Jesus to a Child

"Jesus to a Child" is a song by British singer George Michael. It was the first of six singles from the album Older. The song peaked at number one in Australia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom; it was Michael's sixth UK number one, and his third as a solo performer. It also reached the top three on several other European charts, and became Michael's highest debut on the US Billboard Hot 100. It is one of Michael's best-known songs and was included on the 1996 album Older. It is a melancholy tribute to his lover Anselmo Feleppa.

"Jesus to a Child"
Jesus to a Child (George Michael single - cover art).jpg
Single by George Michael
from the album Older
B-side"One More Try" (live gospel version)
Released8 January 1996
Format
Recorded1993–1994
GenreBossa nova
Length
  • 6:51 (album version)
  • 4:35 (video version)
  • 4:15 (special radio edit)
LabelVirgin
Songwriter(s)George Michael
Producer(s)George Michael
George Michael singles chronology
"Killer" / "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone"
(1993)
"Jesus to a Child"
(1996)
"Fastlove"
(1996)
Music video
"Jesus to a Child" on YouTube

After Michael's death in 2016, Dame Esther Rantzen, founder of the charity ChildLine, revealed that Michael had secretly donated all of the single's royalties to the charity. She said "George helped us to reach out to hundreds of thousands of children through his generosity. I met him a couple of times, he approached us, rather than us going cap in hand to him, but it was an intensely personal gift. He didn’t want it to be known or to be part of his image."[1] She told BBC News that "he really wanted to keep his help secret, it was an intensely personal gift. It meant we could answer more children."[2]

BackgroundEdit

Although it was not officially released until January 1996, Michael unveiled the song in November 1994 during the inaugural MTV Europe Music Awards, where he performed it live in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.

The song was Michael's first self-penned hit in his homeland for almost four years, where it also became his first solo single to enter the UK chart at number one.[3] In addition it was his first solo number one on an album since the Faith album released in 1987, and during the Wham! years. At almost seven minutes, it was also Michael's longest UK top 40 single.

On the United States' Billboard Hot 100 it became the highest new entry, at number 7, by a British artist for more than 25 years.

ContentEdit

The song was a melancholy tribute to Michael's Brazilian lover Anselmo Feleppa, whom he met when performing in Rio de Janeiro in 1991. Feleppa died two years later from an AIDS-related brain haemorrhage. Michael had been unable to write for the next 18 months as a consequence of his grief, but then penned the words to "Jesus to a Child" in little more than an hour, indicating that the time was right to move on with his life. The song is written with a rhythm and harmony that is influenced by the Brazilian bossa nova style.

The exact identity of the song's subject—and the nature of their relationship—was cause for a certain amount of innuendo at the time, as Michael had not confirmed his homosexuality and did not do so until 1998. Until his death on Christmas Day 2016,[4] Michael would consistently dedicate the song to Feleppa before performing it live.

Critical receptionEdit

 
George Michael in the music video of "Jesus to a Child".

Larry Flick from Billboard described the song as a "gorgeous, quietly insinuating pop ballad." He noted that "the words are, by turns, melancholic and romantic and are delivered with delicate ease", adding that "musically, Michael layers light, shuffling percussion with mild acoustic guitar lines and sweetly understated strings."[5] Sarah Davis from Dotmusic wrote that "in the context of the album, Jesus To A Child sets the scene for Michael's current direction - brooding, mature, reflective but not so downbeat as to disallow the good times."[6] Tom Ewing from Freaky Trigger said that the song is "his monument, a work Michael needs his public to hear. Even though few at the time knew the story behind it, the sincerity, and the will to somehow pass on something extraordinary and vanished, is palpable. It's a heartfelt celebration of the effect love can have on a life, and it's a songwriter consciously setting himself his hardest possible task, and achieving it."[7] Hans-Petter Kjøge from Fredrikstad Blad said that it is a "beautiful, simple with at the same time a sophisticated melody." He complimented Michael's "great voice" on the song.[8] Göteborgsposten added that on the "cozy" song, Michael "showed that he still mastered the craft."[9] Jan DeKnock from Knight Ridder called it a "mesmerizing ballad" and a "stunning effort".[10] People described it as "a long-winded bossa nova synth-pop concoction" in their review of Older.[11] Eric Henderson from Slant Magazine wrote:

"Jesus to a Child" is among the most haunting of Michael's ballads, and one whose meaning could only fully emerge after his coming out. A slow-motion flamenco cry, written following the death of his lover, Anselmo Feleppa, "Jesus to a Child" still remains supernaturally clear-eyed about what it means to love and to lose. "I've been loved so I know just what love is/And the lover that I kissed is always by my side/The lover I still miss was Jesus to a child.""[12]

Michael E. Ross from Salon Magazine picked the song as one of the best on the Older album, adding it as "almost painfully thoughtful. In lush, silken musical settings, Michael speaks the world-weary language of scorned love."[13] Dave Fawbert from ShortList said that it is "one of the most beautiful songs ever written".[14] Ed Morales for Vibe noted that "the Sade-style synth chords that rule "Jesus to a Child" bolster Michael's typically breathy but precise musings. "There's a sadness in my eyes", he croons, and you can feel it."[15]

