Outside (George Michael song)

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George Michael - Outside.jpg
Single by George Michael
from the album Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael
B-side "Fantasy '98"
Released 19 October 1998
Format CD
Recorded 1998
Length 4:45
Label Epic
Songwriter(s) George Michael
  • George Michael
  • Jon Douglas
George Michael singles chronology
"You Have Been Loved"

"You Have Been Loved"
Music video
"Outside" on YouTube

"Outside" is a song by George Michael, released on Epic Records in 1998. It was released on 19 October 1998 as the lead single from his 1998 greatest hits album Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael.


The song was seen as a fine self-deprecating public relations exercise by Michael, as it was the first single since he was arrested for engaging in a lewd act six months earlier by an undercover police officer in the public lavatory of the Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills, California – an incident which prompted him to declare his homosexuality, which had been rumoured for some years but never publicly confirmed.[1]

Michael took a swipe at the incident in the lyrics, claiming he wanted an alfresco sex life because he was bored with lovemaking behind closed doors. Reference to the Beverly Hills affair came with the line "I'd service the community, but I already have, you see" (he was sentenced to 80 hours of community service for the offense) and direct samples of radio reports of his arrest.

The song was recorded at Sarm West in London with a string section and arrangement by Andrew Skeet.

Critical reception[edit]

Billboard wrote about the song: "Set against a jubilant disco beat awash with strings, cascading electronic beeps, and a vocal filled with simple joy, this celebratory track could be the one to return George Michael to the hearts of the masses. The track begins with a whip of strings, a chorus of voices chanting, "Let's go outside," and a funky little guitar lick, followed by Michael's instantly recognizable vocal, sounding liberated and loose. So much of his recent material has been heavy in lyric and short on hook; as a result, he's had a tough time getting on radio in the U.S. This should begin the next era for this keeper of an artist, who at last seems comfortable just having a little fun."[2]

Music video[edit]

The video, directed by Vaughan Arnell and filmed on 4 June 1998, was especially satirical. It features a police helicopter hovering over Los Angeles and shadowing a variety of people, gay and straight, kissing, having sex or engaging in foreplay, all in public. The scenes of public coupling are styled like real surveillance footage and interspersed with scenes of Michael and his dancers performing in a men's toilet. Michael is dressed as an LAPD police officer and clutching a nightstick, while the toilet is decorated like a disco nightclub, complete with flashing lights and disco balls. Two female dancers dressed in police uniforms are also seen dancing with Michael.

Before the song starts properly, the video begins with a parody of a 1970s European pornography film. As a sultry jazz saxophone score plays, the credits show "eine fulm bi Hüu Jarss", "mit Klaus Hoöd", "undë Heidi Kóchenblauer", "ars 'Cindy'", "direktum bi Marchelo Üffenvanken" – a collection of made-up names and words, most likely meant to resemble Swedish or German, but with deliberate English puns, such as "Hüu Jarss" for Huge Arse. "Cindy" is played by SI swimsuit model Melissa Keller.

A short passage of narration in Swedish: "Vem var hon? Var kom hon ifrån? Hade hon ätit? Då plötsligt kom jag ihåg, det var ingen dröm: jag var ... i Hollywood!", translates as: "Who was she? Where did she come from? Had she eaten? Then suddenly I recalled, it was no dream: I was... in Hollywood!."

In the video, apart from Keller, porn stars Rebecca Lord[3] and Brittany Andrews make their appearances, including actress Jeanne Carmen (as the Blonde Dominatrix).

At the end of the video, two male officers arrest numerous couples previously shown engaging in lewd conduct. The video concludes with the two police officers, thinking that they aren't being watched, sharing a passionate embrace and starting to kiss, the surveillance video focusing in on their public indecency. The video ends with a shot of a rooftop neon sign reading "JESUS SAVES", followed by the on-screen captions "... all of us. all."

In 1998, Marcelo Rodriguez, the undercover officer who arrested Michael, brought a $10 million court case in California against the singer who had amassed an estimated personal fortune of £70 million ($140 million) in his lifetime. The court dismissed the case, but an appeals court reinstated the case on 3 December 2002.[4] The court then ruled Rodriguez, as a public official, could not legally recover damages for emotional distress.[5]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Outside"
  2. "Fantasy '98"
  3. "Outside" (Jon Douglas Remix)

Commercial performance[edit]

"Outside" reached number two on the UK Singles Chart; one of many songs to be held off by a seven-week run at the top by Cher with "Believe". It was not featured on a studio album, but was included on his solo hits collection Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael – the title of which was also a pun of his activity in the lavatory at the center of the controversy, Ladies & Gentlemen being a British colloquial term for a gender specific public toilet.

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ Entertainment: George Michael faces $10m lawsuit, BBC News, September 14, 1999
  2. ^ "Billboard: Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard magazine (1998-11-07, page 25). Retrieved 2018-01-26. 
  3. ^ "Rebecca Lord - Adult Film Star" Archived 12 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine. interview by JesseCapps, RockConfidential.com, May 19, 2007.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 December 2005. Retrieved 15 February 2008. 
  5. ^ "George Bust 'Bad Karma' Says U.S. Cop", Sunday Star, 5 March 2006
  6. ^ "Australian-charts.com – George Michael – Outside". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Austriancharts.at – George Michael – Outside" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Ultratop.be – George Michael – Outside" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Ultratop.be – George Michael – Outside" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Top 10 Denmark" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  11. ^ "Music & Media: Eurochart Hot 100" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  12. ^ "George Michael: Outside" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Lescharts.com – George Michael – Outside" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  14. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – George Michael – Outside". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  15. ^ "Top 10 Greece" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  16. ^ "Top 10 Hungary" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  17. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (13.11.1998 - 20.11.1998)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir - Tónlist. Retrieved 7 February 2018. 
  18. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Outside". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  19. ^ "Top 10 Italy" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 4 May 2018. 
  20. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – George Michael" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  21. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – George Michael – Outside" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  22. ^ "Charts.org.nz – George Michael – Outside". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  23. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – George Michael – Outside". VG-lista. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  24. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 June 2018. 
  25. ^ Listas de Afyve. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  26. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – George Michael – Outside". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  27. ^ "Swisscharts.com – George Michael – Outside". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  28. ^ "George Michael: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  29. ^ "George Michael Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  30. ^ ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 1999 Singles. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
  31. ^ Certified awards search. Retrieved 3 May 2011.

External links[edit]