George Michael in the Bad Boys video

On Wednesday, it was announced George Michael will be among the 2023 class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. The long overdue accolade as a solo artist will officially make Michael rock royalty, even though he’s been a pop king since his early days as part of the English duo Wham! alongside Andrew Ridgeley.

While Wham!’s second album Make It Big literally made them big with hit singles “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” “Careless Whisper” and “Everything She Wants,” the group’s first US track to reach the Billboard charts was “Bad Boys”, off their 1983 debut album “Fantastic.”

Released exactly 40 years ago in May 1983, “Bad Boys” peaked at #60 on the Billboard 100, and made an even bigger impact in the UK where it went to #2.

On the surface, the track appears to be your typical tale of teen rebellion as it depicts a son’s conflict with his parents for partying too much and hanging out with the wrong crowd. But on closer inspection, a queerer interpretation of the lyrics, which were written by Michael, begins to take shape.

Right off the bat, the song begins with Michael singing about being different from the other kids: “Dear mommy, dear daddy/ You had plans for me, oh yeah, I was your only son/ And long before this baby boy could count to three/ You knew just what he would become.”

Once a fully grown adult, the song’s main character finally stands up to his parents in what could possibly be Michael’s first lyrics about coming out: “Now I’m nineteen as you see/I’m handsome, tall and strong/So what the hell gives you the right to look at me/As if to say, ‘Hell, what went wrong?'”

Things get a bit awkward as the parents chastise their son for “mixing with the wrong boys/playing with the wrong toys.” Been there, done that!

And, yes, while there are references to “easy girls,” it was the early ’80s and pronoun swapping was definitely a necessary evil back in the day for closeted artists.

But if you need hard visual evidence of the song’s apparent gay overtones, the “Bad Boys” music video features more leather daddy hip swishing dance moves than when a Britney song plays at The Eagle. Facts!

While Michael never specifically said the song had a queer-coded meaning, he did go on the record saying how much he hated it. That’s right, despite it being one of Wham!’s first hits–and a damn catchy one at that–Michael said “Bad Boys” was the worst song he had written when asked in an 1987 interview.

“I hate it. It’s like an albatross around my neck,” he told Smash Hits. “It’s too formularized.”

With all due respect to the late great George Michael, we beg to differ.

The 2023 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on November 3rd at the Barclays Center in New York.

Check out George lip syncing for his life during this glorious performance of “Bad Boys” in 1983 below:

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