George Michael

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George Michael
George Michael.jpeg
Michael performing on stage during the
Faith World Tour in 1988
Background information
Birth name Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou
Born (1963-{{padleft:6|2|0}-25)25 June 1963
East Finchley] London, England Flag of England.svg
Died 25 December 2016(2016-{{padleft:12|2|0}-25) (aged 53)
Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England Flag of England.svg
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1981–2016
Labels
Associated acts
Website georgemichael.com
Notable instruments
  • Piano


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

Discography

Michael discography

Studio Albums

Faith (1987)

Faith
Faith
  1. Faith
  2. Father Figure
  3. I Want Your Sex
  4. I Want Your Sex (Part 2)
  5. One More Try
  6. Hard Day
  7. Hand To Mouth
  8. Look At Your Hands
  9. Monkey
  10. Kissing A Fool
  11. Hard Day (Shep Pettibone Remix)
  12. A Last Request (I Want Your Sex Part III)
Disc Two (Deluxe 2011 Remastered Edition)
  1. Faith (instrumental)
  2. Fantasy
  3. Hard Day (Shep Pettibone mix)
  4. I Believe When I Fall in Love
  5. Kissing a Fool (instrumental)
  6. Love's in Need of Love Today (live)
  7. Monkey (7" edit version)
  8. Monkey (a cappella & beat)
  9. Monkey (Jam & Lewis remix)

Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 (1990)

Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1
Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1
  1. Praying for Time
  2. Freedom '90
  3. They Won't Go When I Go
  4. Something to Save
  5. Cowboys and Angels
  6. Waiting for That Day
  7. Mother's Pride
  8. Heal the Pain
  9. Soul Free
  10. Waiting (Reprise)

Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me (1991)

Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
  1. Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me (with Elton John)
  2. I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)
  3. If You Were My Woman
  4. Fantasy

Older (1996)=

Older
Older
Older
  1. Jesus To A Child
  2. Fast Love
  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
Upper (Limited Edition Bonus CD)
  1. Outside
  2. Fast Love (Part Two)
  3. Spinning The Wheel (Forthright Mix)
  4. Star People ('97 Single Remix)
  5. The Strangest Thing ('97 Single Remix)
  6. You Know That I Want To
  7. Safe


Songs From The Last Century (1999)

Songs From The Last Century
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. Miss Sarajevo
  6. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
  7. I Remember You
  8. Secret Love
  9. Wild Is the Wind
  10. Where or When

Patience (2004)

Patience
Patience
  1. Patience
  2. Amazing
  3. John and Elvis Are Dead
  4. Cars and Trains
  5. Round Here
  6. Shoot the Dog
  7. My Mother Had a Brother
  8. Flawless (Go to the City)
  9. American Angel
  10. Precious Box
  11. Please Send Me Someone (Anselmo's Song)
  12. Freeek! '04
  13. Through
  14. Patience Pt. II


White Light (2012)

White Light
White Light
  1. White Light
  2. Song to the Siren
  3. White Light (Voodoo Sonics Remix)
  4. White Light (Kinky Roland Remix)



Singles

Songs Featuring George Michael

Other Songs

  1. Careless Whisper (Extended Mix)

EP

Five Live (1993)

George Michael - Five Live (EP).jpg
  1. Somebody to Love (with Queen)
  2. Killer
  3. Papa Was a Rollin' Stone
  4. These Are the Days of Our Lives (with Queen and Lisa Stansfield)
  5. Calling You
  6. Dear Friends by Queen
  1. The Older E.P. 1996
  2. The Spinning the Wheel E.P. 1996
  3. You Have Been Loved EP 1997
  4. John and Elvis Are Dead 2005

December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas) (2009)

December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas)
December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas)
  1. December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas)
  2. Jingle (A Musical Interlude)
  3. Edith & the King Pin (Live at Abbey Road)
  4. Praying for Time (Live at Abbey Road)

Live Album

Symphonica (2014)

