Last Christmas

Thirty two years ago “Last Christmas” by Wham was playing on every radio and the video clip often passed on TV. We loved to watch it – it was colourful and happy, but with a nostalgic feeling of a lost love. All the ingredients for success! And the scenery was magnificent.

You may remember the story: as the song begins, we can see a house on a snowy environment and a group of young people arriving – one of them is George Michael and he has his arm around a blonde girl. Among the friends who greet them there is a very pretty, dark haired girl who looks at him in a special way – and he looks at her in such a way that we immediately understand she is the one he gave his heart to “last Christmas” – but we can see she is now with one of his friends, played by Andrew Ridgeley, the other component of Wham.

We understand there was some story between those two and in the video clip we can see them exchange glances, being embarrassed when they come face to face with each other, and particularly George Michael’s character looking at her longingly when she hugs or kisses her new lover. And in the song, although he expressly says he has a new love he can trust, he finally admits “but if you kissed me now I know you’d fool me again”.

As the song ends we can see them all leaving and conclude that nothing has, or will, change: we are left with this feeling of nostalgia for past, happier Christmases – a feeling shared with George Michael’s character – and, although we would have liked to know more about this story, it is for us to guess what might have happened and conclude that there is still some unresolved business between those two. I remember trying to find more about the story, trying not to miss every small detail, every time I saw it back then; and even today, when I can watch the video on YouTube as many times as I want to, it still fascinates me, and I want to know more. But I’m certain this simple story only turns out to be an interesting one because of the music, because it is a compelling song, so happy and yet so sad, a story about lost love that has left a “lover with a fire in his heart”.

This is my favourite of all the beautiful Christmas songs I can remember. As much as I love Chris Rea’s “Driving home for Christmas”, Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you” or classics like “White Christmas” and “Silent night” I really only feel my Christmas spirit when I listen to this song. In the beginning of December I usually grab my Christmas songs cd (one I bought some years ago in Porto) and I put it on while I’m driving to work, and I play “Last Christmas” again and again and again, and it takes me back to 1984 and the wonderful Christmases of my youth. Strangely, this year I could not find the cd, and only two days or so before Christmas did I realize that it was in the compartment where I keep the car documents! I must have put it there last year in a hurry and never remembered it. But as soon as I found it – and I was so happy that I had – I started playing it again and again, and singing along.

When I saw that George Michael (53) had passed away on Christmas day I was very sad. Of course I loved some of Wham’s other songs such as “Careless whisper” or “Wake me up before you go go”, but for me he was “Last Christmas”! This song is so special to me that on Christmas Eve I wished my friends Merry Christmas on Face book by posting the video clip…little did I know that the following day George Michael would be gone forever.

This was his last Christmas, but for many Christmases to come he will still be in our lives; whenever we hear the first notes of “Last Christmas”, we will remember him. And be thankful to him for giving us such an unforgettable song.