|Song by George Michael|
|Writer(s)||George Michael, Patrice Rushen|
|Producer(s)||George Michael, Jon Douglas|
“Fastlove” is a song by George Michael, released as a single in 1996 by Virgin Records in the United Kingdom and DreamWorks Records in the United States. The song was written by Michael and Patrice Rushen with production by Michael and Jon Douglas.
The song received positive reviews from music critics. It was nominated for Best Single at the 1997 Brit Awards. Commercially, the song topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Australia and Spain. It was his seventh and final number one single in the UK during his lifetime and is his seventh most downloaded track there, earning him a Gold certification by the British Phonographic Industry. It has sold 465,504 copies in the UK.
Adele covered the song at the 2017 Grammy Awards as a tribute to the late Michael, who had passed away two months prior. Adele’s version was rearranged by herself and composer Hans Zimmer. She later revealed that it was her favorite George Michael song.
On February 8, 2017, the Recording Academy confirmed via their social media that there would be a tribute to George Michael during the Grammy Awards, although it remained unclear who would be performing it. Host James Corden revealed that the tribute would be “unbelievably beautiful” and called it a “sort of once-in-a-lifetime moment.” Hours before the ceremony, it was reported that Adele would be doing the tribute to George Michael, although initial reports claimed she would be performing “Careless Whisper” or “Jesus to a Child” before confirming “Fastlove.”
During the ceremony, Adele performed her own arrangement of “Fastlove,” backed by a complete orchestra. In the middle of the performance, she stopped and asked to start again. She explained, “I fucked up. I can’t do it again like last year,” in reference to her performance of “All I Ask” at the previous year’s ceremony, which suffered technical issues. She continued, “I can’t mess this up for him.” She restarted the performance, which, afterwards, received a standing ovation.
Adele later elaborated on her tribute:
|“||My earliest memory of me being, you know, a lone fan, out of my family, was ‘Fastlove.’ It was when the video came out for that, and I was blown away by how fucking hot he was. It’s actually quite exceptional how good looking he was, and, you know, I was young. I was about 10, and I heard the vulnerability in that song, especially in the middle eight, where it goes from being about one night stands and being a little bit sleazy to saying, ‘In the absence of security, I made my way into the night.’ I lost my way, basically. And I recognized that — I didn’t relate to it when I was 10, ‘cause that would be a bit weird!
So, it was that song, and I was very, very adamant [that I do that song]. And [...] I was devastated on Christmas Day [when he passed]. I had to go for a walk on my own and just breathe for a while, and on Boxing Day, which is the twenty-sixth for us, I said to Simon, my partner, ‘I have to do that tribute.’ And they didn’t want a tribute at first, his family and camp and stuff like that, and they came back and were very specific that it be me, and I was like, ‘Great! I’ve got something in the pipeline! If you want me to do it, I’ll do it!’
But I found him to be one of the truest icons, because a lot of the time with people that are that globally known and famous, there tends to be — not a fakeness in a bad way — but they put on this massive bravado and this alter ego to protect themselves, and rightly so, and I completely understand and appreciate that. But for him, it didn’t always seem to be solely based on a look, or about an assumption. And also, he was very British. No matter where his career or his love life took him, he always remained true to Britain. And they gave him a hard fucking time a lot of the time. The British press can be — I love you, I don’t know if I mean that [laughs]. But you know, they really gave him a hard time, and he still stayed loyal to the very, very end, and that — no matter how much I try and escape Britain sometimes, my roots are there, so I relate to that. And I also took great comfort in him, the bigger my career got, and trying to, you know, remain myself.
And it was an honor to do [the tribute] tonight.
The show’s executive producer, Ken Ehrlich, later confirmed to Billboard that the initial idea for the tribute included performances from Adele, Corden, Beyoncé, and Rihanna; however, at the request of Michael’s family, Adele did the tribute solo. Adele worked with composer Hans Zimmer to rearrange the song, and noted that she had been working on the tribute for about a month. The recorded orchestral track was completed within a week, with the mastered version being given to the show’s producers only three days before. Adele was also confirmed to have collaborated with Michael’s longtime representative David Austin on the background visuals used during the performance.
On October 16, 2017, a documentary titled George Michael: Freedom aired; the documentary had been Michael’s final project and was completed by those close to him following his death. In the film’s opening credits, the first half of a previously unreleased studio recording of Adele’s version of “Fastlove” can be heard.
Following its airing, it was reported that the full studio version of the song would be released in December, presumably to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Michael’s death. The full recording remains unreleased.