Symphonica
Symphonica
  1. Through
  2. My Baby Just Cares for Me
  3. A Different Corner
  4. Praying for Time
  5. Let Her Down Easy
  6. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
  7. Feeling Good
  8. John and Elvis Are Dead
  9. Roxanne
  10. One More Try
  11. Going to a Town
  12. Cowboys and Angels
  13. Idol
  14. Brother Can You Spare a Dime
  15. You Have Been Loved
  16. Wild Is the Wind
  17. You've Changed

Compilation

Songs on Compilations

Ladies & Gentlemen (1998)

Ladies & Gentlemen
Ladies & Gentlemen
Disc One: For The Heart
  1. Jesus to a Child
  2. Father Figure
  3. Careless Whisper
  4. Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me (with Elton John)
  5. Kissing a Fool
  6. I Can't Make You Love Me
  7. Heal the Pain
  8. A Moment With You
  9. Desafinado (English)
  10. Cowboys and Angels
  11. Praying for Time
  12. One More Try
  13. A Different Corner
Disc Two: For The Feet
  1. Outside
  2. As
  3. Fast Love
  4. Too Funky
  5. Freedom 90
  6. Star People ('97 Remix)
  7. Killer / Papa Was a Rolling Stone
  8. I Want Your Sex (Part 2)
  9. The Strangest Thing ('97 Single Remix)
  10. Fantasy
  11. Spinning the Wheel
  12. Waiting for That Day
  13. Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) (with Aretha Franklin)
  14. Faith
  15. Somebody to Love

Twenty Five (2006)

Twenty Five
Twenty Five
Disc One: For Living
  1. Everything She Wants (credited to Wham!)
  2. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (credited to Wham!)
  3. Feeling Good
  4. Faith
  5. Too Funky
  6. Fastlove
  7. Freedom 90
  8. Spinning The Wheel
  9. Outside
  10. As
  11. Freeek!
  12. Shoot The Dog
  13. Amazing
  14. Flawless (Go To The City)
  15. An Easier Affair
Disc Two: For Loving
  1. Careless Whisper
  2. Last Christmas (credited to Wham!)
  3. A Different Corner
  4. Father Figure
  5. One More Try
  6. Praying For Time
  7. Heal The Pain (with Paul McCartney)
  8. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me (with Elton John)
  9. Jesus To A Child
  10. Older
  11. Round Here
  12. John And Elvis Are Dead
  13. This Is Not Real Love (with Mutya)
Disc Three: For The Loyal (Limited Edtion Release Only)
  1. Understand
  2. Precious Box
  3. Roxanne
  4. Fantasy
  5. Cars And Trains
  6. Patience
  7. You Know That I Want To
  8. My Mother Had A Brother
  9. If You Were There (credited to Wham!)
  10. Safe
  11. American Angel
  12. My Baby Just Cares For Me
  13. Brother Can You Spare A Dime
  14. Please Send Me Someone (Anselmo's Song)
  15. Through

V/A Compilation

  1. Beverly Hills Cop II [motion picture soundtrack] 1987
  2. NOW 22 1992
  3. Now That's What I Call Music! 23 1992
  4. NOW 34 1996
  5. NOW 35 1996
  6. NOW 36 1997
  7. NOW 37 1997
  8. NOW 38 1997
  9. Diana: Princess of Wales, Tribute 1997
  10. Music of the Millennium 1999
  11. Now That's What I Call Music! 96 2017
  12. Atomic Blonde (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [motion picture soundtrack] 2017

Bootleg / Unauthorized

  1. Appears on: A Tribute to Freddie Mercury [Wembley Stadium, London, April 20, 1992] 1992 • Various Artists
  2. Unplugged 1997
  3. Appears on: After the Goldrush 2001 • The Avalanches
  4. Appears on: Pool Mix 1990's 2007 • DJ Pool
  5. Careless Whisper (SirAiva Remix) 2015

Awards and nominations

Michael won numerous music awards throughout his 30-year career, including three Brit Awards—winning Best British Male twice, four MTV Video Music Awards, four Ivor Novello Awards, three American Music Awards, and two Grammy Awards from eight nominations.

Tours