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George Michael

George Michael was the biggest British pop star of the 1980s, spinning a series of infectiously catchy pop singles into global stardom that saw him sell over 100 million albums worldwide. Blessed with good looks, a fine voice, and a knack for writing engaging melodies that worked well with dance-friendly rhythms, Michael became the rare teen sensation who matured into a respected star as an adult, though his life after achieving pop icon status has not been without personal and creative challenges.

Michael was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou on June 25, 1963 in the North London suburb of East Finchley; his father was a Greek Cypriot restaurant owner who changed his name from Kyriacos Panayiotou to Jack Michael when he immigrated to England in the 1950s. Michael's family relocated to Bushey, Hertfordshire when he was in his early teens, and he struck up a friendship with one of his new schoolmates, Andrew Ridgeley. Both Michael and Ridgeley were interested in music, and in 1979 they formed a ska band called the Executive; the group didn't go far, but it gave them a taste for the spotlight, and they took what they learned and in 1981 formed a pop duo called Wham! The early Wham! demos impressed executives at Innervision, an independent record label that signed the group to a contract. By 1982, Wham! had hit the U.K. pop charts with "Wham Rap" and "Young Guns (Go for It)," and scored an American record deal with Columbia.

However, Michael and Ridgeley soon discovered how unfavorable their deal with Innervision was, and they opted out of their contract by forfeiting all future royalties on material from their first album, Fantastic, to sign with Sony worldwide. The choice proved to be shrewd; Wham!'s second album, 1984's Make It Big, transformed them from British hitmakers to a genuine international sensation, as "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Everything She Wants," "Careless Whisper," and "Freedom" became wildly successful in the U.K., Europe, and the United States. Wham! soon became one of the biggest new acts on earth, and in 1985 they became the first Western pop group to tour the People's Republic of China. But Michael displayed an ambition that went beyond Wham!'s new success, and the "Careless Whisper" single was released with the credit "Wham! Featuring George Michael," setting the stage for him to strike out on his own. In 1986, after Michael had released a proper solo single, "A Different Corner," Wham! announced their breakup and said farewell to their fans with a sold-out concert at London's Wembley Stadium.

Michael wasted no time making his mark on his own, releasing his first solo album, Faith, in 1987. He produced and arranged the album, as well as writing the songs, and it managed to top Wham!'s phenomenal success, spawning a series of major hit singles (including "I Want Your Sex," "Father Figure," "Kissing a Fool," and the title track) and selling over 20 million copies worldwide, moving close to ten million units in the United States alone. Michael promoted the album with a series of stylish, sexy music videos and a concert tour that found him playing 137 shows over the space of 16 months. Faith left no doubt that Michael was one of the new icons of pop music, and after recording successful duets with Elton John ("Wrap It Up" and "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me") and Aretha Franklin ("I Knew You Were There [Waiting for Me]"), he proved he had the respect of veteran acts as well as the younger audience.

However, Michael felt reined in by his image as a sexy pop singer, and after taking a well-deserved vacation in 1989, he released Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 in 1990, a set that was noticeably more somber, sophisticated, and personal than his previous work. Presumably to put the focus on his music rather than his image, Michael refused to appear in any music videos for the album and declined to tour in support; the album fared well commercially, but not as well as Faith, and Michael began expressing dissatisfaction with Sony, declaring his contract was financially inequitable and creatively stifling. Michael sued Sony to end his contract, leading to a long and costly legal battle that ended in 1995, with Michael signing to the newly launched Dreamworks Records label in the United States and Virgin in the rest of the world. (During the interim, Michael released a live EP that included material he performed with the surviving members of Queen at the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.) In 1996, Michael finally released his third solo effort, Older, which followed in the more contemplative vein of Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1. While the album went platinum in the United States, it was considered a commercial disappointment considering the success of Michael's previous work, though it fared better in Europe and the U.K.

