Category: red hot + dance

On this day in music history: June 1, 1992 – “Too Funky” by George Michael is released. Written and produced by George Michael, it is the fourteenth single release for the singer, songwriter and producer from Bushey, Hertsfordshire, UK. Following the disappointing sales “Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1”, and locked in a legal battle with Sony Music, George Michael scraps the planned follow up album. Instead, the musician donates three of the songs to a compilation titled “Red Hot + Dance”. Assembled by the Red Hot Organization, the royalties generated by the album, go to raise money and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS. One of the new songs Michael contributes is titled “Too Funky”. Recorded in 1990, the song mirrors its predecessor “I Want Your Sex”, with one partner making a plea to another to have sex. “Funky” features samples of dialogue from “The Graduate”, with actress Anne Bancroft stating “I am not trying to seduce you… Would you like me to seduce you? Is that what you’re trying to tell me?”. It also cleverly incorporates a synth hook from Jocelyn Brown’s club classic “Somebody Else’s Guy”. For the music video, Michael hires French fashion designer Thierry Mugler to design the clothing and direct. Known for his highly theatrical fashion shows, the concept is to recreate one of Mugler’s shows for the clip. A who’s who of top fashion models appear in the video including Eva Herzigova, Linda Evangelista, Nadja Auermann, Emma Sjöberg, Estelle Hallyday, Shana Zadrick, Tyra Banks and Beverly Peele. Performance artists Joey Arias and Lypsinka make appearances, and actresses Julie Newmar (the original Catwoman from the Batman TV series) and Rossy de Palma. The then fifty nine year old Newmar’s appearance stands out, by a sequence of her bursting out from the backstage, then prowling the runway seductively in a tight fitting black cat suit. However, things do not go as planned, when the pair clash over the vision each has for it. After three days of filming, Mugler has only come up with a minute’s worth of usable footage. Having spent nearly a million dollars of his own money, George takes the reigns, and kicks Mugler off of the video shoot, finishing it himself. Not originally intending to appear in it, “Too Funky” features a few brief shots of the singer sitting behind the camera. Due to Mugler’s dismissal, the video ends with the “Directed by ?” credit, making reference to the off camera drama. “Too Funky” (b/w the non album track “Crazyman Dance”) peaks at #4 on the UK singles chart and #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 8, 1992. Aside from the “Five Live” EP recorded with Queen at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert, “Funky” is the last new music from George Michael for nearly four years, until the release of the single “Jesus To A Child” and the album “Older” in 1996.

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