George Michael, (Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou) was a popular English singer/songwriter all over the world. He recently passed away peacefully, in his sleep on December 25, 2o16. No cause of death was really determined, but his manager thinks that he may have died from heart failure. When I heard this, my jaw instantly dropped, I figured that this couldn’t be true.

Before George Michael was George Michael, he was a part of a group called Wham!. Michael was just 1/2 of the upbeat duo and Andrew Ridgeley was the other half. The duo had four albums together,  (Fantastic, Make It Big, The Final, and Music From the Edge of Heaven) along with many hits.

Unfortunately, the group started to part ways. George wanted to make music that spoke to older folk, and make it about real topics. On the other hand, Andrew wanted to keep the teen heartthrob duo going. Because of this, they officially broke up in 1986. The group was together for five years, they sold 15 million singles and 25 million albums. They definitely were something special, but this breakup made the single artist even more special.

In 1987, George started his solo career which was extremely easy for this talented man. He released his first solo album which was called “Faith“. One of the first songs that was released from this album, (I Want Your Sex)  was banned from the radio, it was just too sexual and provocative. Although he got backlash and hate from the radio stations, DJ’s and MTV, the song still managed to reach No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Every song he kept dropping instantly became a hit in the US and in the UK. Faith was one of his most popular songs that also hit No. 1  on the charts, following other popular songs (Monkey, Father Figure and One More Try).

In 1989, Faith won a Grammy for Album of The Year. He also won the Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Michael explained in his film, A Different Story, that the success that he had wasn’t making him happy. He felt as if something was weird about being an idol to young girls. The fame and success he acquired from Faith drained him, and made him feel alone and distant from loved ones.

Another popular song that reached No. 1 on the US and UK  was Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me. It was a duet that Elton John was featured in. It’s also one of my favorites by him.

When I was around the age of 12-13, I played this song non stop. I blasted it and terribly sang along with them. I had a fake microphone in my hand, pretending that I was on the stage right next to them.

Freedom! ’90 was another song that stirred up things. He refused to appear in this video, instead he had the world’s biggest supermodels (pictured above) at the time lip synch to it. This video became one of his most popular vids. In this song, he was reintroducing himself to his fans, the music industry and vaguely telling the world he was a gay man. He was also speaking on how the music industry can force you to be something you’re not. He also made references to the duo Wham!. I remember seeing this video younger questioning why he wasn’t in the video, now I understand.

Outside was extremely controversial. In the video, there was A LOT of sex. There was gay, straight and bisexual people in it just doing whatever, expressing sexual needs. After this song, he officially announced that he was homosexual. In the light of all this, he got arrested 6 months earlier for “engaging in a lewd act” in a public bathroom in Beverly Hills. His being dressed as a police officer in the video was his way of poking fun at the officer that caught him.

Although, he actually did sleep with women often in the Wham! era, but he new he was a gay man.

Drugs also came with his stardome. He was arrested for Class C drugs in 2006, but the police did not press charges. In 2008, he again was caught in a public restroom for having Class A and Class C drugs and again, no charges were pressed against him. He also said himself that his cannabis use was a problem, and that he needed to cut back on using it.

 

Personally, George Michael left a mark on my life. I’m a Millennial that listens to George Michael. Do you even understand how hard it is to explain to people my age what real music sounds like??!

My mom would blast Freedom ’90 on our way home from bible study on Wednesday nights, and I’d be in the back singing my heart out. I think that’s one of the first songs I heard by him. I just thought it was catchy and easy to sing. Then I got a little older and my dad played Everything She Wants for me, and the beat and hook just pulled me in. Another song I truly love by him is Jesus To A Child. You can feel the sorrow, pain, and depression in every word he sings in this song. I used to leave that song on replay when I went to bed. I tear up every time I hear it.

My mom and I used to fold clothes and watch his music videos, which were always so entertaining. I’m glad my parents played and showed me his music. I grew up on him, and will still sing his songs at the top of my lungs, now even louder so he can hear me clearer.

Despite all the disputes, the censoring of his music, backlash, his music will forever leave a mark on this world and on me and my family.

His boldness, and willingness to step out of the norm in the music world made him even more memorable.

About The Author

I also go by Andie. I’ve been writing since I was young, it’s kinda my thing. I represent Richmond, Virginia always. I’m just trying to put myself and other people on the map.

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