In 1998, Michael released Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael, a career-inclusive two-disc anthology that featured solo material as well as recordings with Wham! It also included a new song, "Outside"; the song and its video were created in response to a widely publicized incident in which Michael was arrested by an undercover cop in Los Angeles for "performing a lewd act" in a public restroom. After the arrest made headlines, Michael publicly acknowledged his homosexuality, and in time it was revealed that the song "Jesus to a Child" from Older was written in tribute to his late partner Anselmo Feleppa, who died of AIDS-related illnesses in 1993. In 1999, Michael released an album of covers, Songs from the Last Century, which was released worldwide by Virgin after Michael parted ways with Dreamworks.

In 2002, Michael signed a new record deal with Polydor and released the single "Freeek," with a new album expected to follow. However, the subsequent full-length release, Patience, didn't arrive until 2004, and in a surprising move, it was issued not by Polydor, but the Sony-affiliated Epic label after Michael returned to the company he'd left nine years earlier. Michael also told journalists that he expected it to be his final commercially released album, adding he hoped to release future material online, with any proceeds going to charity. A second career-inclusive two-CD collection, Twenty-Five, was issued in 2008, and arrived after Michael once again found himself the subject of some controversy. In 2006 and 2007, he had been arrested on drug-related offenses in the U.K., and in 2010, he'd served four weeks in Suffolk's Highpoint Prison after pleading guilty to driving under the influence of cannabis. During a 2006 television interview, Michael smoked what appeared to be a joint and spoke openly of his marijuana use, saying, "I'd say it's a great drug, but obviously it's not very healthy. You can't afford to smoke it if you've got anything to do."

Michael continued with the Twenty-Five tour in 2008, touring North America for the first time in 17 years. Over the next five years, Michael toured regularly, starting the Symphonica tour in 2011. This orchestral pop tour was captured on record by producer Phil Ramone, who died before the album could be released. Michael completed the album and issued it under the title Symphonica in March 2014. ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Patience

1. Patience

2. Amazing

3. John And Elvis Are Dead

4. Cars And Trains

5. Round Here

6. My Mother Had A Brother

7. Flawless (Go To The City)

8. American Angel

9. Precious Box

10. Please Send Me Someone (Anselmo's Song)

11. Freeek! '04

12. Through

x

Track List: Songs From The Last Century

1. Brother Can You Spare A Dime

2. Roxanne

3. You've Changed

4. My Baby Just Cares For Me

5. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

6. Miss Sarajevo

7. I Remember You

8. Secret Love

9. Wild Is The Wind

10. Where Or When

x

Track List: Ladies & Gentlemen - The Best Of George Michael

Disc 1

1. Jesus To A Child

2. Father Figure

3. Careless Whisper

5. You Have Been Loved

6. Kissing A Fool

7. I Can't Make You Love Me

8. Heal The Pain

9. A Moment With You

11. Cowboys And Angels

12. Praying For Time

13. One More Try

14. A Different Corner

Disc 2

1. Outside

2. Fastlove

3. Too Funky

4. Freedom 90

5. Star People 97

7. I Want Your Sex

8. Monkey

9. Spinning The Wheel

12. Hard Day

13. Faith

x

Track List: Older

1. Jesus To A Child

2. Fastlove

3. Older

4. Spinning The Wheel

5. It Doesn't Really Matter

6. The Strangest Thing

7. To Be Forgiven

8. Move On

9. Star People

10. You Have Been Loved

11. Free

x

Track List: Listen Without Prejudice

1. Praying For Time

2. Freedom! '90

3. They Won't Go When I Go

4. Something To Save

5. Cowboys And Angels

7. Mother's Pride

8. Heal The Pain

9. Soul Free

x

Track List: Faith

1. Faith

2. Father Figure

4. One More Try

5. Hard Day

6. Hand To Mouth

7. Look At Your Hands

8. Monkey

9. Kissing A Fool

10. Hard Day (Shep Pettibone Remix)

Comments

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cherokeeprin c e s s 1 2 7
❤❤❤❤❤❤
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I got to have faith
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Many fans don't know he plays most of the instruments on his songs as well as producing, composing and singing. Unlike many newer artists who buy their songs, have session musicians and just stand behind a mic listening to their producer and sound engineer. Tis why he has sold 100 + million albums in which I own many of.
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I LUV THIS....and TOO BE THERE
PLAYING THIS LIVE....ME THERE....... . L I K E A COMPLETE UNKNOWN..... . . . . . . . . L I K E . A........... . . . . . R O L L I N G STONE!!!!!!! X X X X X O O O O X X X X O O O O



