25 June 1963
East Finchley, Barnet, London, England, United Kingdom
25 December 2016 (aged 53)
George Michael (born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou on June 25, 1963 in East Finchley, London, England died on December 25, 2016 in Goring Oxfordshire, England) was an English pop musician of English/Greek Cypriot ancestry. Michael began his career by forming a band called The Executive together with his best friend Andrew Ridgeley, a fellow pupil at Bushey Meads School, though it did not survive for long.
It wasn't until he formed the duo Wham!, working together again with Ridgeley, in 1981 that he achieved success. Their first album, 'Fantastic!', achieved almost instant acclaim, and, within a year, they had released their classic debut single, "Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)". Their second single, "Young Guns (Go For It)", became the first in a string of Top 10 hits in the U.K. singles chart, showing that they had captured a spirited, dance pop side of the popular new wave scene.
Those songs were rapidly followed by tracks such as "Bad Boys", "Club Tropicana", "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", "Freedom", "Last Christmas", "Everything She Wants", and "I'm Your Man". With the commercial and critical success seen by the band after their second album, 'Make It Big', they appeared to be on top of the world. George Michael also sang on the original Band Aid recording of "Do They Know It's Christmas", and he donated the profits from the "Last Christmas" / "Everything She Wants" dual-single release to the charity.
With the strong acclaim received by his solo releases "Careless Whisper" (1984) and "A Different Corner" (1986) stories of an impending Wham! split intensified. Michael and Ridgeley just seemed pulled in two distinct musical directions. The group duly separated in the summer of 1986 after a farewell single was released, "The Edge Of Heaven", and their last album came out. They did a well-received sell-out concert at Wembley Stadium as well.
Some of his biggest hit singles as a solo artist include the single "Faith" (taken from his debut album Faith that not only became number one on both sides of the Atlantic but also resulted in stunning four number one singles in America) and many more.
"Careless Whisper" (written when he was seventeen) became one of the most played songs of the decade and voted Londoner's Favourite record of all time in January 1995 in a competition run jointly by the capital's leading evening newspaper and radio station. He was then also voted Best Male Singer by the same radio station and by the readers of a national newspaper. Some of his other hits include "Father Figure", "One More Try", "Freedom 90", "Fastlove", "Jesus To a Child", "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (a duet with Elton John), 2002's "Freeek!" and "Shoot the Dog".
Songfacts reports that "White Light" was made available to download on August 12, 2012, 30 years after George first entered the UK singles chart with “Young Guns (Go For It!).” He described the track as a "thank you to everybody who has been a part of success", adding: "I mean everybody, including the press!! Long may it continue."
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