with Jonathan Ross to further plug his monogamy-praising opus, and indulge in some nudge-nudge wink-wink exchanges about seven inches and twelve inches. He did seem a bit embarrassed by it all, though.

No need, really, as for all its blatant Prince influence the track’s far from cringeworthy. It’s notable, however, that “Rhythm 1″ – or the 7” single mix – was never included on a George Michael album or compilation by itself. So it’s possible he subsequently regretted it, or its status as an under-performing and slightly notorious single within his catalogue.

(It did appear on two compilations that summer; CBS/WEA/RCA’s latest volume of The Hits Album, HITS 6, and more strangely the soundtrack for Beverly Hills Cop II. Quite what an MCA-licensed project was doing with the rather naughty single from CBS’s biggest star of the moment is anyone’s guess, but there you go).

The upshot of …Sex‘s perceived inappropriateness for daytime consumption was that some stations, including Capital Radio in London, would turn to its flipside for comfort. An absolute gem entitled Hard Day, which came on like a sequel to Battlestations from the final Wham! EP The Edge Of Heaven. The Prince effect was on display again, George pitch-shifting his vocals to create a female alter-ego much as his Royal Purpleness had done on the Sign O The Times set a few months earlier.

(A curious and genuinely unintentional piece of trivia from my personal charts – as I Want Your Sex ruled my Top 40, Prince was having an orgasm and seeing what silence looked like in If I Was Your Girlfriend at #2, while Terence Trent D’Arby swooned around with the erotically-charged Wishing Well at #3. Honestly, it was all a coincidence!).

In truth, I Want Your Sex wouldn’t have made my #1 on its own steam; the presence of Hard Day made it more likely, and then purchasing the cassingle (from the Virgin Megastore in Tottenham Court Road…it had to be Virgin didn’t it?) exposed me to the full 13-minute glory of the Monogamy Mix.

Split into three sections that segued into each other, Rhythm 1 concluded on the “c-c-c-c-come on!” hard ending of the 7″, before things got horny with the brassy Rhythm 2 (subtitled Brass In Love), until the tempo and tone changed significantly with Rhythm 3 (A Last Request).  Some naff lyrics about getting “those big bad car keys out of your hands” aside, it was almost Careless Whisper-esque in its wine bar soul stylings. Add in Hard Day, and that’s almost 20 minutes of music. Half an album! For 1.99!!

All of this was enough to put I Want Your Sex on top for a fortnight, George’s second solo #1 on my charts from three attempts.






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