George Michael’s “Freedom 90” released in October of the same year took some smarts and creative thinking to get made. On its release, “Freedom 90” immediately became an anthem and the video made history, cast with super chic supermodels lip-syncing Michael’s track. Today, we’re gripped with Orlando, grappling with gay freedom vs. ‘act of terror’. Why does it have to be either or. It is both. It’s terror on everyone’s freedom. Michael’s own quest became clear in 1998. “Freedom” holds highly profound and relevant today.
Here’s an excerpt about the making of the “Freedom 90” video from Allure…
Linda Evangelista took some persuading. In the fall of 1990, pop superstar George Michael approached her—along with Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, and Tatjana Patitz—to star in his next music video, for a song called “Freedom! ’90.” “He thought it would make us into a big deal, that it would be good for us,” says Evangelista. “I was like, Please, we’re here. We’ve already arrived!” But the more the singer talked, the more the model was convinced, until Evangelista (and all the others) agreed to rearrange her schedule. “It was so much fun,” she says of filming late into the night and drinking wine with Michael. “Little did I know that to this day, when someone meets me for the first time, they bring up that video. That’s what they remember,” says Evangelista. “So, yeah, George was right.”
It’s hard to resist a rock and roll anthem about freedom, and almost impossible when it comes packaged with a lush, sexy film starring five of the most alluring women ever to walk a runway. Michael’s video was an instant success, thanks in no small part to a young director named David Fincher, whose dark genius would one day shape big-screen hits like Fight Club, The Social Network, and Gone Girl. What’s even more remarkable is how good it still looks today. By some happy combination of a catchy tune, divine casting, and seductive lighting, the video achieved the most elusive of qualities, timelessness—and according to the recollections of many of the fashion heavyweights who took part in the project, that was no accident.
As unlikely as it sounds today, the process started with a moment of frustration. Michael rose to superstardom with the duo Wham!, then went solo and sold 20 million copies of his first album, Faith. But at 27, he found himself increasingly burdened by the pressures of fame. As he later explained to the Los Angeles Times, “At some point in your career, the situation between yourself and the camera reverses. For a certain number of years, you court it and you need it, but ultimately, it needs you more, and it’s a bit like a relationship. The minute that happens, it turns you off.” Michael took a stand: no photos and no more music videos.
The singer eventually blinked, agreeing to make a video for his new song (officially called “Freedom! ’90” because he had recorded another song titled “Freedom” with Wham!), but he still refused to appear in it. Instead, inspired by Peter Lindbergh’s portrait of Evangelista, Crawford, Turlington, Campbell, and Patitz for British Vogue, Michael asked the models to sing (or rather lip-synch) the song in his place. “Looking back, the message was clear,” says Crawford. “MTV had changed the face of music—all of a sudden it mattered what musicians looked like. The video had a dark humor. It was saying, If you have to be beautiful to sell music now, let’s just put five beautiful faces in there. But when we were doing it, it was just, hey, this is going to be a really cool video.”
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