A melancholy tribute to his former lover Anselmo Feleppa, the song peaked at #1 in the United Kingdom and Australia, and #2 in the mainland European charts. The song has also become George’s highest-direct entry in the American charts.
An ode to Michael’s Brazilian lover Anselmo Feleppa, whom he met in 1991 while performing in Rio de Janeiro, Feleppa died two years later from an AIDS-related brain haemorrhage. Devastated by the loss, the artist was been unable to write for the next year and a half but then penned the words to “Jesus to a Child” in the darkness of a recording studio in little more than 60 minutes. The song is written with a rhythm and harmony that is influenced by the Brazilian bossa nova. The song was Michael’s first self-penned hit in his homeland for almost four years and entered the UK Singles Chart at #1 in January 1996. It became his first solo single to enter the UK Singles Chart at the top,his first solo number one from a studio album (all his previous solo number ones had been one-off projects, either during the Wham! years or as a guest or co-vocalist) and, on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, it became the highest new entry (at #7) by a British artist for more than 25 years. It was also Michael’s longest UK top 40 single at almost seven minutes long.
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 the day of Christmas in 2016, Michael would consistently dedicate the song to Feleppa before performing it live.
Sadly and in an ironic twist, George Michael, the singer / songwriter of ‘Jesus To A Child’ passed earlier this week on Christmas day.