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L U V.........IT ! ! ! . . . . . . ! ! X X X X X X X O O O O O X X X O O O O O O
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silva_mario7 7
This my wife and my song. We first danced together at a high school dance our sophomore year and have been together ever since. 32 years now. I love you so much and your just as beautiful and sexy as when we were in high school babe. Love CARELESS WHISPER.
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WARIO COW SANYO PLAY GAMES
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EAGLES CARUNK SANYO PLÀY GAMES COW
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MARKET COW COWS SANYO PLAY GAMES
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George is one of those with talents and abilities that only come around once so often in the world of music. His Older and Faith albums were masterly done. While his work with Aretha Fanklin, Elton John and Queen after Freedie passed was phenomenal, my favorite was when he sang with Aretha.
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marieabella1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
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jserrano2276
I like it.
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Wowww...
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So many memories,wit h his sensual voice!!
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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
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Back...In.Th e . . . D a y . . . . . . . . T h i s Song Made The ....Strip... . . . . . . B a r . . . . ! ! ! ! ! H A P P E N I N G . . . . . . . G O O D

TIMES......X X X X X O O O X X X O O X X O
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but at the same time it can heal, I believe. It just might be a a course in miracles. We'll see.
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Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me: I can't light no more of your darkness
All my pictures seem to fade to black and white
I'm growing tired and time stands still before me
Frozen here on the ladder of my life---
Great song from Elton John. The lyrics are so true about my life right now if you were looking at it from God's point of view. I need to know what to do, because apparently we are mixing two time points into one and that has never been done before on this planet. It hurts,
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That's a cool photo. Good photo art.
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mysteriousst r a n g e r s 8 6
❤❤❤❤❤
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Sade is it! So beautiful and sexy!
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This is such an 80s classic! Brings back great memories of my teen years!
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fidelperezda r i a s
He has an unique style!!!
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i got the pleasure of meeting him-i love him so much he is my ultimate idol ever ❤️❤️❤️
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Love George, beautiful voice, beautiful man
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fidelperezda r i a s
One of the most beautiful voices ever!!!
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1980
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Met my partner of 10 years during this time.. May he rest in peace
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u
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aestrada223
Whenever I hear 'Careless Whisper', I drift back to the time I went through modeling school and some of the wonderful and beautiful young ladies I met. Hard to believe it's been thirty years. Music is great in inducing good memories, but sometimes not so good. Always more good than bad.
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sandymcleod1 7 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
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careless whisper is the greatest song ever made!
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He is my favorite song writer and artist. I have loved him since I was 7 years old. I saw him in concert and his voice was just pure and amazing.
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I love "one more try" that is is best work.
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I Want Your Sex 1&2:Great song with great lyrics, but....what if I can't have sex? What if I don't feel that?
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His music is awesome listen to him all day long.
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There is greater days ahead and loves for all lost loves.
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We all make mistakes in life it's how we learn . George's gift is his voice. He has shared with the world . Thank you. Joy of Arizona.
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This artist is awsum
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SUCH an amazingly talented artist
I love GM!

0;o))))
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steveny98
love this mix of sound and words
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This boy can sing!
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He's the bomb��
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matratus
Amazing Voice.
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❤❤❤❤❤
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Awesome ballad.
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katath2o
Cousin?
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cynthia.more n o 7 9
:)
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Such a mellow voice. I guess I could listen for a while.
Show more

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