Georgios Kyriacos Panaylotou, better known as George Michael was born on June 25, 1963 in East Finchley, London, England. He was a phenomenal singer, songwriter, and record producer. His mother was an English dancer and his father was a Greek Cypriot restaurant owner. Michael had two older sisters and went to Kingsbury High School in Kingsbury, London. It wasn’t until his family moved him to Radlett, Hertfordshire where he went to Bushey Meads School where he became close friends with Andrew Ridgeley, who he would eventually start a singing group with. Michael has aspirations to be a musician from a very young age. He began his musical career as a DJ and playing at clubs throughout the area.
Michael first created a band called The Executive, but that was short lived. Finally in 1981 Michael and Andrew Ridgeley started their own two person group called Wham! This group was almost an instant success in the United Kingdom and their first album Fantastic reached number one in the UK by 1983. They also had several number one hits. It was not until they released their second album, Make It Big, that this one reached number one on the charts in the United States. I am sure we all remember “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Everything She Wants.“
In between releasing their second album and touring George Michael came out with his first solo single, “Careless Whisper” which reached number one in almost 25 countries. It is also a little known fact that that when Wham! toured in China in April of 1985 is was the first time a musical act from the West was performed there. At the time it generated a ton of media coverage and helped catapult Michael into superstardom. Wham! officially separated in 1986 and Michael moved forward with his solo career.
During his solo career, Michael burst onto the stage with controversial hits. His first single released was titled, “I Want Your Sex,” it was banned from many radio stations due to its sexually infused lyrics and message. Michael has worked with some of the top performers in the world and has won several awards. He had a few arrests and struggled with drugs. But he is most well known for exploring his sexuality and coming out as bisexual. He opened the door for so many singers to be able to live their lives as themselves instead of lying about who they are on the inside. He also was a very prolific philanthropist. On December 25, 2016 George Michael passed away at age 53. His manager stated that it was due to heart failure. We will remember George and cherish his music forever.
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