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“They’re just beautiful, musically.” Watch George Michael defend Joy Division against Morrissey and Tony Blackburn in this peak 80s exchange

Turns out The Smiths frontman Morrissey was not a big Joy Division fan, but pop superstar in the making George Michael definitely was



George Michael was one of the greatest pop stars that Britain ever produced. He also had a reputation of being one of the nicest men in the music industry. Stories of his selfless and charitable deeds have become the thing of legend since his sad passing in 2016. But, as a man famous for giddy and gloriously fun pop nuggets like Last Christmas and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, you wouldn’t have assumed he’d be a fan of the dark, nihilistic post-punk of Joy Division.

Well, we got his thoughts on the band during a segment on long forgotten BBC show Eight Days A Week in 1984, during the height of Wham!’s popularity. Michael is one third of a bizarre trio, alongside famously cheesy radio DJ Tony Blackburn and The Smiths frontman Morrissey, all there to review Mark Johnson’s Joy Division biography An Ideal for Living

It turns out that only one of the three men was a even fan of the iconic Manchester band. You’d expect it to be their fellow Mancunian Morrissey, but no: asked to explain the appeal of Joy Division he dismissively quips back “I’m not sure that I can”, babbling on in classic Moz fashion about how sad it is that people only talk of the death of Ian Curtis, how their attitude was “quite sad” and how, in a music sense, he felt “nothing whatsoever” for them. Cheers for that, mate. Blackburn, a man commonly associated with the shiniest of pop tropes, isn’t a fan either – “I’m more of a soul man,” he grins. He then goes on to claim Joy Division “aren’t for me”, calling the book “boring” and “disturbing” and then moaning that it doesn’t contain enough information about Ian Curtis’ suicide. Jesus, Tony! This is the Beeb! Keep it light, mate!

It’s all a bit of a slog so far, so thank God host Robin Denselow turns to George to save the day. “I wouldn’t imagine you as a Joy Division fan, maybe I’m wrong?” he asks.

“You might be wrong,” George replies, before going on to say that he didn’t like the “pretentious” book, but launching into a passionate and eloquent defence of Joy Division as a band that he “really likes”. George describes the second half of the band’s classic Closer album as “beautiful” and “one of my favourite pieces of music” and argues that he’s glad that the book wasn’t reduced to obsessing over Curtis’ death. Just as he is really getting going, however, Denselow frustratingly cuts the segment short.

Michael, of course, would be the victim of plenty of reprehensible tabloid invasion into his private life as his career progressed, something that makes his early empathy for Curtis even more touching in retrospect. ‘Rock star’ he may not have been, but George Michael was clearly a man with awesome taste and fully deserving of his national treasure status.

Watch the video for yourself below.