Updated: a day ago
The Duke Of POP created soulful harmonies, with infectious hooks, and dapper swagger.
A Cowboy & an Angel, George Micheal will be a POP ROYALTY legend forever.
Lyrics: I won't let you down I will not give you up Gotta have some faith in the sound It's the one good thing that I've got I won't let you down So please don't give me up Because I would really, really love to stick around!
George Michael 1963-2016
George’s unexpected death on Christmas Day 2016 resulted in an outpouring of grief across the globe. And then there was the music he left us, both as half of Wham! alongside Andrew Ridgeley and as a groundbreaking, globe-conquering solo superstar. As the world knew, George made special music, searingly honest, expertly crafted, but always full of heart, soul and passion; music that will last for decades to come.
Since he entered our lives in 1982 with the ground-breaking slice of exuberance that was ‘Wham! Rap (Enjoy What You Do)’, George Michael sold over 120 million albums. He topped charts from Austria to Australia. He sold-out stadiums from Tokyo to Tampa. He re-defined popular music with ‘Faith’, his debut solo album of 1987 and he subsequently crafted a substantial, enormously popular body of work.
Perhaps, though, the real starting point is Radlett, a commuter town of 60,000 souls, north-west of London, where some scenes of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange were filmed. It’s where young Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou (born 25 June 1963) and his loving, tightly bound, part-Greek-Cypriot, part-English family moved from their original North London home. Like teenagers the world over, George and his best friend, fellow Bushey Meads Comprehensive pupil Andrew Ridgeley, would dream of pop stardom, of making it big: “I wanted to be loved,” admitted George. “It was an ego satisfaction thing”. Deep down, the pair of dreamers understood that it wasn’t going to happen. These things just didn’t happen.
George Michael (born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou; 25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016) was an English singer, songwriter and record producer. Known as a leading creative force in music production, songwriting, vocal performance and visual presentation, he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the MTV era.
Born in East Finchley, North London, Michael rose to fame as a member of the music duo Wham! and later embarked on a solo career. Forming the duo Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981, the band's first two albums, Fantastic (1983) and Make It Big (1984), reached number one on the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200. Their hit singles included "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and "Last Christmas". Establishing themselves as a global act, Wham! toured China in April 1985; the tour was the first visit to China by a Western popular music act, and it generated worldwide media coverage.
Michael's first solo single, "Careless Whisper", reached number one in over 20 countries, including the UK and US. Before embarking on the production of his first solo album, Michael went on to release two more number-one singles, "A Different Corner" and the Aretha Franklin duet "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)". Michael's debut solo album, Faith, was released in 1987, topping the UK Albums Chart and staying at number one on the Billboard 200 for 12 weeks. Globally it sold 25 million copies, and four singles from the album—"Faith", "Father Figure", "One More Try", and "Monkey"—reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Michael became the best-selling music artist of 1988, and Faith was awarded Album of the Year at the 1989 Grammy Awards. His second solo album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1(1990), sold approximately eight million copies and was a UK number-one. It included the Billboard Hot 100 number-one "Praying for Time" and the worldwide hit "Freedom! '90". A 1991 live duet with Elton John, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", was also a transatlantic number one. Michael went on to release two more multimillion-selling albums, Older (1996) and Patience (2004).
Michael came out as gay in 1998. He was an active LGBT rights campaigner and HIV/AIDS charity fundraiser. Michael's personal life, drug use, and legal troubles made headlines during the late 1990s and 2000s, as he was arrested for public lewdness in 1998 and was arrested for multiple drug-related offences after that time. The 2005 documentary A Different Story covered his career and personal life. Michael's 25 Live tour spanned three tours from 2006 to 2008. Michael fell into a coma in 2011 during a bout with pneumonia, but later recovered. He performed his final concert at London's Earls Court in 2012. On 25 December 2016, Michael was found dead at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
Michael is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, with sales of over 120 million records worldwide. He achieved seven number-one songs on the UK Singles Chart and eight number-one songs on the US Billboard Hot 100. Michael won various music awards, including two Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards, three American Music Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, and six Ivor Novello Awards. In 2015, he was ranked 45th in Billboard's list of the "Greatest Hot 100 Artists of All Time". The Radio Academy named him the most played artist on British radio during the period 1984–2004.
George Michael was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou (Greek: Γεώργιος Κυριάκος Παναγιώτου) on 25 June 1963 in East Finchley, London. His father, Kyriacos Panayiotou (nicknamed "Jack"),was a Greek Cypriot restaurateur who emigrated to England in the 1950s. His mother, Lesley Angold (born Harrison, died 1997), was an English dancer. In June 2008, Michael told the Los Angeles Times that his maternal grandmother was Jewish, but she married a non-Jewish man and raised her children with no knowledge of their Jewish background due to her fear during World War II. Michael spent most of his childhood in Kingsbury, London, in the home his parents bought soon after his birth; he attended Roe Green Junior School and Kingsbury High School. Michael had two sisters: Yioda (born 1958) and Melanie (1960–2019). On the BBC's Desert Island Discs, he disclosed that his interest in music followed an injury to his head around the age of eight.
While Michael was in his early teens, the family moved to Radlett. There, Michael attended Bushey Meads School in Bushey, where he befriended his future Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley. The two had the same career ambition of being musicians.Michael busked on the London Underground, performing songs such as "'39" by Queen. His involvement in the music business began with his working as a DJ, playing at clubs and local schools around Bushey, Stanmore, and Watford. This was followed by the formation of a short-lived ska band called The Executive, with Ridgeley, Ridgeley's brother Paul, Andrew Leaver, Jamie Gould, and David Mortimer (later known as David Austin). On the cusp of fame, he decided to legally change his name to the more accessible George Michael.