Track listingsEdit

UK CD 1 (VSCDT 1571)

  1. "Jesus to a Child" – 6:50
  2. "One More Try" (live gospel version at Concert of Hope '93) – 5:21
  3. "Older" (instrumental version) – 5:18

UK CD 2 (VSCDX 1571)

  1. "Jesus to a Child" – 6:50
  2. "Freedom '94" (live version at MTV Europe Music Awards) – 6:04
  3. "One More Try" (live gospel version at Concert of Hope '93) – 5:21
  4. "Older" (instrumental version) – 5:18

Cassette single

  1. "Jesus to a Child" – 6:50
  2. "One More Try" (live gospel version at Concert of Hope '93) – 5:21
  3. "Older" (instrumental version) – 5:18

Charts and certificationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Jefferies, Mark (27 December 2016). "Star-studded George Michael tribute concert to be held to thank him for £2million Childline donation". Mirror. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  2. ^ "George Michael's philanthropy comes to light after his death". BBC News. 27 December 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 589. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ "George Michael Dead at 53". TMZ. 25 December 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. 13 January 1996. p. 62. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  6. ^ Davis, Sarah (15 April 1996). "GEORGE MICHAEL - OLDER". Dotmusic. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  7. ^ "GEORGE MICHAEL – "Jesus To A Child"". Freaky Trigger. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
  8. ^ Kjøge, Hans-Petter (21 May 1996). "Etterlengtet comeback". Fredrikstad Blad (in Norwegian). p. 34. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
  9. ^ Göteborgsposten. 10 May 1996.
  10. ^ "Boys II Men rise, Beatles sink on charts". Knight Ridder. 11 January 1996. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: Older". People. 20 May 1996. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  12. ^ "The 15 Best George Michael Songs". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  13. ^ Ross, Michael E. "man in a minor key". Salon Magazine. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  14. ^ Fawbert, Dave (31 March 2017). "Who would win in a fight: 'Now That's What I Call Music! 96' vs 'Now That's What I Call Music! 34'". ShortList. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  15. ^ "George Michael - Older". Vibe. 1 August 1996. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  16. ^ "Australian-charts.com – George Michael – Jesus to a Child". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Austriancharts.at – George Michael – Jesus to a Child" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  18. ^ "Ultratop.be – George Michael – Jesus to a Child" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  19. ^ "Ultratop.be – George Michael – Jesus to a Child" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  20. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2933." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  21. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 2907." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  22. ^ "Top 10 Czech Republic" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  23. ^ a b "Hits of the World". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 108 (7): 69. 17 February 1996. ISSN 0006-2510.
  24. ^ "George Michael: Jesus to a Child" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  25. ^ "Lescharts.com – George Michael – Jesus to a Child" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  26. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – George Michael – Jesus to a Child". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  27. ^ "Top 10 Hungary" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (23.12.1995 - 5.1.1996)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir - Tónlist. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  29. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Jesus to a Child". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  30. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 5. 3 February 1996. p. 13. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  31. ^ "ジョージ・マイケルのCDシングルランキング │オリコン芸能人事典-ORICON STYLE". Oricon.co.jp. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  32. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 4, 1996" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  33. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – George Michael – Jesus to a Child" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  34. ^ "Charts.nz – George Michael – Jesus to a Child". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  35. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – George Michael – Jesus to a Child". VG-lista. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  36. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  37. ^ a b Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  38. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – George Michael – Jesus to a Child". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  39. ^ "Swisscharts.com – George Michael – Jesus to a Child". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  40. ^ "George Michael: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  41. ^ "George Michael Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  42. ^ "George Michael Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  43. ^ "George Michael Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  44. ^ "George Michael Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  45. ^ "George Michael Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  46. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles 1996". The Australian Record Industry Association Ltd. Archived from the original on 2 November 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  47. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1996" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  48. ^ "Rapports annuels 1996" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  49. ^ "RPM Year End Top 100 Hit Tracks". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  50. ^ "RPM Year End Top 100 Adult Contemporary Tracks". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  51. ^ "1996 Year-End Sales Charts: Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  52. ^ "Classement Singles – année 1996" (in French). Archived from the original on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  53. ^ "Top 100 Single–Jahrescharts 1996" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  54. ^ "Árslistinn 1996". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 2 January 1997. p. 16. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  55. ^ "Top 100–Jaaroverzicht van 1996". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  56. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1996" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  57. ^ "Årslista Singlar, 1996" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  58. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts". swisscharts.com.
  59. ^ "Top 100 Singles 1996". Music Week. 18 January 1997. p. 25.
  60. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – singles 1996". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  61. ^ "French single certifications – George Michael" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  62. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – George Michael". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  63. ^ "IFPI Norsk platebransje Trofeer 1993–2011" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  64. ^ "British single certifications – George Michael – Jesus to a Child". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  65. ^ "American single certifications – George Michael". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 25 July 2012. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External linksEdit